Beijing: China’s former premier Li Peng, regarded as a staunch supporter of the ruling Communist Party’s iron-fisted clampdown on the pro-democracy student protests at the Tiananmen Square in 1989, died in Beijing, officials said here on Tuesday. Li died of illness in Beijing at the age of 91 on Monday night, an official statement said. Li visited India in 2001 as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, the communist nation’s Parliament. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USState-run news agency Xinhua described Li as “a loyal communist warrior” and “an outstanding leader of the Communist Party and the state”. However, he is widely known as the “Butcher of Beijing” for his hard-line approach to quell the 1989 protests at the Tiananmen Square in which hundreds of people were reportedly killed. Born in 1928 in the family of a Communist revolutionary, Li became an orphan after his father was executed by the previous Kuomintang government. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHe was raised by former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and his wife Deng Yingchao and grew up to become one of China’s most prominent and controversial leaders. However Li dismissed as rumours that he was the adopted son of the late premier Zhou, although he said he was close to him and Deng. In his memoir published in 2014, Li wrote that his relation with Zhou and Deng was like “a relationship between old comrades and martyrs’ descendants.” “Some say I was the adopted son of premier Zhou. It is not correct,” Li wrote. “Premier Zhou and mother Deng cared about many martyrs’ descendants and I was one of them. They cared just as much about the other descendants of their comrades-in-arms. We all call them uncle Zhou and mother Deng,” he said. Trained as an engineer in the then Soviet Union, Li worked for a national power company after returning to China. He managed to escape the political turmoil during the era of Mao Zedong, including the dreaded Cultural Revolution purportedly due to his political connections. After Mao’s death, he became prominent specially after reformist leader Deng took over power purging the ‘Gang of Four’ led by Mao’s wife Jiang Qing. After that he served as the fourth Chinese premier from 1987 to 1998 and held several influential posts of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It was widely reported that Li was openly at odds with then Communist Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang, who was later purged for siding with the student protesters.