Li Rui (politician)
|Political party||Communist Party of China|
In the mid-1950s, Li was briefly one of Mao Zedong's secretaries, giving him access to the inner circle of China’s ruling elite, but his criticisms of the Great Leap Forward led to his denunciation and exile. He later declared that Mao was dismissive of the suffering and death caused by his policies: "Mao's way of thinking and governing was terrifying. He put no value on human life. The deaths of others meant nothing to him."
Li helped to negotiate the establishment of Joint Factory 718, set up in Dashanzi in cooperation with East Germany as an extension of the "Socialist Unification Plan" of military-industrial cooperation between the Soviet Union and the young Chinese communist state. From 1957 he was its inaugural director.
Li was later deputy head of the Organisation Department of the Communist Party.
In 2007, ahead of the 17th Party Congress, together with retired academic Xie Tao, he published articles calling for the CPC to become a European-style socialist party, remarks were that were condemned by the Party propaganda apparatus.
In October 2010, Li was the lead signatory to an open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, calling for much greater press freedom (see English text ).
Li has a daughter, Li Nanyang, from whom he was long estranged after she rejected him as an enemy of the Party during his fall from power in the 1950s. Through her efforts in the late 1970s, he was returned from exile and restored to his former rank. The two are now reconciled.
- Fifty Influential Public Intellectuals - The Propaganda Department's List of Six, ed by Nicolai Volland, Institut Fur Sinologie
- Intergenerational and family stories. Morning Sun
- Jonathan Watts. China must confront dark past, says Mao confidant The Guardian, June 2, 2005
- Li Rui, Former Secretary of Chairman Mao, and Maj. Gen. Chang Zhonglian Reflect on Zhao Ziyang, Epoch Times, Jan 28, 2005, trans from Chinese 
- Party elders attack China censors, BBC News, 14 February 2006
- Hu Jintao Battles the CCP's Crisis of Confidence, Willy Lam (Jamestown Foundation's China Brief)
- Chinese Cadres Say ‘Black Hands’ Choke Wen’s Political Reforms, Business Week, October 13, 2010
- Open letter calls for end to media censorship, SCMP, Oct 13, 2010