Former Chinese premier Li Peng dies at 90

Former Chinese premier Li Peng dies at 90
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Former Chinese Premier Li Peng, who is largely known for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, died Monday at age 90, The Associated Press reports.

A state news agency said Li died in Beijing of an unspecified illness, according to the AP.

Li, who served as premier from 1987 to 1998, took a controversial role in overseeing the crackdown on pro-democracy, student-led protests that killed hundreds in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, declaring martial law on national television and becoming a major face of the crackdown.

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Hs also reportedly clashed with the former Communist Party’s general secretary, who sided with the students during the protests.

The agency described him as a “loyal communist warrior” and “an outstanding leader of the Communist Party and the state,” the South China Morning Post reports.

Li also pushed for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, which has been criticized for its environmental risks and for evicting people living along the Yangtze River, the Post reports.

After stepping down, he became chairman of the National People’s Congress and retired from the Standing Committee in 2002, the AP reports.

“Ridding themselves from the predicament of imperialist bullying, humiliation and oppression, the calamity-trodden Chinese people have since stood up,” Li said in 1995 in a speech for the anniversary of the 1949 revolution.