Home > Analysis, Opinion, politics > June Fourth 1989, another look

June Fourth 1989, another look

It has been 22 years since the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen incident. While the Western media has over the years toned down this ‘massacre’ myth, they are still using vague language to keep the ‘massacre’ narrative alive. For example, even NPR’s ‘anniversary’ piece yesterday, echoing an Associated Press article, described it as “the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.”

With declassified U.S. government documents and other Westerner accounts, Gregory Clark in this well researched 2008 article published in the Japan Times, “Birth of a massacre myth,” explained how the New York Times and other Western media were still pushing that narrative despite all evidence concluding otherwise. Recent Wikileaked U.S. embassy cables also showed the U.S. government knew there was no bloodshed in Tiananmen Square [editor: link updated on 3/19/2012 from vancouversun - which became unreachable - to telegraph link]. Apparently, condemning China is okay while lying along with the media.

The deaths that actually occured were due to classhes between some troops and protesters, in some barricaded streets outside the square itself.

On the Chinese side, people have moved on. June 4th was a tragic event, and especially given the rise of China economically, everyone is content to not rock the boat. A student protester wrote not so long ago:

We settled down and continued with our study. We dated, found our loved ones, and many sought to go abroad. By the time we graduated there was almost no discussion about the student movement and we no longer listened to the VOA.

Actually, the irony is the imminent death of Voice of America, as far as China is concerned. The Obama Administration is planning to shut down VOA broadcasts into China and is likely to take effect October this year.

With Tunisia, Egypt, and other Arab states in turmoil, the Western media have been keen to play up a possible ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in China. I can see people like Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times or the BBC journalist who got dragged away from Wangfujing think their careers will be catapulted into the stratosphere if indeed a 1989-scale protest broke out in China. Or for people like Jon Huntsman, an opportunity to position himself in the midst of it to maximize his credentials back home for his 2012 ambitions. (See our recent articles: “Chinese Citizens React to Fake Western Media Coverage Of Jasmine Revolution In China,” “‘Catching Scent of Revolution, China Moves to Snip Jasmine’ – Retarded Government or Retarded NYT?,” and “U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman caught on video teased by Chinese at ‘Jasmine Revolution’ rally at Wangfujing.”)

On this 22nd anniversay of a great tragedy, I simply would like to republish an essay written by kui (two years ago), the student protester whom I quoted above. Why? Because Westerners are hopelessly trapped in a view of the world constructed for them by their media. As Martin Jacques said, the West have not had to understand the developing world, because they have the might to not care. The hard truth for the Chinese from this tragedy is that progress comes from stability.

When you reach to the end of kui’s essay, you will see his use of the egg and rock analogy. In my personal opinion, people like Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei are the same ‘eggs’ too; hard broiled eggs if one wants to make a distinction with the students.

I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.

Some students were frustrated by the slow response of our college. University of Tianjin and Nankai University had already protested on the streets! Finally an all-out protest was organized. Roughly there were 2000 students participated in the protest. It was a bit disappointing that our teachers did not participate. We marched on the busiest commercial streets of Tianjin such as Anshan Street. We were against corruptions and we demanded democracy and freedom. I remembered some popular slogans such as “save our nation via democracy” (民主救国)”, “down with corrupted officials” (打倒贪官污吏) and one of Sun Yat-sen’s quotes “one cannot resist the trend of the whole world; whoever follows it will rise, whoever opposes it, will perish (世界潮流,浩浩荡荡,顺之则昌, 逆之则亡). We marched twice in Tianjin. Although we did block the traffic, overall our protests were peaceful. Many ordinary Tianjiners lined up the street to show their support but I did hear some negative comments from the crowd such as “the more chaos, the better” (越乱越好), “another cultural revolution is coming” (又文革了), “students only know how to mess around” (学生就会瞎闹). The response from Tianjin local government was interesting; the police force was in nowhere to be seen.

We decided to go to Beijing. Back in 1989 it was a two hour trip by train from Tianjin to Beijing. So the entire college marched again to Tianjin station. We were given a free ride to Beijing. There we joined a much larger protest. We Marched on Changan Street. There were factory workers demanded better pay and work conditions. Restaurant workers protested against luxurious dinner parties paid by public funds. Workers from Beijing Steel protested in support of the students… It was spectacular and exciting. We met with other students mainly from colleges and universities of Beijing on the square.

There were lots of activities going on. Musicians came to entertain students. We received free meals. Some famous people from all sorts of backgrounds came to the square to show support. We shouted slogans and we sang songs. However there was very little communications between the students and student leaders. We tried to visit the students who were on hunger strike but were stopped as excessive visiting might exhaust them further. There were loud speakers set up on the square by students. The hunger strike was in a prolonged stage. Sirens of ambulances could be heard constantly. One night, I heard a female voice spoke to paramedics in loudspeaker “please do not take all of our hunger strike students to hospitals.” There was a chill went down my spine when I first heard of that. I felt very uncomfortable with it. If all of these students need to go to the hospitals then they have to go. The same voice made the same statements again and again and I then got use to it. Some students said that was Chai Ling’s voice.

After spending 2 days on the square we were exhausted. A group of students including me decided to go back to Tianjin. We were told that we should keep the student number up on the square. And that was the direct request from the University Autonomous Association (高自联). We all agreed that we would be back to the Square after a hot shower and a good night sleep.

The Beijing station was chaotic. The station was packed with students from other provinces. Some had just arrived and some were trying to leave. Ordinary travelers and students had no idea when and on which platform to catch their trains because there was not a functioning schedule. The railway workers were trying to manage the crowd instead of selling or checking tickets. Finally we got information from other students and found a train that was heading to Tianjin. The platform was packed and the train was packed. Some students were trying to get onto the train through windows. Before the train departed one of my roommates suffered a panic attack. We managed to get her off the train and she recovered after resting in a staff room of the station.

The trip took much longer than two hours because the train traveled slowly and some times it had to stop. I was exhausted when I finally reached my dormitory. The campus was almost empty and surprisingly my father and younger sister were waiting for me outside the building! They looked tired and worried. They asked me to go home with them and I did. I had the worst argument with my parents in my 21 years when they stopped me from going back to the square. It was insulting to hear my own parents saying things like “Another culture revolution will not save China”. I have to admit now that they had more political acumen.

My father said to me, “the CCP was arisen from mass student movements, it will in no way allow you to confront the government indefinitely” (共产党就是靠学生运动起家的,绝对不会由着你们这样没完没了地闹下去). When my parents told me that a heavy-handed crackdown was imminent I thought they were trying to scare me off. Probably it was their teary eyes that finally calmed me down. They took turns to keep an eye on me.

Then came the CCTV ‘s announcement of an “antirevolutionary riot”. I remember that morning I saw buses traveling around with messages painted in red. “Brutal government bloodbathed the Tiananmen square!” “Tens of thousands students killed on Tiananmen square” “Down with the Communist Party”. I was so angry. I cried my eyes out.

After lots of begging and crying, my parents escorted me back to the college. My roommates and classmates were all safe and well. The college did not try to resume classes. We were sent home for extra long summer holiday. When the new semester started we were given a form to make a statement about our actions during the student movement. I remembered hearing a whisper when I received the form. “Do not admit anything.” I struggled a little bit when I wrote down “Did not participate”. Is this lying? Am I scared of possible consequences? I handed in the form ashamed but later on found everyone else did the same. No one in the college was punished no matter what they did.

I tried to find victims on day one of the new semester, starting from my own class; I expanded my search to other classes, staff and faculty members. There was no one killed or injured. Other students also did similar searches. In fact, we could not even find a student from our college who was on the square that night. They all came back when the atmosphere became very tense on June 3.

At the beginning it was all about anger towards the CCP. Then gradually there was some doubt kicked in about what exactly happen on 4 June. I started to question the “tens of thousands students killed” story line. CCTV had shown the bodies of burned to death soldiers and another video in which a soldier was stoned to death. There was no discussion about this among my friends but I have found it hard to forget. I expanded my search to other universities and colleges in Tianjin through my high school ties but only managed to meet one student who was on the square that night. According to him the students moved out of the square before the PLA moved in. Had nowhere to stay they headed toward Beijing station and came back to Tianjin. We graduated in 1991, 2 years after 6.4. My classmates and I had not been able to locate one single student who was killed, injured, or witnessed the killing on that day. Tianjin was the third largest city in China in 1989 and it is the closest city to Beijing. Compared to other cities and provinces, Tianjian provided the largest number of outside students coming to Beijing. If tens of thousands had been killed then by chance there would be casualties among Tianjin students that I have known or heard of.

Apparently we were not really traumatized or we were very resilient, life moved on. We settled down and continued with our study. We dated, found our loved ones, and many sought to go abroad. By the time we graduated there was almost no discussion about the student movement and we no longer listened to the VOA.

One thing I have been kept thinking was the role of the VOA. Many students were the fans of the radio station before, during and shortly after the student movement. Even when we were on the square many students were listening to their programs as if only they could tell us what was going on. I remember at one stage it said the PLA stationed in Beijing was in a defensive position and then it asked some questions such as “Who are they waiting for and why are they in a defensive position?” I immediately drew a conclusion that there was a rebelling PLA force coming to support us!! Until I double checked with my cousin I realized how stupid I was to draw that conclusion.

My cousin joined the PLA when she was only 17. She was posted to Tangshan and survived the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. She received some sort of reward for helping the injured, safeguarding a bank and became a CCP member. She was in Beijing working for a PLA newspaper at the time. She got into trouble because she and a dozen of her co-workers protested in support of the students. They marched without wearing army uniform, but still she was immediately suspended. As the only female officer participated in the student movement from the PLA, she was made “to retire” from the army. All her male counterparts were discharged from the army straight away. She went through long-term unemployment.

When I asked her whether the student movement had any support from the army, she said “No”. According her she was among the very few “crazy” ones that would take action to support the student movement. My second question was how could the PLA soldiers shoot at their own country men? She looked at me with some sadness and said she almost did the same when she was given the task to guard a collapsed bank after the earthquake. This was the part that she had never told me before.

Why did I participate in the student movement? I remember visiting my auntie’s family during school holidays in my early high school years (early 1980s). My auntie’s husband (we called him uncle) was probably one of the leftist hardliners and there were always fierce arguments between him and his two sons at the dinning table every night. It was about Capitalism vs. Communism and my uncle was losing. My auntie always tried to stop them from arguing. According to my auntie, my uncle was getting sidelined by “Deng’s people” at work (he was a high rank army officer) and getting “bullied” by his own sons at home. Probably that was all too much for the poor old soldier, he passed away early. The same argument also happened at school. Back in those years one of the compulsory subjects at high school was “Politics”. We were taught about the Marxist theory. We asked many hard questions during the class. I remembered very clearly one student asked, “China was in a complete turmoil during the ROC time and capitalism was not given any chance to develop. If the capitalism is one of the developmental stages of Human society then how can China almost skip the entire developmental stage, jumping from a feudal society to socialism?” The teacher was often red faced and could not answer our questions.

By the time I got into college it looked like a drastic reform was about to unfold. Living standard had improved but there was lots of uncertainty and dissatisfaction too. Those unemployed were the first group to start their own small business and they immediately became richer than professionals. Back then all college students enjoyed free accommodation, 100% healthcare coverage provided by the government, and were guaranteed with a job upon graduation. It was said college students were going to loose all these privileges when further reform kicked in. It looked like the pending reform would make things worse to many.

In late 1980s there were few reports about western countries and from what I could recall there was no negative reporting (Maybe there was but it was filtered through my brain and discarded into the CCP propaganda bin). The Voice of America introduced democracy and America to us and we loved the life Americans had, free, rich, and happy. To us at that time the America was the model country of the world. Today after 11 years living in a democratic country I have to admit that I knew very little about democracy. All I knew was a beautiful words plus a belief that democracy will fix up all the problems for China.

My family emigrated to Australia in 1998. The old scar of Tiananmen was then reopened again and again. From Australian high school textbook I found that “thousands killed by the communist government”. The number varies from one source to the other. There is no doubt the killing happened, but why is it exaggerated so much? Good teaching material? I have grown a strong nauseated feeling towards this kind of distortion over the last 10 years. The students were pushed against the PLA like an egg was thrown to a hard rock; surely the rock broke the egg but shouldn’t the one who threw the egg be also held responsible? Adding to my suspicion is the behavior of those student leaders we once followed. They have drifted apart from my friends and me when they mixed themselves up with separatists, FLG…

What did we want to achieve? A Great Leap Forward to western democracy? Did we know that in a democracy a protest does not result in “everything we want”? When western public see their governments using their tax money to start a wrong war they protest but then they go home. Did we have the slightest consideration of the stability China needed to develop? Painful, so painful to reflect on all of these! We had the best intention for our motherland but did we really know what was good for her?

To the students, Beijingers, and soldiers who died on June 4th, rest in peace. Although I have never met with you, my heart goes out to you. I am pleased to let you know that China is now on the right track.

  1. June 4th, 2011 at 02:56 | #1

    I have long argued the very points that you have raised in your Blog Piece. Just recently I blogged “It must be June: Tiananmen Square”. Every year it is the same, someone hits the send button and the same old stuff is trotted out. You can see it coming. The start of the season is marked b the obligatory “Tiananmen Mothers” stories. ( I respect them very much by the way )

    Yes, people died but my research would say between 50 and 100 and whatever soldiers. I just can’t believe that after all this time the myth is being perpetuated. Even Wikipedia now refers to it as the Tiananmen Square Protest”.

    Let the western press focus on now.

  2. Michael Middleton
    June 4th, 2011 at 07:23 | #2

    “I am pleased to let you know that China is now on the right track.”

    Which is why everyone who writes on this blog lives in the US!

  3. raventhorn2000
    June 4th, 2011 at 07:37 | #3

    “Which is why everyone who writes on this blog lives in the US!”

    And everyone else who mock this blog lives on Fantasy Island. :)

  4. June 4th, 2011 at 10:14 | #4

    Google’s search result for ‘tiananmen’ is pretty funny. 2 of the top 3 news items are from the Epoch Times – a magazine of the FLG cult. (I did this search 3 minutes ago.)

  5. raventhorn2000
    June 4th, 2011 at 10:34 | #5

    Inside the square, a Chilean diplomat who was positioned next to a Red Cross station, was on hand to give his U.S. counterparts an eye-witness account of the final hours of the pro-democracy movement.

    “He watched the military enter the square and did not observe any mass firing of weapons into the crowds, although sporadic gunfire was heard.

    “He said that most of the troops which entered the square were armed only with anti-riot gear – truncheons and wooden clubs; they were backed up by armed soldiers,” a cable from July 1989 said.

    Leaders of the protest urged the students to leave the square, and the Chilean diplomat relayed that “once agreement was reached for the students to withdraw, linking hands to form a column, the students left the square through the south-east corner”.

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/China+claims+over+Tiananmen+Square+backed/4891604/story.html#ixzz1OKVKzgQ1

  6. raventhorn2000
    June 4th, 2011 at 10:59 | #6

    Now, Wikileak cable confirmed what the Chinese government said, no massacre at the Square. (Also what actual eyewitnesses said, instead of what “remote viewing journalists” claimed).

    Now, Telegraph and other Western media are spinning this as “instead, the soldiers fired upon the protesters OUTSIDE of the Square”.

    Hmmm…. So, I guess the journalists don’t have to prove their ever-changing allegations/lies, but the facts can only be proven by disproving the negative?

    So, at least we learned that this Western media’s story was 90% spins/lies, and the other 10% greed, AFTER more than 20 years of festering.

    Yet the proponents of such lies are still shamelessly holding up heads high and screaming at the top of their lungs.

    Such a system of shamelessness and pride and arrogance cannot stand.

  7. Wahaha
    June 4th, 2011 at 13:10 | #7

    #2, Michael,

    This world is not either 1 or 0, there are numbers in between them, e.g, 0.25, 0.50, 0.75.

    You think “human right” is absolute in US ? No.

    For example, US government broke the levee to save the cities and millions of houses from flooding. Did it respect the right of those who lost their houses and lands ?

    But dont you agree US government did the right thing?

  8. raventhorn2000
    June 4th, 2011 at 15:02 | #8

    Some great many in “free societies” would prefer to believe in lies, because the Truth is too unpopular or unlikeable.

    Which is why the best liars in the world become leaders of Democracy, and well acknowledged for their lies.

  9. tc
    June 4th, 2011 at 15:51 | #9

    @#3 :

    If those students had ever lived in the US before, they wouldn’t have been so naive to gather there in the first place. They were young and might have listened to foreign radios too much without traveling out of the country. That’s the problem. The people write this blog know a lot better.

    I was completely shocked. I watched the whole event on US TV’s and could not believe my eyes . The communists actually allowed them do all that for that long? That totally contradicts what I knew about the Mainland. I was born and grew up under Chiang Kai Sheik, the most anti-communists man in the world. Under his rule, I don’t believe that could have happened, let along for a month. The event changed my view about the Mainland for ever. If a country of 1.3 billion, with 50 some minorities, changed policies based on ‘protests’, how could that country be governed? It’s just that simple.

    Fortunately, with the whole world’s TV men there, I did not see much bloodshed. Thank heavens.

  10. Charles Liu
    June 4th, 2011 at 20:51 | #10

    @Michael Middleton

    that’s cuz sum of us ain’t from mainland china.

  11. June 5th, 2011 at 12:03 | #11

    This may be of interests to some:

    Tiananmen Square protesters: where are they now? Benefitting from CIA Financing
    http://www.bearcanada.com/china/wherearetheynow.html

  12. kchew
    June 5th, 2011 at 17:33 | #12

    Allen, http://www.bearcanada.com/china/wherearetheynow.html

    An update on Hou Dejian: He wrote the famous song, ‘The descendant of the dragon’ or 龙的专人. He appeared in the recent 30th anniversary of Rock record music festival, singing 龙的专人 at the Beijing Bird Nest stadium. Thus, he seems to have been ‘rehabilitated’ and all are forgiven.

  13. Charles Liu
    June 5th, 2011 at 18:04 | #13

    @Allen

    Here’s an article from 1998, where Columbia School of Journalism stated “from the available evidence, no one died that night in Tiananmen Square”:

    http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/the_myth_of_tiananmen.php

  14. Jason
    June 5th, 2011 at 23:14 | #14

    I must applaud Malcolm Moore of his no-bias stance on the wikileaks cables on 1989 Massacre:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html

    You won’t see this in NY Times or Epoch Times.

    I’m actually surprised that none of the US mainstream media has cover this wikileaks finding at all.

  15. raventhorn2000
    June 6th, 2011 at 05:44 | #15

    I find Malcolm Moore’s assertion, “Instead, the cables show that Chinese soldiers opened fire on protesters outside the centre of Beijing, as they fought their way towards the square from the west of the city”, unsupported personal speculation.

    None of the cables had any eyewitness accounts of what happened outside of the square.

    In any case, the cables did say that outside of the square, the soldiers were trying to clear the roads blocked by turned over buses/etc. (hence the use of tanks and other heavy vehicles).

    Diplomats only hear sporadic gunfires from outside of the square.

    (I wrote a long time ago, that CNN’s Mike Chinoy at the time play a “tape” of sporadic gunfires, which was condensed down to a few seconds to give the impression that the gunfires were rapid and continuous. Mike Chinoy himself said on air it was only “sporadic gunfire”, but the tape was made to sound like continuous gunfire. People don’t remember what Chinoy said any more, but they still remember the tape sound.)

  16. Charles Liu
    June 6th, 2011 at 10:25 | #16

    @raventhorn2000

    Why should any legitmate law enforcement even need to “fight their way thru the streets”? People who fight the police ar called rioters. When rioters ignore weeklong curfue and start throwing molotov cocktails, torching police vehicle and killing unarmed soldiers, use of deadly force is justifable in any country.

  17. ed
    June 6th, 2011 at 13:56 | #17

    This year have any mainstream Western media actually written stories claiming that the massacre took place in the square itself? I thought that was corrected years ago. If there are any such articles — ones that actually state the students were massacred INSIDE Tiananmen Square — then please share them. I don’t think there are any, at least not in mainstream media.

    Tiananmen Square Massacre is a phrase that is not going away, but it has been redefined to mean the massacre that took place in the side streets after the square proper was emptied. And it is a fair title; after all, the massacres only took place because of the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. The crowds who were fired upon were only there for the TS protests.

    Every aspect of this argument is tired and misguided. Were the students “pro-democracy”? No, not entirely. But after the students rolled out a statue they themselves called The Goddess of Democracy it’s no small wonder that the “pro-democracy” label stuck. “Pro-reform” would have been more accurate, though many of those reforms encompassed clearly democratic ideals (representation, checks and balances to control corruption, a voice in government, a degree of pluralism).

    All in all, Western coverage has improved dramatically in recent years, and, as mentioned, Tiananmen Square Massacre is a totally valid name for what happened. Were others killed, such as soldiers/police? Yes. But that doesn’t alter the fact that there was a far larger massacre of students and other civilians in the backstreets not far from the Square.

    Also, are there any media that are now reporting that 10,000 or more were massacred? (And I don’t mean fringe right-wing media read only by John Birchers). The truth is, no major media make this claim anymore. As the truth came out — and China didn’t make it easy for that to happen — the story has been dramatically and responsibly revised.

  18. June 6th, 2011 at 16:15 | #18

    @ed
    First of all, show me which Western media “corrected years ago” regarding this massacre myth. As I have said in the OP, the media are toning down, and as in the NPR example, they are still using vague language to allow that myth to persist.

    Second, the whole point is about the Western media making this all up to begin with, isn’t it? And, no, the Western coverage has not improved. They continue to make things up, as the examples I provided shown regarding the ‘Jasmine Revolution.’

    Sure, I can understand your wanting to describe the hundreds of deaths as ‘massacre.’ Then you explain for us why the Western media ain’t describing the deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya as massacre.

    That is actually an insulting comparison, because China is not sending troops thousands of miles away killing others.

    Chinese troops were responding to violence from protesters despite a curphew already violated.

    The more apt comparison would be the some hundred Egyptians deaths in their protest. Why isn’t ‘massacre’ appropriate for the Egypt case?

    You said:

    But after the students rolled out a statue they themselves called The Goddess of Democracy it’s no small wonder that the “pro-democracy” label stuck. “Pro-reform” would have been more accurate, though many of those reforms encompassed clearly democratic ideals (representation, checks and balances to control corruption, a voice in government, a degree of pluralism).

    Nah, the whole ‘democracy’ bullshit came about because many Western ‘activists’ and journalists wanted the protest to turn into that. For the students, initially it was mostly about corruption and job security due to China’s privatization reforms. If you can read Chinese, that was what their signs and slogans were about.

    Btw, point to ONE country for the sake of ‘democracy’ and underwent it since 1989 that is doing better than China.

  19. ed
    June 6th, 2011 at 18:16 | #19

    I made no comment on how well China has done. That is a total change of subject, and very slick. I am simply questioning the strawman argument that Western media are still contending the massacre took place INSIDE the square. Are western media doing this or not? I say they are not; that myth got corrected a long time ago.

    The Western hjournalists had zero ulterior motives. The main reason the democracy meme caught hold was tyhat many of the English-speaking students fed it to the reporters. Poor reporting? Perhaps. Sinister plot to make China look bad and position the demonstrations as pro-Western democracy? Not one bit, except in the minds of the dull, the stupid, the sick, the conspiracy kooks who see everything the West does as “anti-China.”

    Do you even know what the definition of a massacre is? Sounds like you don’t. It’s usually a descriptor of a large (always relative) number of people killed in a specific location at a specific time, such as the Nanjing Massacre. Acts of war, dreadful as they are, aren’t massacres unless you have a Babi Yar or My Lai massacre situation. And that”s a great example — My Lai — of Americans coming clean and calling it a massacre right from the start, even though it was carried out by Americans.

    Many a brainwashed fenqing (not you, of course) puts all the blame for China’s woes and misfortunes and massacres on the West in general and the US in particular. Brilliant.

  20. Charles Liu
    June 6th, 2011 at 19:10 | #20

    @ed

    So, does the EU press release qualify as mainstream?

    “brutally cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square”

  21. June 6th, 2011 at 19:12 | #21

    I have got to agree that the student protest was never about democracy per se. It was self serving they were looking at their own little world and looking to improve or protect their interests. Remember to be in University in 1989 you would have been very connected to some higher ups, you would have been benefiting from the existing system with all hopes of joining that system post graduation. It was all about taking care of themselves firstly, then youthful exuberance basking in all the attention they achieved. Then the little fellows, the backstreet people copped it, as usual, while the students walked away unscathed bar one.

    Let me say it for the 15th year in a row that I have been blogging this. There was no massacre in the Square. Civilian casualties numbered in the tens not the thousands. It was not about democracy and the “Tank Man” was just a Beiinger out shopping who got fed up with the hoohaa and inconvenience.

  22. pug_ster
    June 6th, 2011 at 20:07 | #22

    ed,

    Sorry, seems that you drank the same kool aid. I don’t know how can you talk about this Western Media getting more transparent when it is not. The guy who wants more transparency who leaked this information this fake massacre is sitting in jail right now. The first somewhat official news outside of china of this massacre myth didn’t come from the Western Media, but from Japan times. You would expect that the US who knew of this myth would come clean about it but they VOA still refer this as the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/east-pacific/China-Defends-Rights-Record-Ahead-of-Tiananmen-Square-Anniversary-123093838.html?amp&amp

  23. June 6th, 2011 at 20:15 | #23

    ed,

    You seem convinced there was a massacre in Beijing on 4th June, just like up to a few years ago most Westerners were convinced there was a massacre in TAM Square.

    Can you please enlighten us with the evidence that back up your convictions that most people were killed in a massacre style rather incidental?

    How do you know you’re not falling into the same trap as most Westerners did with “hundreds thousands were machine gunned down and rolled over by tanks in their sleeps”?

    There are plenty of Chinese who lied to gain political asylums in the West 22 years ago, and I know 2 of them personally, who need to continue making up lies about China to back up their previous lies and to justify their existence in the West, and there are also plenty Westerners who are stupid and dubious enough to spread lies too.

    They can fool some people sometimes but not everyone all the time!

  24. Charles Liu
    June 6th, 2011 at 21:49 | #24

    @ed

    Hey Ed, how about this one from CNN?

    “Chinese troops opened fire on students and protesters in Tiananmen Square”

  25. raventhorn2000
    June 7th, 2011 at 05:48 | #25

    Charles Liu :@raventhorn2000
    Why should any legitmate law enforcement even need to “fight their way thru the streets”? People who fight the police ar called rioters. When rioters ignore weeklong curfue and start throwing molotov cocktails, torching police vehicle and killing unarmed soldiers, use of deadly force is justifable in any country.

    Absolutely, Charles,

    just because a bunch of rioters hold up signs of “democracy”, doesn’t mean that they can use violence to break the law.

    By definition, all rioters have some legitimate grievances (LA rioters, IMF/World Bank protest rioters, etc.). Those grievances, however, do not justify breaking of laws.

  26. raventhorn2000
    June 7th, 2011 at 06:10 | #26

    @ed

    “Are western media doing this or not? I say they are not; that myth got corrected a long time ago.”

    What is the “myth” that got corrected according to you? It seems like you are still perpetuating the myth of the “massacre”.

    “And that”s a great example — My Lai — of Americans coming clean and calling it a massacre right from the start, even though it was carried out by Americans.”

    Actually, you are WRONG. Americans called it the “My Lai Incident” right from the “start”, and didn’t come clean, not even when investigated by the House of Congress subcommittee. The subcommittee was called the “My Lai INCIDENT Subcommittee”.

    In their report in 1970, 2 years after the Massacre, they still refused to use the word “massacre” in their report.

    The subcommittee concluded that the US military imposed a “blanket of silence” to suppress reporting of the “incident”. (“come clean”, eh?)

    They also concluded that the Victims of My Lai, except for the children, were there to “aid the enemy or his cause”, defaming the Victims as Communist sympathizers partially responsible for their own massacre.

    http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/ML_investigation.html

    http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/MyLaiReport.pdf

  27. Terry Chen
    October 7th, 2011 at 09:08 | #27

    @raventhorn2000
    I fully support my government’s decision to crackdown on the protests. They would have spiralled out of control and the whole country would have been plunged into anarchy and chaos. I do not understand it when people say the CCP overreacted. While most of the protesting students were naive, they were manipulated by the student leaders who had their own personal interests at heart. Recently, one of the student leaders(I think it was Han dang) admitted to receiving $50,000 from the Taiwanese government. The protests started off with requests, but the requests developed into demands. The CCP representative who was sent to negotiate with the students was treated in a blatantly disrespectful manner. In China when you treat a leader and its government like that, its the same thing as telling them to give up power. There were only three things the CCP could have done at the time:

    1. Do nothing and just let the students stay there: The CCP did nothing for about 1-2 months and in this time period the country’s economy was at a complete standstill. If they had continued to do so it would have lead to something similar to the cultural revolution.

    2. Give in to the students demands: 99.99% of the students had no idea what democracy was and the student leaders did not have a plan on who would lead the country. Besides, the student leaders had more personal interests at heart and they had been secretly plotting with foreign forces for some time meaning that they probably did not have the country’s best interests at heart. Chaos and anarchy would reign, western powers would take advantage of the situation and China would be forced to give up more than half its land. The economic prosperity that we’ve seen ever since then would definitely not happen and the economy would probably actually go backwards. China would probably be a small, third-world country constantly bullied by western countries and its neighbors.

    3. Quell the demonstrations through force: This is what the CCP did and they did it in the most peaceful way possible. The only deaths that occurred was caused by students fighting back and it also lead to the deaths of many soldiers.

    Of the 3 choices, it seems pretty obvious to me that choice no.3 was the best choice. Many people say that Deng chose to do so because he wanted to keep his power. However, if that was the case, why did Deng resign from his position of his own accord not once, but twice? He basically had an emperor-like status and could have easily kept his power till the end of his days. It would be a simple matter for him to pass on his power to his family members when he died.

    I just happened to stumble on this video that happen to document the situation at the time. They are in Chinese or cantonese but the point this video istrying to make is obvious.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nnwLLgYX9Cs

    Honestly, come to think of it, it’s amazing that the Chinese government was able to tolerate these students for two months. Any other government would have dealt with them within the first few days.

    They should have dealt with these students within the first few days before the protests got as big as they did. Apart from that, I think they should not have censored this information. The more you hide things, the more wrong you look.

    Just thinking, what do you think the Chinese government should do regarding the 1989 tiananmen unrest? It’s unrealistic for them censoring that information forever, but at the same time its not easy to suddenly integrate this knowledge into the education system. They should never have hid the facts from the general public in the first place. It only makes them look like they were the aggressors.

  28. raventhorn2000
    October 7th, 2011 at 17:27 | #28

    I wonder what would US government say or do, if Chinese government start to hand out “food” and “aid” to the student protesters on Wall Street.

    Surely, that would be quite “humanitarian” don’t you think?

    OK, maybe it should be less formal. How about just some NGO linked to Chinese government doing a “donation drive” for the Wall Street protesters.

    Afterall, they need “tents” after their tents were taken from them!!

  29. zack
    October 7th, 2011 at 18:51 | #29

    @raventhorn2000
    The Chinese leadership in Beijing are much too polite-for their own good. THey don’t think it’s right and proper to interfere in others’ internal affairs, as sorely tempting as it would be to give the US a taste of its own medicine.

    i do wonder though, what would happen if Chinese citizens en masse decided to make a drive to support those wall street protestors.

  30. October 8th, 2011 at 09:18 | #30

    I do have to confess that when the June 4th event happened, I believed in what the western press reported, namely the PLA go in and mowed down thousands of students. I also believed in what is being claimed by the Dalai Lama, since he first came into prominence in 1989 after receiving the NPP.
    However, I was rudely tell off by my political course professors in 1990, the next year. The version of the story told by him is totally different from what is reported in the press. I finally have access to a huge library and the academic reports or book written on those subjects corresponded more closely with the Chinese authority’s version. All these were before the age of the internet. In this age I find that rumours and lies probably spread even faster than fact and truth.

    Although documentary like “Gate of Heavenly Peace” cannot be considered pro-CCP, it does give the chronicle of events on and around the square. What it doesn’t show is what happened behind the scene in the CCP in Beijing. From the little bit and pieces I have gathered over the years. It appeared that there was an impasse and confused leadership at the top. At that time the president of China was Yang Shangkun (although the post was considered ceremonial, he was the deputy chairman of the very powerful central military commission, and was a 3 star general in 1955. The PLA has not restore rank structure since its abolision during the CR). The secretary general was Zhao Ziyang, who is basically the head of government and oversee the daily running of the party, government etc (He is also the designated heir to Deng after Hu YaoBang). The premier was Li Peng, who acted as the 2nd in command to Zhao, and last but not least, Deng Xiaoping is the chairman of the central military commission.

    It is interesting to note years later that both Yang, Li were to came out to deny that they ordered troops to use force to clear the square. I still remember that it took the government 44 days to order a massive show of force. The first time troops were sent, they were ordered to jog into Beijing unarmed (not even with batons!) and exhausted, they were blocked and were sent back. The 2nd attempt came in trucks but was also blocked and sent back. Unlike the “Occupy Wall Street” movement were police was on hand to limit the movement of the protesters, the May movement of 1989 was allowed to spread into tens of thousands and over several cities with almost no intervention from the authorities! The biggest in the beginning was actually in Shanghai (no surprise since it is also the largest city). Contrary to most belief although there are mass movement like the GL and CR, rarely was security apparatus in China have had to be use against the public since 1949. The only incident I can recalled is when the crowd came in support after Deng was purged the 3rd time. It also appeared that the modus operandi of crowd control was formed in China after 1989. Basically, no public protest was allowed to spread. Yes, tens of thousands happened each year but it was always contained and not allow to expand. This is the legacy of June 4th.

    The Shanghai secretary and mayor were the first to order the police (called public security bureau then and was under the PLA) to disperse the crowd. The crowd obviously resisted and the secretary and mayor both appeared to placate the crowd and succeed in talking them to clear the square and return to their schools or work. My conclusion is that the politburo and the old revolutionaries decided that the Shanghai guys have the right stuff to be the next central leadership while Zhao has proven to be unable to handle the crisis. The Shanghai guys are Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji. The central leadership also concluded that division of power doesn’t work too well in an emergency. So subsequently, the post of secretary general of the party, the president and the chairman of the central military commission was to be held by one man. Jiang was the first to do so.

  31. xian
    October 8th, 2011 at 10:02 | #31

    @raventhorn2000
    Interesting, what would it be like if China supported elements in the US, or one of the big political parties? Seeing how polarized the US is, it might actually be easy. Most Americans can’t imagine it happening to them, yet that’s what America does in countries all over the world.

    @Terry Chen
    Good point. I don’t think all the students had selfish interests (any more than any sort of protester) or that China would’ve lost half its land, but it’s true most Chinese people had a fantastic view of democracy, and sadly many still do. They see the “freedom” and the elections, but they’ve never experienced the partisanship, the division, the deadlocks, the infighting. You just don’t know what it’s like until the day you realize half the country’s idea of progress and patriotism is anathema to yours. The CCP toughed it out, and ultimately it was the right decision.

    What is strange is how the West clings onto the Tiananmen incident. Around 3,000 people have died in Syria during the recent protests. But will Westerners remember this 20 years in the future? Will they mention it every time something happens in Syria? I doubt it. It’s not even getting much press now.

  32. raventhorn2000
    October 8th, 2011 at 10:12 | #32

    @xian

    I think some outside of US are already covertly supporting these protesters in US. It’s a matter of probabilities and temptations. US has interfere too long in other nations’ businesses. Some would obviously be tempted to seize the opportunity to sow some chaos in US.

  33. Terry Chen
    October 9th, 2011 at 01:17 | #33

    @xian

    I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea of China losing half of its land. Just look at what happened to the USSR after gorbachev foolishly did everything the west told him to do and aimed to achieve a western style form of governing.

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