Washington, D.C., February 19, 2009 - Bao Tong, the highest-ranking Chinese government official charged in relation to the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, told the Voice of America (VOA) the Chinese Communist Party's actions cost it the respect of the world.
In a wide-ranging interview, the political secretary to the late Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang challenges the Chinese government to "reappraise Tiananmen" as a starting point toward the truly harmonious society that China's current leaders seek.
Bao said he agrees with President Obama who said in his inauguration speech that China's government risks being on the wrong side of history if it continues to justify violence as a way of maintaining control.
Bao, an advocate of democracy for China, was arrested shortly before Tiananmen. He was convicted in 1992 in a trial and served seven years in prison. Bao's exclusive interview with VOA's Mandarin Service Correspondent Zhang Nan took place inside the Beijing home where Bao has been under virtual house arrest since he was released from seven years in prison.
VOA Mandarin is airing the extensive interview in segments on its daily television program Issues and Opinions. The full interview will be on www.VOANews.com/Chinese.
VOA's Mandarin service broadcasts 84 hours of radio programs and seven hours of TV a week. VOA also broadcasts 14 hours of radio and six minutes of TV in Cantonese and 42 hours of radio and two hours of TV in Tibetan each week.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
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