Chen Xitong

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Chen Xitong
CPC Beijing Committee Secretary
In office
October 1992 – September 1995
Preceded by Li Ximing
Succeeded by Li Qiyan
Mayor of Beijing
In office
April 1983 – January 1993
Preceded by Jiao Ruoyu
Succeeded by Wei Jianxing
Personal details
Born (1930-06-10)June 10, 1930
Anyue, Sichuan
Died June 2, 2013(2013-06-02) (aged 82)
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Peking University

Chen Xitong (Chinese: 陈希同; pinyin: Chén Xītóng; June 10, 1930 – June 2, 2013) was a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and the Mayor of Beijing until he was removed from office on charges of corruption in 1995.

Early life[edit]

Chen was born on June 10, 1930, in Anyue, Sichuan Province. He attended Peking University at the age of 18 and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1949.[1]

Political career[edit]

Chen Xitong was the mayor of Beijing during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[2] Years later, he said that he was "sorry" for the event of June 4, 1989, saying that no one should have died in the crackdown.[3]

A onetime political rival to Jiang Zemin, Chen, being the leader of "Beijing clique", challenged Jiang's newly obtained authority during his presidency. This led to Chen's downfall in 1995 during an anti-corruption campaign led by Jiang's Shanghai clique.[4] Some observers[5] view Chen's downfall as a political struggle between Chen and Jiang. According to the book Conversations with Chen Xitong by Yao Jianfu, based on interviews with Chen, he denied the corruption charges brought against him, calling them "the worst miscarriage of justice involving a high-level leader since the Cultural Revolution, or since 1989... an absurd miscarriage of justice."[6]

Chen's Vice Mayor, Wang Baosen, suicide in 1994 led to a confrontational power struggle between "Beijing clique" and "Shanghai clique". It was later stated that the amount of money Chen embezzled was directed to build vacational recreation centers which catered to most top-tier politicians in Beijing at the time.[7][8] He was also accused of having extramarital affair with lover, He Ping.[4][9] In 1998, Chen Xitong was given a 16-year jail sentence on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty. His son, Chen Xiaotong, was also sentenced.[10] Chen was released early from Qincheng Prison in 2006, officially due to reasons of ill health.[5][11]

The novel The Wrath of Heaven — the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Action (天怒—反貪局在行動; pinyin: Tiān nù—Fǎntānjú zài Xíngdòng) published in 1996 is a fictionalized account of the Chen Xitong case written from the point of a view of an investigator and was quickly banned in China.[12][13]

Chen died of cancer on June 2, 2013,[2][11] just two days short of the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Crackdown. He was 82.


  1. ^ "六四事件关键人物:陈希同". BBC. June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "June 4 crackdown mastermind Chen Xitong dies". South China Morning Post. June 4, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ Branigan, Tania (May 29, 2012). "Tiananmen crackdown was a tragedy, says former Beijing mayor". The Guardian. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Gilley, Bruce (1998). Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China's New Elite. pp. 241–246. ISBN 0520213955. 
  5. ^ a b Buckley, Chris (June 6, 2013). "Chen Xitong, Beijing Mayor During Tiananmen Protests, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Another ousted China party chief challenges case against him". Chicago Tribune. May 28, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ Sun, Yan (2004). Corruption And Market In Contemporary China. pp. 126–131. ISBN 0801442842. 
  8. ^ Manion, Melanie (2009). Corruption by Design: Building Clean Government in Mainland China and Hong Kong. pp. 193–196. ISBN 0674014863. 
  9. ^ Chan, Vivien Pik Kwan (July 23, 1997). "Party poised to kick out shamed boss". South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ Poole, Teresa (August 1, 1998). "Peking party boss is jailed for corruption". The Independent. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "陈希同病亡". Xinhua. June 5, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ Faison, Seth (September 15, 1997). "Beijing Journal; Politics, Sex and Murder! A Banned Best-Seller!". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ Kinkley, Jeffrey C. (2007). Corruption And Realism in Late Socialist China: The Return of the Political Novel. pp. 47–77. ISBN 0804754853. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jiao Ruoyu
Mayor of Beijing
Succeeded by
Li Qiyan
Preceded by
Li Ximing
Secretary of the CPC Beijing Committee
Succeeded by
Wei Jianxing