Zhao Ziyang, a former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, died on 17 Jan 2005 in a Beijing hospital.
He will be remembered as a reformer in the 80s and a supporter of the students during the Tiananmen Square protest (and later the massacre). He was under house-arrest soon after the massacre, and remained so until his death.
Milton Friedman, on a visit to China pre-Tiananmen, met with Zhao and was impressed by his deep understanding of economics. Zhao managed to put forward a case for price-control as an important and necessary short-term tool during the liberalisation of the Chinese economy that Friedman, most uncharacteristically, failed to completely destroy! Friedman later commented that Zhao was the best economist he had ever met from a socialist country, especially in the area of Law and Economics. The transcript of their meeting can be found in the Friedmans' memoir, Two Lucky People.