Veteran Chinese revolutionary Yang Baibing dies

Once among the most powerful leaders in China, Yang Baibing was forced into retirement by Deng Xiaoping, who feared he and his half brother, the Chinese president, were accumulating too much clout.

BEIJING — Yang Baibing, a veteran Chinese revolutionary and strong proponent of economic liberalization, died Tuesday. He was 92.

Along with his more famous half brother, former Chinese president Yang Shangkun, Yang had been among the most powerful leaders in China. However, he was forced into retirement in 1992 and his supporters were purged from the officer corps by former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who feared the Yang brothers were accumulating too much power.

Yang joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1938 and battled both Japanese invaders and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists before the communist seizure of power in 1949.

A powerful backer of the bloody military crackdown on 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Yang later stood by Deng in his struggle against conservatives opposed to further economic reforms.

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