Li Peng: Former Chinese premier known as ‘Butcher of Beijing’ dies at 90

File photo: Former Chinese Premier Li Peng attends the opening session of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 8, 2012.Image copyright Reuters

Former Chinese Premier Li Peng, has died at the age of 90, state media have announced.

Mr Li died on Monday evening in Beijing of an unspecified illness, state news agency Xinhua said.

He served in several top positions in China in the 1980s and 1990s.

But he was best known as the “Butcher of Beijing” for his role in the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989. Soldiers killed hundreds of unarmed civilians.

Mr Li ordered martial law to break up the protests. He later defended his actions as a “necessary” step.

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