趙紫陽（一九一九 －－ 二○○五），中共建國後第二代政治家。於文革之後進入中央領導層，先後出任國務院總理、中共中央總書記，成為中國社會空前的轉型期的領導人。在任十年，推行「改革開放」路線，奠定今日中國經濟崛起的基礎。趙紫陽的政治生涯在一九八九年驟然結束。在當年的北京學運及六四事件中，他一反共產黨的傳統，站在學生一邊，反對武力鎮壓而被黨內元老派罷黜。那年他七十歲。
金鐘 二○○七年一月九日 香港
Preface to “Zhao Ziyang: Captive Conversations”
Zhao Ziyang (1919-2005) was part of China 's Second Generation of leadership under the Chinese Communist Party. He joined the communist leadership after the Cultural Revolution, eventually serving as premier, and then moving up to the top post of Party general secretary during an era of unprecedented social transformation. During his 10 years in power, he pursued the line of “reform and opening up to the world,” laying the foundation of China 's present economic boom.
Zhao's political career was terminated abruptly in 1989. During the student movement in Beijing that year, he acted against Party tradition by siding with the protesters, and was deposed by the Party's octogenarian leadership for opposing the use of force against the students. He was 70 years old at the time.
In the 16 years that followed, Zhao was kept under tightly guarded house arrest, stripped of his political rights and personal freedom as a citizen and party member, and finally died of natural causes while still a captive. During his captivity, Zhao reflected deeply on his personal experience, on the history of the country and party, and on official policy and ideology. The results of this reflection were recorded by a hometown friend, Zong Fengming.
Mr. Zong is three months younger than Zhao. They joined the communist revolution as teenagers during the Japanese occupation, and served together for a lengthy period in the Chinese hinterland. After 1949, Zong was dispatched to the science and technology sector, serving in the Party leadership of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics before retiring in 1990.
Sharing Zhao's sympathy for the 1989 student movement and deploring his fate, Zong became a frequent visitor to Zhao in his captivity. On the pretext of providing Zhao with traditional Qigong treatment, Zong paid Zhao more than 100 visits from 1991 to 2004. The two comrades-in-arms, who had witnessed more than 50 years of cruel political infighting, discarded their mental reserve and searched for the truth in Zhao's home in Beijing 's Fuqiang Hutong. Each of the conversations was recorded by Zong.
It is not customary in a closed totalitarian system for well-known politicians to bid farewell to history through personal memoirs. Communist leaders live under so much tension while in power that they become dependant on sleeping pills, and have no time for keeping journals. After they are deposed or retire, they find it difficult to pick up a pen under all sorts of constraints. Malenkov and Molotov, who fell from power following the death of the Soviet dictator Stalin, never wrote memoirs; Khrushchev published an oral memoir in the West but never acknowledged it. Chinese communist officials are even worse: the first generation of leaders, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi, left no official last words, and those who died after Mao, namely Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and Peng Zhen, also left nothing that might be called a memoir. The large number of “revolutionary memoirs” circulating in China were penned by Party writers and published only after heavy censorship, and they have little historic value.
Zhao deliberately jotted down some memories during his captivity, and more than one person suggested that he write a memoir. He actually asked the authorities for unclassified files from the period of his service to use as reference materials, but was refused. As a result, Zong's notes of their conversations become a substitute for Zhao's memoirs.
This collection of conversations reveals the depth and breadth of Zhao's reflections. The fierce power struggle and divergence of policies within the top echelon during the 1980s, especially the triangular relationship between Zhao, Deng and Hu Yaobang, the Party general secretary before Zhao, is a recurrent theme of this book. Zhao gives his account of a series of incidents that have been the subject of wide speculation, and lays bare his role in the 1989 “June 4 th ” incident. This is authoritative material for understanding the real China of 1980s.
In looking back on history, Zhao was the first communist leader since Mao's era to criticize the dogma of the dictatorship. As Zhao saw it, Lenin's view that proletarian dictatorship could only be achieved under the leadership of the most prestigious leader inevitably resulted in autocracy and a dictatorial system; there could be no hope for democracy and rule of the law without giving up proletarian dictatorship. Zhao's judgments mostly resulted from his several decades of hands-on political experience, especially in economics. His knowledge and study of the management systems of both China and the West are scattered throughout the book. He advocated that policy be based on actual effectiveness and public opinion, not on theory, and that it should never become a goal in itself. He admitted in captivity that he had begun to move away from his previous attitude of “economic reformist, political conservative.” Zhao's world outlook in his later days very clearly shifted to a large extent from communist orthodoxy to a universal standard of values, advocating democracy, rule of law and human rights, and returning governance to the people. In referring to China 's oppressive governance, Zhao was deeply repentant: “We owe the people too much.” At the same time, in his concern over China 's situation, he opposed radical westernization of politics.
Zong did not only record Zhao's conversations, but also served as his liaison with the outside world. He constantly supplied Zhao with information about external events, and listened to Zhao's responses. This book lays bare Zhao's candid view of key events and well-known figures, including various generations of communist leaders. Shedding the caution he had embraced while in power, Zhao calmly and systematically expressed the views borne of his experience and wisdom. This is the only space history has provided for revealing the pent-up ambitions of a lost generation of communist leaders with a sense of mission and world vision, as exemplified by Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang.
As publisher, I would note that the Zhao Ziyang revealed in this 300,000-character volume is not only a former general secretary who put aside personal gain or loss to unflinchingly uphold his independence of thought, but also someone who in his captivity dared to break silence and part with tradition. The publication of this book is also a breakthrough in the heavy censorship of the communist system, and adds a legendary chapter to accounts of Zhao's life.
In order to uphold the quality of this book, Mr. Zong spent more than 10 years sorting out the original materials and continuously rewriting the manuscript. During this process, the manuscript was reviewed by Zhao himself, who also sought the suggestions of friends and former colleagues and received warm support from all of them. After Zhao passed away, there were widespread reports of publication of his reflections, raising strong interest both inside and outside of China , and causing a stir even in Hong Kong . The communist authorities tried hard to suppress publication of this book.
This book is the complete and final version authorized by Mr. Zong Fengming. The first part, consisting of 47 chapters, records conversations from July 1991 to September 1997. The conversations were then interrupted for several months because of the 15 th Party plenum. The second part, consisting of 34 chapters, includes conversations from May 1998 to October 2004, about two months before Zhao passed away. We have also included several private interviews with Zhao, most of which have never been published before.
Jin Zhong, January 9, 2007 in Hong Kong