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Veteran Chinese revolutionary Yang Baibing dies

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January 16, 2013 01:41 AM EST | AP


BEIJING — Yang Baibing, a veteran Chinese revolutionary and strong proponent of economic liberalization, has died. He was 92.

Along with his more famous half-brother, former Chinese president Yang Shangkun, Yang had been among the most powerful leaders in China. However, he was forced into retirement in 1992 and his supporters were purged from the officer corps by former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who feared the Yang brothers were accumulating too much power.

Yang joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1938 and battled both Japanese invaders and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists before the communist seizure of power in 1949.

A powerful backer of the bloody military crackdown on 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Yang later stood by Deng in his struggle against conservatives opposed to further economic reforms.