Died when: 90 years 275 days
Star Sign: Libra
Li Peng (Chinese: 李鹏; pinyin: Lǐ Péng; 20 October 1928 – 22 July 2019) was a Chinese politician. Known in Western media as the "Butcher of Beijing" for his role in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Li served as the fourth Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1987 to 1998, and as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, from 1998 to 2003. For much of the 1990s Li was ranked second in the Communist Party of China (CPC) hierarchy behind then Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin. He retained his seat on the CPC Politburo Standing Committee until his retirement in 2002. Li was the son of an early Communist revolutionary, Li Shuoxun, who was executed by the Kuomintang. After meeting Zhou Enlai in Sichuan, Li was raised by Zhou and his wife, Deng Yingchao. Li trained to be an engineer in the USSR and worked at an important national power company after returning to China. He escaped the political turmoil of the 1950s, '60s and '70s due to his political connections and his employment in the company. After Deng Xiaoping became China's leader in the late 1970s, Li took a number of increasingly important and powerful political positions, eventually becoming premier in 1987. As Premier, Li was the most visible representative of China's government who backed the use of force to quell the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. During the protests Li used his authority as premier to declare martial law and, in cooperation with Deng Xiaoping, who was the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, ordered the June 1989 military crackdown against student pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. Li advocated a largely conservative approach to Chinese economic reform, which placed him at odds with General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who fell out of favour in 1989. After Zhao was removed from office Li promoted a conservative socialist economic agenda, but lost influence to incoming vice-premier Zhu Rongji and was unable to prevent the increasing free-market liberalization of the Chinese economy. During his time in office he helmed the controversial Three Gorges Dam project. He and his family managed a large Chinese power monopoly, which the Chinese government broke up after his term as premier expired. Li died at the age of 90 in Beijing.