Peng Zhen, a victim of Mao Tse-tung’s purges who returned to prominence and fashioned legal checks on arbitrary uses of power, has died. He was 95.
Peng died of a undisclosed illness just before midnight on Saturday, the state-run Xinhua News Agency announced early today.
Peng’s longevity - and political influence - made him one of China’s “Eight Immortals,” a phrase borrowed from Chinese folklore to describe eight elderly veterans of the communist revolution who set policy from behind the scenes through the 1980s. With Peng’s death, only three “immortals” survive. The most powerful of the eight, Deng Xiaoping, died Feb. 19 at age 92.