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General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party
Hu Yaobang was born to a poor peasant family in Hunan Province, on November 20, 1915. He ran away from home at the age of 14, and joined the Communist Party soon after.
Early Political Career
After joining the CPC in September 1933, Hu became one of the youngest participants in the legendary Long March (1934-1935). He later joined the Army, where he served as a political officer under Deng Xiaoping. After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, he became head of the Communist Youth League. When Deng was purged in 1966, Hu shared the same fate. When Deng was restored to power in 1973-1976, Hu again shared the same fate. The pattern was repeated again in 1976-1977.
Rise and Fall
In 1978, Hu was elected to the Politburo and made head of the organization and propaganda departments of the CPC. In 1982, he replaced Hua Guofeng as General Secretary, a position he held until being purged in January 1987. Forced to accept responsibility for student demonstrations that took place in 1986, he went into seclusion, although he remained a member of the Politburo.
During his time in office, Hu was known as a dedicated reformer and one of Deng's most important associates. Among his most important achievements were the rehabilitation of thousands of persons who had been persecuted during the Cultural Revolution and the withdrawal of thousands of Chinese cadres from the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Hu Yubang died of a heart attack on April 15, 1989. Although he was officially a "retired" official, public pressure forced the CPC to accord him a State Funeral. Public mourning began on the streets of Beijing, especially at the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square. The mourning gradually escalated into full-scale protests, which in turn led to the well publicized government crackdown in the Square in June 1989.
On November 18, 2005, the CPC officially celebrated the 90th anniversary of Hu's birth.