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The late Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang was undoubtedly one of the most interesting Chinese leaders. A Hakka by birth and a bit of a rebel all of his life, Hu’s rise through the CCP’s ranks is remarkable. For example, supposedly, in the mid-1980s, Deng Xiaoping held a meeting offering to resign for the problems in reform, but expecting a plea to stay the course. Hu, however, said “I raise both hands in support of Comrade Deng’s motion.” Hu may have ris en and fallen several times alongside Deng, but he had his own ideas and he pushed political-economic reform too far, too fast. Hu also welcomed criticism of government policy, and he himself probably overstepped the bounds of his own criticism, eventually breaking with Deng. Most talk of meaningful political liberalization in China traces back to Hu and his influence, making him a remarkable figure as someone who devoted more than fifty years of his life to the party. 《好大一棵树》:追忆胡耀邦 is brief sketch of Hu’s life.

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