Li Peng, the former Chinese premier known as the “Butcher of Beijing” due to his role in ordering the violent suppression of student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989, has died at the age of 90. Li also drew criticism from Chinese netizens for his role in spearheading the Three Gorges Dam project. The project forced more than 1.2 million people to relocate, as 129 nearby cities were flooded. He died of an unspecified illness on July 22 in Beijing, according to official obituaries released by Chinese state-run media Xinhua on July 23.
The obituaries praised Li as a lifelong fighter for the Party, similar wording to what Beijing has published about other deceased senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, such as Qiao Xi and Wan Li. The key points in Li’s obituaries were the references to the Tiananmen Square protests, Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based China affairs commentator, told The Epoch Times in an interview on July 23. Li was deeply involved with the decision to launch the bloody crackdown of the demonstrations. “The obituaries called the protest ‘Counter-revolutionary Riot’ means the Chinese government won’t redress or reversal the protests,” Tang said.