Yuan Mu, a Communist Party propaganda official who defended the Chinese military’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters around Tiananmen Square in 1989, died on Dec. 13 in Beijing. He was 90. The Chinese state news media were unusually muted about Mr. Yuan’s death, perhaps because of sensitivity ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown next year. But Hong Kong and overseas Chinese news outlets reported that a funeral was held for Mr. Yuan on Sunday in Babaoshan, the cemetery in Beijing for senior Communist cadres. The reports did not give a cause of death.
Mr. Yuan won fame or notoriety as an ally of Li Peng, who was premier during the Tiananmen crackdown, but he first rose to prominence under Zhao Ziyang, Mr. Li’s more liberal rival. By 1983, Mr. Yuan was a spokesman for the government, although a brief biography issued at his funeral said he was formally made spokesman for the State Council, which is China’s cabinet, in 1986.