It was after his retirement that Li’s influence reached the

pinnacle. Since the end of the 1980s, he had made his voice heard constantly and had been labeled the “CPC veteran cadre + CPC critic.”

As a representative figure among veteran outspoken officials, he was hailed among Chinese liberals and Western public opin

ion. Among his propositions, the most famous was opposing the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.

Looking back on Li’s life, the prime of his life was embedded in the wave of the Chinese Revolu

tion and the country’s early development; he suffered a lot during that period of time.

In his later years, he participated in the creation of a special type of “veteran cadre + critic.” Stronger opinion was not at al

l unusual in those years, but the label of a retired official helped increase the gravity of Li’s voice and consolidated his stance.

Li’s later years were a success from another perspective as well. He had been enjoying a

generous pension and lavish benefits after retirement until he died in Beijing Hospital.

While benefiting from the privileges the state provided, he was also supported by China’s do

mestic anti-establishment forces and some Western powers. He was one of China’s least lonely old men and veteran cadres.

It should be noted that Li in his later years became a symbol of the diversificat

ion of Chinese society. Considering the meaning of this symbol, different conclusions can be drawn.

Supporters may hold that he had added a voice and more importantly a “scarce voice,” while

opponents would argue that he had become a tool for hostile and unfriendly forces to attack the Chinese system.

Li’s later years demonstrated a special way of boycotting China’s mainstream path. Such a role played by him may reflect various value judgments.

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