The burial place of the ashes of reformist Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang in BeijingImage copyright

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The grave of Mr Zhao, who has been airbrushed from Chinese history

The ashes of reformist Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang, purged for opposing using force to suppress student protests in 1989, have been buried in Beijing.

The remains of Mr Zhao, who died in 2005, were interred along with those of his wife in a quiet ceremony.

Mr Zhao, general secretary of the Communist Party, was ousted in 1989 and lived under house arrest until he died.

The crackdown authorised by officials killed hundreds, and has been excised from Chinese history books.

Negotiations about what to do with the ashes of a man the authorities have also tried to write out of history have gone on for years.

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Zhao Ziyang was promoted by China’s former supreme leader, Deng Xiaoping, who was looking for someone to reform the economy and open up the country to the outside world.

His position seemed assured when he was made general secretary of the ruling Communist Party in 1987.

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But the protests by students and residents in Beijing – and elsewhere across China – two years later revealed deep divisions within the party leadership.

Hundreds of thousands called for democratic reforms in a peaceful demonstration largely focused on a gathering in Tiananmen Square. Mr Zhao, who had a more liberal attitude than other leaders, favoured a conciliatory approach towards the protesters.

That view eventually lost to those who wanted to bring in the army, and Mr Deng approved the detention of his former favourite.



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