Vale Chinese patriot

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Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. February 16, 2019

 

 

Vale Li Rui

李锐; April 13, 1917 – February 16, 2019

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There are communists, and there are communists.

Li Rui (李锐), who died today at age 101, was a typical, sincere Chinese communist in his early years. Later he became Chairman Mao’s personal secretary but was sacked, tortured, and jailed for nine years after he criticised Mao’s Great Leap Forward – a failed policy which resulted in famine and the death of 30-60 million people. He was also imprisoned for eight years during The Cultural Revolution for criticising that equally disastrous period in China’s history.

Rehabilitated during the Deng Xiao Ping era, Li Rui was a bold and deeply respected figure who, despite official policy, advocated for an independent judiciary, political reform, and Western style democracy. He also repeatedly urged the Party to face its history and denounce Mao’s ideology and policies – something it has yet to do.

In the Xi Jinping era he was perhaps a lone dissenting voice within the ruling elite, warning against the dangers of one-party rule and unchecked power. He criticised Xi Jinping’s elevation to President for life, and cautioned against any return to a personality cult style of leadership.

He was there the last time this occurred.

Vale Li Rui. Chinese patriot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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