The memoir of a top Chinese leader who was deposed over his sympathy with 1989 pro-democracy protesters has been published ahead of the anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown he tried to prevent.
Zhao Ziyang, who died in 2005 after more than 15 years under house arrest, secretly recorded his memories on tapes and passed them on to friends, according to the book's preface by Adi Ignatius, editor of the Harvard Business Review.
"When Zhao died... Some of the people who knew of the recordings launched a complex, clandestine effort to gather the materials in one place and then transcribe them for publication," Ignatius wrote.
In one extract from the book, which could prove embarrassing to China ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4, Zhao describes his feelings as the army moved in and killed hundreds, possibly thousands.
"On the night of June 3rd, while sitting in the courtyard with my family, I heard intense gunfire," recalled Zhao, who was days away from being deposed as leader of the Communist Party.
"A tragedy to shock the world had not been averted, and was happening after all.