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Born in Tongnan, Sichuan province, he was a veteran of the Long March. He held a senior position in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) from 1956 to 1966, but was demoted during the Cultural Revolution. He was rehabilitated in 1978 and was elected to the Politburo in 1982. As president, Yang played a key role, along with "Paramount Leader" Deng Xiaoping, in ordering the June 1989 military crackdown against student pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. His nephew, Yang Jianhua, commanded the highly disciplined 27th Group Army, which was brought in from Hebei province to suppress the demonstrators.
Extremely influential in the People's Liberation Army, he was removed by Deng in 1992 for attempting to replace Jiang Zemin as party leader. It was known that the Yang and his brother, Yang Baibing, had many supporters and allies in the military that their removal forced more than half of the top ranking officers into retirement.
He is considered as one of the Eight Immortals of Communist China.
|President of the People's Republic of China|
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