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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 11:53 UK

Secret Tiananmen memoirs revealed

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Zhao Ziyang, former general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party
Zhao Ziyang's memoirs were compiled in great secrecy

The memoirs of China's former communist leader who was sacked after the Tiananmen protests have been published.

Zhao Ziyang's book lifts the lid on discussions within the party that led to the brutal crushing of the protest movement.

Mr Zhao was sacked after the crackdown and put under house arrest until his death in 2005.

The publication of the book comes just weeks before the 20th anniversary of the killings.

The English version is already on sale in Hong Kong, but the Chinese version is scheduled to go on sale from 29 May.

Hundreds died

The book is believed to have been based on secret tapes recorded while Mr Zhao, the party's former general secretary, was under house arrest.

About 30 hours of tapes were apparently recorded and then smuggled out of China for the book, called Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zha