Zhao Ziyang, toppled as China's Communist Party chief in 1989 for opposing an army crackdown on protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, died in hospital January 17, 2005 after suffering multiple strokes, a source close to the family said. Zhao, now 85, is seen in his home in Beijing in this file photo taken in 2002. Photo by Stringer/China/Reuters<br> - there's a larger version of this @ Reuters.com/international<br>R I P<br><br>And RIP all the the students massacred.<br>F_ck the corporate greed into the dirt and piss on it.<br><br>=<br>BEIJING (Reuters) - Zhao Ziyang, toppled as China's Communist Party chief in 1989 for opposing an army crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, died in hospital on Monday, his family and the government said. He was 85.<br><br>Zhao, who resisted then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping's decision to crush the Tiananmen protests, has remained a politically sensitive figure for 15 years amid government fears his death could spark a groundswell of protest.<br><br>He was taken to hospital on Dec. 5 for chronic pneumonia and had been in a coma since Friday after multiple strokes.<br><br>"He died at 7:01 a.m. (1801 EST Sunday). The medical report is not out yet," Zhao's son, Liang Fang, who adopted his mother's surname, told Reuters.<br><br>"National leaders came to pay respects but it is not convenient to say who they are," said Liang.<br><br>Zhao's daughter, Wang Yannan, who changed her surname after her father was purged for opposing the military crackdown on the student-led 1989 protests, said he died peacefully.<br><br>"He is free at last," Wang said in a statement to Reuters.<br><br>Xinhua news agency confirmed his death in a brief report.<br><br>"Comrade Zhao had long suffered from multiple diseases affecting his respiratory and cardiovascular systems and had been hospitalized for medical treatment for several times," it said.<br><br>"His condition worsened recently and he passed away on Monday after failing to respond to all emergency treatment."<br><br>QUIET ON THE SQUARE<br><br>Market reaction was muted, with China bourses falling not on Zhao but on a massive new power company listing and Hong Kong shares following Wall Street higher. Analysts said investors would be on guard for any political fallout.<br><br>The government had stepped up security in Tiananmen once Zhao's health began to deteriorate, fearing his death could serve as a rallying point for reformers, for workers bitter at high unemployment and for poor farmers envious of wealthier urban residents.<br><br>The square was quiet on a wintry Monday morning, with a scattering of tourists, Beijing residents and guards. Irish flags flew to mark a visit by Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.<br><br>While Zhao is forever associated with opposition to the crackdown, his legacy remains unclear because the secretive Chinese leadership has never fully explained his role, Hou Dejian, a Taiwan composer who staged a hunger strike in Tiananmen days before the crackdown, told Reuters in Taipei.<br><br>"There are so many things we don't know about, especially the thinking behind the high-level officials at that time," Hou said.<br><br>"The only thing I can be sure of is Zhao Ziyang was more sympathetic than other Chinese leaders at the time. I believe history will eventually give him a fair judgment."<br><br>Kenneth Lieberthal, University of Michigan professor of political science, noted the new generation of college students and others in their 20s had no direct experience of Zhao and he was remembered among older generations as a political reformer.<br><br>"The leadership will take precautions anyway, with stepped up security and surveillance -- they always do. But will this be a spark for another protest movement? I have no idea. But I would doubt that it would," he told Reuters.<br><br>Zhao was placed under house arrest, confined behind the red doors of his Beijing courtyard home, shortly before the army, backed by tanks, crushed the demonstrations on June 3-4, 1989.<br><br>Hundreds of people were killed.<br><br>Zhao was last seen in public on May 19, 1989, when he appeared in the square and made a tearful appeal to the protesters to leave, saying he had come too late. The government declared martial law the next day.<br><br>He was accused of trying to split the party and sacked as general secretary. Jiang Zemin took his place, ruling for more than a decade before handing over to Hu Jintao in late 2002.<br><br>Oct 15, 04. Police fired projectiles upon Oregon protesters. [color:red]Why?</font color=red> - no tanks, like Tianmen, not yet at least.<br><br>DOJonestown.