Hu Yaobang (20 November 1915 – 15 April 1989) was a leader of the People's Republic of China who supported economic and political reforms. In 1987, socialist hardliners forced him to resign for his "laxness" on "bourgeois liberalization" and he was humiliated with "self-criticism".
A day after his death, a small scale demonstration commemorated him and demanded that the government reassess his legacy. A week later, the day before Hu's funeral, some 100,000 students marched on Tiananmen Square, leading to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Hu Yaobang joined the communist revolution at an early age as a young teenager, and as a supporter of Mao Zedong. He was persecuted many times by the communist cadres of the faction returning from the Soviet Union, who controlled the communist leadership and had the real power. Once Mao was removed from power for good shortly before the beginning of the Fourth Encirclement Campaign, his supporters were persecuted once again, and Hu Yaobang was sentenced to death. Just before the beginning of the Long March, he and others were on their way to be beheaded. However, a powerful local communist commander named Tan Yubao (谭余保, 1899 - 10 January 1980) intervened at the last minute, saving Hu's life, but because of Hu's support of Mao, he was deemed as unreliable and ordered to join the Long March so that he could be placed under surveillance.