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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 11:50 GMT
Hong Kong, Taiwanese press mourn hero
Chinese read the newspapers posted on the bulletin boards along a street in Beijing
China's street newspapers barely mention Zhao

Hong Kong newspapers heap praise on late Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang, who showed sympathy for the 1989 pro-democracy protesters, in contrast to China's low-key coverage of his death.

Editorials reflect the high esteem Zhao was held in the former British colony, which still enjoys some Western-style freedoms. Many lament the absence of political reform in modern China.

Taiwanese papers, recalling Zhao's house arrest after Tiananmen Square, urge Beijing to clear his name in a fusillade against the current Chinese leadership.

He will be remembered here as a reformist leader who was in touch with the people - a Communist Party chief with a distinctive human touch. It would be optimistic to think that a posthumous 'rehabilitation' of Zhao by the party is imminent. But we hope people on the mainland will be allowed to freely mourn his passing - and to openly pay tribute to the former leader's undoubted achievements.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post - editorial

Zhao Ziyang advocated democracy and the rule of law so he was ousted and illegally put under house arrest by certain people. What was Zhao Ziyang's crime? Was democracy a crime? Was the rule of law a crime? They expunged Zhao Ziyang's name from history and this illegal measure has exposed the illegal nature of these people. Attempts to cover up the truth have exposed their shamelessness and weakness. Mourning Zhao Ziyang is a quest for democracy, the rule of law, and a republic system.

Hong Kong Economic Journal, commentary by Zhao Ziyang's former secretary, Bao Tong

Today, the question of appraising Zhao Ziyang could be called a test of the Chinese Communist Party's ruling ability. If some people worry that positively affirming Zhao Ziyang could trigger 'turmoil', remember Zhao Ziyang's words - 'resolve problems on the track of democracy and the legal system'.

Hong Kong's Ming Pao, comment by former aide to Zhao Ziyang, Yan Jiaqi

We express deep sorrow at his death from illness. At this time, we sincerely urge [Chinese President] Hu Jintao and [Chinese Premier] Wen Jiabao, as the heads of the current Chinese Communist Party leadership and who place importance on being 'people-oriented', to stand on the high plane of history, yield to public opinion, make a fair appraisal of Zhao Ziyang's lifetime achievements and errors, and reassess the 4 June 1989 incident.

Hong Kong's Ming Pao, editorial

How the Chinese Communist Party will appraise Mr Zhao Ziyang is still unknown, but the Chinese Communist Party's appraisal is actually unimportant. Since Mr Zhao Ziyang chose to stand together with the people, the people will certainly stand together with him, and the people will certainly miss him forever.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily, editorial

What Zhao Ziyang left behind are not achievements in political reform, but awaking the populace to the fact that China's reform will have no prospect without political reform. China has used a 'firm rationale of development' over the last 10 or so years as a guiding principle, focused on economic construction, and avoided discussion of political reform, but now everything has returned to the original starting point, the Chinese Communist Party still has to face the historical test of political reform. Zhao Ziyang's efforts as a reform pioneer have not been in vain.

Hong Kong Economic Journal, editorial

It is expected that Hong Kong people will mourn Zhao Ziyang, but they must be careful, and avoid stepping into mainland politics, such as attempting to push for political reform on the mainland.

Hong Kong Economic Times, editorial

The '4 June' democracy movement was triggered by dissatisfaction with a corrupt system and demands for political reform. Political reform has not made the slightest progress in 15 years since then, corruption has already penetrated deep into the system and is more excessive than 15 years ago. Zhao Ziyang's departure may not necessarily trigger instability immediately in the political situation, but if the system does not change, it will be hard to avoid political turmoil.

Ming Pao, current affairs commentator Ng Chi-sam

China's political reform hesitated to move forward because of this [Tiananmen], to the extent that official profiteering, corruption and the collusion between officials and businesspeople have become an uncontrollable practice. At such a time, news of Zhao Ziyang's death makes one wring one's hands in anguish at China's future.

Apple Daily, columnist Lee Yee

Beijing can resist the calls of the public in the short term, but cannot ignore them indefinitely. To establish the foundation of long-term growth, to create cross-strait peace and international stability, Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao should help rehabilitate Zhao's reputation and nurture the seeds of democracy that Zhao planted at the cost of his political career.

Taipei's Taipei Times, editorial

A minority of people in Taiwan have placed hopes on Hu Jintao's false enlightened image. Actually, how can rulers who control a country in the 'Neolithic Age of democracy', and who do not know what democracy is, be enlightened? Let alone that Zhao Ziyang, who was striving for new authority (certainly not democratic reform), and also only shed a few tears for the students on hunger strike, was put under house arrest until his death. Seeing Zhao Ziyang's fate, who dares to say that Chinese leaders are enlightened and want democracy?

Taipei's Liberty Times, commentary

Zhao Ziyang has died, perhaps there are some regrets left, but Zhao Ziyang's lifetime achievements, as well as the common people's positive appraisal of him, should mean that he did not live his life in vain.

Taipei's China Times, commentary

What is certain is that the face of mainland China's society and economy has undergone great changes in the last 15 years. People put money above all else, the memories of the Tiananmen student movement have gradually faded and interest in politics has been lost.

Taipei's United Evening News, editorial

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.


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