The political struggle in China’s leadership is heated today with official reports of military support for the conservative Premier Li Peng, whose repressive attempt on democratic protesters has generated widespread opposition and calls for his resignation.
But the head of the state-run press, who is also a member of the Communist Party’s policy-making Politburo Standing Committee, is reported to have supported the relatively liberal party chief Zhao Jiang.
China’s most famous living author also came up against Mr. Li, further sludging the already obscure war in the traditionally closed communist system.
While the military’s inability to enforce martial law cast doubt on its willingness to comply with Mr Li’s orders, the official Xinhua news agency said six of the seven military areas supported the decision to call the army in Beijing. Beijing is not the only military command mentioned.
AFP ‘China Daily’ reported that the People’s Liberation Army had finally withdrawn from Beijing’s outskirts on Wednesday, where sympathy for the democratic movement had blocked it for days.
(Students who captured Tiananmin today for the 12th day have formed a new umbrella organization led by their leader, Chia Ling, to expand the movement and attract workers, intellectuals and civilians. This movement has so far been directed by students.)
Liberation Army Daily, military mouthpiece. A letter urging soldiers sent to enforce martial law was issued by the army’s headquarters today to study the speeches made by Li and President Yang Shangkun on Friday.
Military leadership urged soldiers to read an April 26 editorial in People’s Daily criticizing the student movement. The letter stated that reading the speeches and editorial would allow the soldiers to fully understand the nature of this fight and the purpose of martial law enforcement.
“The turmoil created by a very small number of people has not yet been alleviated,” the letter said.
Two government sources said today that Mr Hu Kili, head of the state-run press and one of the five members of the Politburo Standing Committee, was supporting Mr Zhao in a report interview with Mr Li.
In Washington, the president of the National People’s Congress announced yesterday that he would cut short his visit to the United States for health reasons.
US officials said Mr Wan Li, who praised the students for their patriotic enthusiasm, is expected to demand an emergency meeting of the Legislature for Mr Lee’s ouster after his return to China.
Foreign Minister Qian Kitchen has told diplomats that Zhao has returned to work. This is the first indication of his condition in several days. The official Xinhua news agency cited Zhao for the first time after reports of his resignation late last week.
In Shanghai, renowned author Ba Lin was among 500 intellectuals and high-ranking members of the party, who signed a letter blasting Li’s speech last Friday, which marks the beginning of repression on protesters. Ba, not a party member, is president of the Chinese Writers’ Association.
The letter told the party to end press censorship.
“For 40 years now, the party has made a series of major mistakes because life within the party is not normal,” the letter said, “We must open the party to people’s supervision.” One day earlier, a million people marched through Beijing’s streets, calling for the ouster of Li in the biggest protest since the martial law was issued last Saturday.
The paralyzed public transport system has returned to normal in Beijing today after the announcement of the Martial Law four days ago.
The Beijing underground was completely reopened, carrying more than 850,000 passengers every day.
The municipal administration announced that all but two of the 174 bus routes had resumed operations this morning. Two other routes were expected to be commissioned again in the afternoon.
Some buses were used to create barricades and there were obstacles on the underground rails.
A municipal administration official said efforts were being made to retrieve the missing buses and repair the damaged buses.
All major newspapers interviewed with martial law headquarters, saying the army would be able to enforce martial law “with the help of the masses in Beijing.”
President George Bush, recalling the 1956 uprising in Hungary, said he was wary of what he said about China’s popular uprising to keep the situation from escalating.
I’m old enough to remember Hungary in 1956 and I don’t want to be the catalyst for the course of action that inevitably leads to violence and bloodshed, ”Bush said.
He was referring to the bloodshed that occurred when Soviet troops mounted a coup in Hungary under Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. Historians have criticized the United States for believing that the Hungarians believe that Western countries help them.
Bush, a one-time US ambassador to Beijing, who has advocated non-violence and restraint in statements about the turmoil in China, made his comments in an interview with four European newspapers.