HONG KONG - Former Chinese prime minister Li Peng's purported diary covering events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 is being sold in Los Angeles bookstores after publication of the controversial memoirs was cancelled in Hong Kong, a report said Thursday.
Zheng Cunzhu, a student leader during the bloody crackdown on democracy protests in Beijing, funded the book's publication, which sheds rare light on the event that saw hundreds, if not thousands, killed, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.
Zheng told the paper that he suspected publication of the book would be halted in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
"I had a hunch that the book wouldn't be able to hit the bookshelves in Hong Kong. It's part of China after all," he was quoted as saying.
Half of the book profits will be donated to those who were injured in the crackdown, Zheng said.
Last week, Bao Pu, head of Hong Kong-based New Century Press, said he decided not to publish "The Tiananmen Diary of Li Peng", initially citing copyright concerns.
On Tuesday, Bao said it was moral rather than legal concerns that drove his decision, saying that he had been approached several times by people whom he refused to identify.
Excerpts of the diary on the Internet claim to show that Li, known as the "Butcher of Beijing", followed president Deng Xiaoping's orders in clearing Tiananmen Square after six weeks of unprecedented pro-democracy protests.
Li, who is 81-years-old and reportedly in poor health, argues in the diary that the Tiananmen protests had to be extinguished to save China from chaos.