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Remembering June 4th

A friend of mine who lives in Shanghai wrote a quick WeChat update today:


which roughly translates to:

“Today is June 4th. Let’s pay homage to those young Chinese who perished in the cause of freedom and democracy.”

(For an in-depth article on June 4th, read “Let’s Talk About Tiananmen Square, 1989” and in Chinese, “且谈1989年的天安门事件.”)
Many of our readers’ reaction might be: “oh no, another idealist who is sold on the ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ religion!” Not so! In fact, there are many in China who use these two terms as a way to solidify grievances they have with Chinese society. They mainly see China as more backwards compared to richer countries like the United States. When asked what China is more backwards on? Many a response come as, “we have less freedom and democracy.”

The friend who wrote the above WeChat update lives in Shanghai, drives a Land Rover, owns his own business, and has the means to enjoy almost any amenity modern China has to offer, whenever he wants. Even by American standards, I would consider him “rich.” The freedom he enjoys is immense!

He is not interested in politics. He draws a clear line between 老百姓 and 政府. To him, politics is a career and a profession for which he thinks he has no patience for.

So, then, what does it mean when someone like him says there is a lack of “freedom and democracy?”

He offered two observations:

1.) Freedom: In China, people cannot as easily pursue any profession they want.

2.) Democracy: The government is inefficient, so one must build a network of relationships to expedite things along. Corruption is rampant among the rich and powerful. More democracy addresses these problems.

With respect to the first, sure, if there aren’t enough rich Chinese collecting art, then fewer Chinese get to become successful painters. The only way for Chinese society to afford more painters or anything else, generally, China simply must become more affluent. When opportunities are abound, you can collectively dream much bigger dreams. So, freedom is mostly a function of affluence and power isn’t it?

In regards to his second observation, well, government can be inefficient in general no matter the political system.

Democracy per se does not solve corruption. If we look at the United States, lobbying is corruption, but through propaganda, the public can be trained to not see it as such. Elites in America such as Wall Street is able to get the U.S. government to bail them out with tax dollars when they fail (look up TARP), while in preceding years they as individuals made millions gambling away public funds.

Requiring the government and those in power to publicly disclose more information to the public helps. But, again, be mindful that those control the mass media can always co-opt the public. In truth, the most optimal organization is that the public and its government strike a balance, a cooperative relationship where both sides work on true ills of society to better it.

So, in response to my friends WeChat update, I said:

Agreed. Let’s not forget the young Chinese who fought for more freedom and democracy. But let’s also not forget there are those who want to undermine your society by exploiting the discontent amongst you.

Back he wrote:


Let’s remember those at the June 4th protest as mostly the ones who genuinely want a better Chinese society – not the few pimped up and highlighted in the West who wants to topple it.

Categories: Opinion, politics Tags: ,
  1. Black Pheonix
    June 4th, 2013 at 06:37 | #1

    Regarding the First (Freedom, more accurately economic opportunity and freedom), it’s also a matter of education and social support programs.

    China is still ramping up its education system to give more people better access to education, particularly higher education, as number of slots in universities are still limited, and competition for them are fierce.

    With more 2nd and 3rd tier universities, private universities, and vocational and technical schools opening up, people are more able to access alternative training and pursue their desired professions.

    Regarding the Second (Democracy, curbing government inefficiencies), I think inefficiency is inevitable in all governments, and more so in very large governments for large populations.

    1.3 billion Chinese all want government to provide services and help them with aid.

    There is always a waiting line, and always priorities.

    As long as the waiting line is moving, it’s rather pointless to bicker and complain about when someone gets approval to cut the line.

    Take even US airports with sometimes ridiculously LONG lines for security checks, you know what they started doing recently??

    You can PAY extra to skip the line (or more accurately, pay more to go to a shorter line)!!!

    Yeah, nobody likes waiting in lines, for any thing.

    But there is a LINE (system), and you may not like how the LINE (system) works with its “corrupt” rules, but respect the LINE (system).

    *But if you get whiny and do a “sit-in protest” to disrupt the LINE, you are just making it worse for EVERYONE!

    (Yes, I’m comparing Protesters to “line disruptors”).

  2. Charles Liu
    June 4th, 2013 at 10:06 | #2

    Well, now that we have the Arab Spring in the rearview mirror, what hindsight is there? How about the Color Revolutions that preceded in Eastern Europe? Is there any pattern and connections between all these events? Here’s a Google:


    Col. Helvey was a long time DIA foreign operative in Asia, and there is really little wonder what he was doing in Hong Kong training the Tiananmen student protesters under the guise of “civil society” thru a US government funded group, Albert Einstein Institute:


    Einstein Institute’s founder, Gene Sharp, preaches the virtue of “non-violent struggle” as a form of political action. In reality it is to replace the covert CIA regime change operations of the past, costly in many respects including money and American lives.

    Sharp aims to exploit the passion and naivete of the young people to escalate violence, in the name of “non-violence”. By eroding law and order, destabilizing functioning society, and finally weaken sovereignty and political independence. Thru this “kill with a borrowed knife” type asymmetric warfare to push regime change that in the end imposes the same horror of statelessness onto the populace.

    So, to borrow a phrase from some well-known China hand – in retrospect would this have been in China’s best interest?

  3. Black Pheonix
    June 4th, 2013 at 10:58 | #3

    Don’t speak too soon.

    Turkey is going through the end tail effect of the Arab Spring.

  4. Charles Liu
    June 4th, 2013 at 16:18 | #4

    Don’t worry, our military bases will make sure Turkey doesn’t get Egypted or Libya’d, Syria’d.

  5. pug_ster
    June 4th, 2013 at 16:36 | #5

    I do think the Chinese government’s censorship work against them on this one. Western fodder morons keep misinforming people about this incident and the Chinese government has to put a stop on this. I do think the Chinese government should build up some kind of monument in the Muxidi area to commemorate the lives lost (protesters and soldiers) on that faithful day. Otherwise, western propaganda will always make up stories of what happened on that day.

  6. Black Pheonix
    June 4th, 2013 at 18:48 | #6


    I don’t think the Chinese government want to encourage exhaustive debates over old internal conflicts. Not for Cultural Revolution, not for TAM.

    Such debates just get heated (into hot air) and goes no where.

    It’s counter productive to say the least, and disruption of the real political process.

    I agree with their current approach, (1) state their position, (2) end of the pointless debates, (3) if necessarily, ignore the trolls begging for attention.

    That’s how we deal with trolls in sensibly moderated public forums.

  7. James
    June 4th, 2013 at 20:45 | #7

    Delicate situation, this 6.4 anniversary. At first I thought of it as a PR problem. If Western journalists and sycophants are celebrating the protestors as Solidarność-style revolutionaries, and Chinese media is not discussing it at all, then Western media wins by default. Why couldn’t we simply redefine the meaning of 6.4, in the way that “Tibetan Uprising Day” was semi-successfully rebranded in 2009 as “Serfs Liberation Day”?

    But then I thought of another analogy, the “228 Incident” in Taiwan. The “protestors” in that case definitely aimed to overthrow the government, but their intent doesn’t matter in how we remember them. Good civilians; bad military. If you repent and acknowledge perpetrating a “massacre”, then your ideology is discredited forever. Since the Guomindang’s efforts at “reconciliation” with the 228 veterans, Chinese reunificationism is basically dead on Taiwan; a limp corpse held up by the cocked barrel of a CCP gun. The day that the Party apologizes for 6.4 is the day that the Party falls from power.

    By the way, in case anybody was confused about whether Westerners celebrating 6.4 genuinely care about China’s people, we have a great satirical answer in the form of Tom Grundy’s “Hong Wrong” blog. After Xi Jinping apologizes for a “brutal massacre”, establishes a victim’s fund, and erects a “goddess of democracy” memorial in Tiananmen Square, the following wish-list unfolds:

    As part of a new 5-year plan of social reform, China will also free Tibet, East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia, grant Hong Kong universal suffrage, hand disputed islands in the South China sea over to the Philippines and the Senkaku Islands to Japan, end claims to Taiwan, sever relations with the DPRK, lift all censorship, close black jails and labour camps, enact the rule of law and freedom of expression, the press and religion, approve gay marriage, rehabilitate the Falun Gong, ban shark fin soup, introduce full democracy and offer crash courses in etiquette to tourist groups before they go abroad.

    Notice how much of that list involves either (a) China ceding territory to foreign countries or altering the direction of its diplomacy, with no conceivable benefit to its own citizens; or (b) China enacting social reforms that primarily benefit foreigners. Would the Tiananmen students have wanted these “reforms”? This bullshit fantasy is what YinYang means by “those who want to undermine your society by exploiting the discontent amongst you.”

    @Charles Liu
    Roflmao. I think “Libya’d” is my favorite verb now.

  8. June 5th, 2013 at 01:52 | #8

    Li Ao’s analysis TAM is quite good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xog-zxf5nGA

    Isn’t it unreal that the Chinese are attracting so much criticism for not lining up properly (wrt to the latest comments on the “What’s Wrong with China” post) and the TAM fiasco 24 years ago, from a country that has killed more than one million Iraqis unprovoked?

  9. pug_ster
    June 5th, 2013 at 03:01 | #9

    @Black Pheonix

    I disagree. Chinese people are going to talk about it regardless, however censorship may mislead people that there is some kind of cover up and in many cases it is worse than the truth itself. In the 2 cases where the Chinese government decides to be more transparent was the Lhasa attacks in March 2008 and Urumqi attacks at July 2009. If the Chinese government censor those 2 events, the Western propaganda will make speculations that Chinese government is at fault and many Chinese will question if Chinese are at fault because of censorship. Because the way Chinese media open about these 2 events, there is little discussion of who are at fault here.

  10. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 06:31 | #10


    Sure, sensible people can talk about any thing among themselves. That’s not the same as propaganda in public forum.

    “Because the way Chinese media open about these 2 events, there is little discussion of who are at fault here.”

    Depends who you are talking to. Some people still won’t be satisfied.

    There is just no pleasing some, (well, because they are trollish, with their own set agendas).

    In any case, the accusation of “coverup” on TAM is already there, for years. “Opening up” about it just creates the illusion of admission of guilt.

    Thus, even if “opened up” about TAM, the TRUTH still don’t matter. the Accusations will still continue (only get louder).

  11. Hong Konger
    June 5th, 2013 at 08:23 | #11

    I agree with pug_ster.

    First of all, the big deal is being made in other Chinese communities and other Chinese or Asian press, not the West. There were 100,000 protesters in Hong Kong – plus smaller memorials in Taiwan, Macau, etc – but nothing close to that in the West. I know one of the focuses of this blog is the Western media — but the Asian media is just as critical of China sometimes, and probably more influential when it comes to the average Chinese person.

    Black Phoenix – The Chinese government is not “stating its position.” It’s not stating anything, which is the problem.

    Basically the whole Internet goes down from ate May to early June. Whether it is a big cover-up or not, it LOOKS like a big cover-up. If you’re searching for an address at 64 Pudong Road, you’re blocked. If you’re looking for the bus route to Tiananmen Square, you’re blocked. SMS, tablets, email, Weibo, everything is disrupted — super slow, weird error messages everywhere. This makes people super suspicious – and just drives everyone to their proxies and VPNs to read what the outside media is saying about “June 4.”

    100,000 people marched – and there was not one peep from the state media. I’m not saying if those marchers were right or wrong. But if they were wrong, not one newspaper, TV station, website or anything from Beijing / the mainland came out to explain their side of the story.

    From a pure news sense of view, ignoring giant protests year after year just makes Beijing look ridiculous.

    On the newsstand this morning every publication — from foreign to local, from right-wing to left-wing, from pro-government to anti-government, had some photo or headline about the vigil.

    But China Daily had literally not a word. They had stories about Costa Rican relations, a minor adjustment in local subway fares, a vague story saying Hong Kongers were “unhappy” (but not saying what about), even a criticism of “Occupy” protests here (which ended months ago). And this “non-news” — when an entire commercial district was overtaken by protests — just screamed cover-up. It’s a missed opportunity if Beijing actually does want to set its position straight.

    Pug_ster is right — why not just set up a memorial for both troops and students? Beijing has admitted in the past that both died. It would appease and quiet many local critics among the general population.

    In many ways, the 24 years of cover-up has become the main story.

  12. June 5th, 2013 at 08:46 | #12

    here’s one way to gain more trust from the ccp and maybe even induce them to relax their censorship on viewing foreign media: stop lying about 6/4 (among other China related things). allow for some alternative voices. report accurately. the western media should be doing this anyway.

  13. Charles Liu
    June 5th, 2013 at 09:07 | #13

    @Hong Konger ” It’s not stating anything, which is the problem.”

    HKer, I haven’t see my government stating anything about Kent State Massacre (something that actully killed peaceful protesters, on university grounds) for many years.

  14. Hong Konger
    June 5th, 2013 at 09:22 | #14

    Charles — We’re back to that old bugbear – pointing out some foreign example to try to excuse what is a domestic Chinese problem.

    I remember reading about Kent State in my US high school textbook, complete with the famous photo. That was in the 90s, 20+ years after it happened — and the death toll was 4, not hundreds.

    I just logged onto its entry in Wikipedia. Kent State shooting is there for anyone who wants to read about it. Anyone who wants to hold a memorial is free to do so. They probably don’t because the US media reported it right away, and it’s now faded into history. It hasn’t become a cover-up or conspiracy that just keeps growing and growing.

    If you wanted to, you could light a candle on Kent State campus, write a blog post, visit a dead relative’s grave — but you couldn’t do that for a 6/4 victim anywhere on the mainland, even if your relative was a fallen troop.

    6/4 is blocked, blocked, blocked — and relatives are still harassed and held in house arrest today for mentioning it. That is why there is so much June 4 protest and criticism of it in greater China. The part that everyone sees, of course, is what is outside mainland media control. But there are plenty of less obvious memorials happening understand all over China – they are growing, and growing angrier, every year. The faster the government just addresses this issue somehow, the better.

    I have a friend who calls himself a “card-carrying Party member” in Beijing. And even he says the state media should just say something, even if it’s to refute the protests.

    His theory is that, with all the various leadership changes in Beijing, nobody wants this can of worms to open on “his shift,” so to speak. He thinks the cover-up is mostly due to leaders trying to protect themselves so they’re not seen as the “bad guy” after 24 years.

    I don’t know if I will ever see the day when 6/4 is mentioned in a high school textbook on the mainland, or if its Wikipedia page will ever be unblocked.

  15. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 09:42 | #15

    @Hong Konger

    A Gallup Poll taken immediately after the shootings showed that 58 percent of respondents blamed the students, 11 percent blamed the National Guard and 31 percent expressed no opinion.[37]

    On May 14, ten days after the Kent State shootings, two black students were killed (and 12 wounded) by police at Jackson State University under similar circumstances – the Jackson State killings – but that event did not arouse the same nationwide attention as the Kent State shootings.[38]

    On June 13, 1970, as a consequence of the killings of protesting students at Kent State and Jackson State, President Nixon established the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest, known as the Scranton Commission, which he charged to study the dissent, disorder, and violence breaking out on college and university campuses across the nation.[39][40]

    In September 1970, twenty-four students and one faculty member were indicted on charges connected with the May 4 demonstration at the ROTC building fire three days before. These individuals, who had been identified from photographs, became known as the “Kent 25.” Five cases, all related to the burning of the ROTC building, went to trial; one non-student defendant was convicted on one charge and two other non-students pleaded guilty. One other defendant was acquitted, and charges were dismissed against the last. In December 1971, all charges against the remaining twenty were dismissed for lack of evidence.[41][42]

    Eight of the guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury. The guardsmen claimed to have fired in self-defense, a claim that was generally accepted by the criminal justice system. In 1974 U.S. District Judge Frank Battisti dismissed charges against all eight on the basis that the prosecution’s case was too weak to warrant a trial.[7]

    “Black Phoenix – The Chinese government is not “stating its position.” It’s not stating anything, which is the problem.”

    I think you were listening at all. How many times does a government have to repeat its rightful position to enforce the “rule of law” when it comes to protests??

    Have you been just covering your ears and shouting “LALALALA….”

    Seriously, you think the Chinese government have said nothing about its position on TAM for the last 24 years???!!

  16. Hong Konger
    June 5th, 2013 at 09:45 | #16

    @melektaus They’re not just censoring foreign media. The main problem is that they are censoring their own media, whether it’s the official state papers, private magazines and journals, or casual social media. There are no voices, alternative or otherwise, anywhere in mainland China, since nobody is allowed to mention this incident at all. Even the offical obituary of Chen Xitong in all the state media leaves out the entire year of 1989, probably one of the most imporant in his political life. This is why the state media has no legitimacy – because Chinese people are smarter than that.

    The Western coverage is actually not too different from even very local Chinese-language Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc, media. Even states that China considers allies, like Singapore, write freely about June 4 and the annual vigils. The Straits Times, no friend of the West, called it a “brutal military intervention” today.

    Beijing’s just blocking all of it across the board. There is no way the Party will ever win people’s confidence back on this issue with this technique — not in the Internet age, not with millions of Chinese flying regularly to cities like HK, Singapore, Taipei, etc, for vacations and business.

  17. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 09:53 | #17

    @Hong Konger

    “If you wanted to, you could light a candle on Kent State campus, write a blog post, visit a dead relative’s grave — but you couldn’t do that for a 6/4 victim anywhere on the mainland, even if your relative was a fallen troop.”

    Er… I think you can visit dead relative’s grave in mainland China, even for a 6/4 protesters. (in fact, I think the fallen troops’ family probably do it quite often). You just can’t turn it into a media circus.

    For manners reference, we Chinese should honor the dead, we don’t turn them into political side shows.

    If HK people want to do that, they can go at it. But “freedom” won’t be legitimized merely by carrying bonfires for other people’s dead. It just makes you look as ridiculous as other politically charged “funeral processions”.

  18. pug_ster
    June 5th, 2013 at 09:57 | #18

    @Black Pheonix

    It is mostly these people in East Turkestan and Dharmsalia who are making these ridiculous stories about what happened in in those events and there’s nothing you can do about it. The point is that Western governments, China blogs, and the Media are mostly silent about these issues, unlike what happened at 6/4.

    I am not saying that the Chinese media should make a 2 hour special about what happened on that day. The Chinese government should make a memorial, that people protested because of the ‘shock doctrine’ type of capitalism policies caused people to protest (and not fake western democracy.) Protesters and soldiers acted badly causing this incident to happen. Of course, western propagandists will keep question Chinese government officials about ”the fight for democracy amongst the Chinese,’ and the Chinese government can keep referring what they have said about the cause of the protests are mostly economic and not political.

  19. Hong Konger
    June 5th, 2013 at 10:08 | #19

    @Black Pheonix I don’t want to get into some endless blog debate here. But if you think people can mourn freely on the mainland, just look up the Tiananmen Mothers. OK, maybe some can sneak out to a grave. But it’s clear to everyone – even those in government here – that just about all information and memorials are blocked.

    While there was some initial reportage in 89, the Chinese government has said very little about TAM since then to its own people.

  20. Hong Konger
    June 5th, 2013 at 10:12 | #20

    @Black Pheonix It’s not just HK people. There are more and more mainland mourners every year at the vigil, as the border opens. Some are mainland migrants who live here, others are visitors, business people, exchange students. Some cross the border specifically for the vigil – others happen to be here for other reasons, but are drawn by curiosity or sympathy. There is much more Putonghua spoken in the crowd, even if the mainland Chinese tend to be quieter than their HK counterparts. (Many worry, rightly, that there will be retribution back home)

    As I said, many more unreported private memorials are held in China – just not in the public eye where participants will be arrested or beaten.

    If people want to mourn, let them mourn. If they want to ask questions, let them ask questions. If someone wants to put up a simple memorial, as Pugster suggested, why not let them? Even many elderly Chinese officials now are calling for greater openness.

  21. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 10:28 | #21

    @Hong Konger

    “While there was some initial reportage in 89, the Chinese government has said very little about TAM since then to its own people.”

    Well that conflicts with your earlier assertion about the Chinese government stating no positions, doesn’t it?

    “As I said, many more unreported private memorials are held in China – just not in the public eye where participants will be arrested or beaten.”

    Well, that kinda conflicts with your other assertion where they can’t do that in China.

    And “blog debates” are what we are here for.

    Your generalizations and your conflicting assertions on the other hand, we are NOT here for.

  22. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 10:31 | #22

    @Hong Konger

    “If people want to mourn, let them mourn. If they want to ask questions, let them ask questions. If someone wants to put up a simple memorial, as Pugster suggested, why not let them? Even many elderly Chinese officials now are calling for greater openness.”

    Who said they are not allowed to “mourn” or “ask questions”?

    Asking questions doesn’t guarantee answers, especially when you are not prepared to hear the answers.

    And speaking “excuses”, just because some places let you do certain things, it is no “excuse” to violate laws.

  23. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 10:43 | #23

    @Hong Konger

    “While there was some initial reportage in 89, the Chinese government has said very little about TAM since then to its own people.”

    By your logic, no one (in the world) has said anything about TAM since 89, since it just pretty much all REPEATING of assertions and questions.

    Talk about an “endless debate”??

    Why do you want to drag all of China into it?? (when you don’t want to get into even 1 on a blog)??

  24. Sleeper
    June 5th, 2013 at 11:18 | #24

    Sometimes I wonder when the Chinese government can offer a clear report for this incident.

    64 incident had already not only been a domestic conflict in China, but also a symbol of “brutality of CCP’s tule” to the world. I don’t think time can calm everything down. Because no matter how great achievements Chinese government had made, the critic can always bit Chinese government by digging out 64 incident or even older stuff, CR.

    We have been talking about lies about 64 incidents told by western media, while all truths we have found out will be, partly “useless” unless Chinese government provides the similar truths as ours.

    I don’t know what kinds of stratergies the government is planning to solve this loose end. I can only indicate that Chinese government must retake the initiative of debate of the incident, if they want to gain more positive images for China.

  25. Black Pheonix
    June 5th, 2013 at 12:02 | #25


    I don’t think any government officials really care to explain their actions (other to get a promotion).

    And really, the Chinese government officials’ current priorities are to justify their jobs and continued promotions, by only “economic development”, because that’s what people really want and demand.

    Guys like Xi (or any other leaders) can explain TAM all they want, if they don’t create economic development, more jobs, more technology for China, they won’t last in the competition within CCP.

    Think about it this way, the CCP members know well enough, that if they GAVE EVERY THING that the critics really wanted, “democracy”, “freedom”, etc., it would do nothing for their political careers, and cause only more mess, MORE “endless debates”.

    They might as well just throw up their hands and say, “OK, Democracy experts, you can have another TAM protest, to make up for the last one. Only this time, you get to drag our careers through your bon fire of destroyed tanks and buses. And here are the bullets to shoot back at us.”

    US politicians cater to the extremist faction views, only when it gets them more votes. CCP politicians do similar.

    *I can see perhaps 1 day, some CCP leadership may decide that it would gain them political clout domestically for “openness”. But not today, because Chinese people know that “open politicians” are just slightly better liars.

    And when that day comes that “openness” becomes important for political clout in China, I fear for the Chinese people, for they would have lost their priorities, shifting preferences from the practical to caring about meaningless BS.

    In a true “democracy”, (even in the days of the Greeks, the original “democracy”), every one lies in the “openness”.

    Where do you think the Stereotypical terms for the “West” vs. the “East” came from? Originally, the Greeks, out to demonize the Persians.

    The art of lying becomes refined and subtle in the “openness” of the practice of lies, in distortions, logical fallacies, and stereotypes.

    For me, (to take my earlier Girl Scout story and borrow it for analogy), I don’t want some kids dressed up in uniforms to SELL me cookies for higher prices, for the “good cause”. That’s just a LIE, designed to trick me into buying things I don’t need.

    If I want cookies, I’ll go find the good ones I like in the stores for the cheapest prices I can find. That’s a REAL choice.

    I certainly do not want politicians and government officials to “sell” me things to make me feel good. I just want them to do their jobs, and I’ll judge them for the results for myself.

  26. Charles Liu
    June 5th, 2013 at 15:17 | #26


    Sleeper, seems the Chinese government has made a clear report, just not one you or Hong Konger or rested of the biased western media is willing to accept.

    Didn’t the Chinese government release casualty figure (was actually in-line with our own NSA intel), both solders and rioters died (is violent protest an intrinsic human rights?), and the student protest was counter revolutionary.

    To me the Chinese government verdict is more true than the now exposed “tank crushing student”, “troops burning body”, “peaceful protesters slaughtered” western media lies – lies that continue to be perpetuated today.

    Allow me to paraphrase GW Bush, former president of the US and leader of the free world – the Chinese government is the “decider” of China’s political affairs.

    @ Hong Konger, try to check FBI document, Kent State is not a massacre, but an “shooting incident”:


  27. Wahaha
    June 5th, 2013 at 17:42 | #27

    They’re not just censoring foreign media. The main problem is that they are censoring their own media, whether it’s the official state papers, private magazines and journals, or casual social media.

    I just logged onto its entry in Wikipedia. Kent State shooting is there for anyone who wants to read about it.

    In China, government controls what information people can access.

    In “free” world, media controls 99.9% of information, therefore no need to censor.

    Actually, China has more freedom of speech than people in “free” world, because voices disliked by top 1% are well aware by public; in “free” world, voices disliked by top 1% and THEIR media never get public attentions.

    The information available on internet is irrelevant in “free” world, because “free-thinking” people never bother to search them, and such information never become public topic, they only talk what “free” media want them to talk, they never say anything “free” media doesn’t like.

    About 6.4, media and journalists want to make it a topic, therefore public care. About Kent State shooting, media and journalists don’t care, therefore public don’t care. LIke tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong live in cages. Had it been in mainland, media and journalists wouldve made it a daily topic, but in Hong kong, no media and journalists care, hence no body care.

    For examples, in West, no media talk about the serious corruptions, it was even mentioned in Oscar, but as the rich-own media keeps such issue from public attentions, people in West never care about the corruptions.

  28. N.M.Cheung
    June 5th, 2013 at 17:45 | #28

    The question of TAM incident is very complicated. It involved all Chinese leadership and can’t be easily tackled. I think like some memoirs that stipulate that it won’t be opened for 50 years after the death of the author, so all people mentioned would have passed away and only history remain. I think China shouldn’t make special effort to block TAM, since most Chinese I have contacted in China are aware of TAM. Let it gradually seep into mass media. As for full debate or fault finding let’s wait another 26 years.

  29. Wahaha
    June 5th, 2013 at 17:47 | #29

    To Hong Konger:

    If you had followed the president election in USA, If you had paid attention, you would have seen that:

    Before election night, no media talked about fiscal cliff, not even in president debate. if you check internet, you will find no Americans cared about fiscal cliff.

    Then right at the election day, media started talking about fiscal cliff, one article after another. You know what? every American on political forums talked about fiscal cliff.

    That, is how badly “free” media controls “free” thinking people.

  30. Wahaha
    June 5th, 2013 at 18:01 | #30

    I think China shouldn’t make special effort to block TAM, since most Chinese I have contacted in China are aware of TAM. Let it gradually seep into mass media. As for full debate or fault finding let’s wait another 26 years.

    It is about controlling public opinions. I said in previous post : people care ONLY AND ONLY IF media cares, UNLESS they are cornered by economic issues. Most Media doesn’t give a damn about TAM unless it serves their political goals, that is why no “free” media cares Kent killing.

    There are only two entities that can control public information and opinions : state (through control of media) vs media.

    If you look at the miseries caused by human in last 100 years, in all case, state controlled 99.9% of public information and opinions

    Now in “free” world, it is media and journalists who control 99.9% of public information and opinions, they led people to believe “government is my b1tch” and “why has the b1tch not delivered yet?” Result : paralyzed governments.

    Therefore, neither state nor media should be allowed to have monopoly of public information and opinions.

    Actually, no country can afford letting government being treated like a sh!t.

    The freedom of speech by “free” media means letting them control 99.9% of public information and opinions. Look at Li Dapeng, he complains lack of free speech while publish his books. What he want? his opinions dominate public opinions.

  31. N.M.Cheung
    June 5th, 2013 at 19:03 | #31

    I think the article by Robert Lawrence Kuhn in yesterday’s NYT about China Dreams is must read for those interested in China. I pasted it below.

    BEIJING — What to make of Xi Jinping, China’s new senior leader, who holds his first summit meeting this week with President Barack Obama?

    Related News

    Chinese President to Seek New Relationship With U.S. in Talks (May 29, 2013)

    Times Topic: Xi Jinping

    Related in Opinion

    Opinion: How to Play Well With China (June 2, 2013)

    The hope is that Xi is a reformer who will guide China through domestic transformation and to responsible statecraft. The fear is that Xi is a nationalist, who has set China on an aggressive course of bullying its neighbors and confronting the United States.

    The fear seems not unfounded. China has intensified its territorial claims, from island disputes with Japan to vast areas of the South China Sea.

    Xi frequently inspects People’s Liberation Army forces, especially naval fleets, exhorting China’s military to “get ready to fight and to win wars” and “to win regional warfare under I.T.-oriented conditions.”

    Xi holds China’s top three positions: head of the ruling Communist Party of China, head of state, and, as chairman of the Central Military Commission, head of the military. He will likely lead China for a decade.

    Just after becoming party chief in late 2012, Xi announced what would become the hallmark of his administration. “The Chinese Dream,” he said, is “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

    Xi’s Chinese Dream is described as achieving the “Two 100s”: the material goal of China becoming a “moderately well-off society” by about 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and the modernization goal of China becoming a fully developed nation by about 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic.

    The Chinese Dream has four parts: Strong China (economically, politically, diplomatically, scientifically, militarily); Civilized China (equity and fairness, rich culture, high morals); Harmonious China (amity among social classes); Beautiful China (healthy environment, low pollution).

    “A moderately well-off society” is where all citizens, rural and urban, enjoy high standards of living. This includes doubling the 2010 G.D.P. per capita (approaching $10,000 per person) by about 2020 and completing urbanization (roughly one billion people, 70 percent of China’s population) by about 2030.

    “Modernization” means China regaining its position as a world leader in science and technology as well as in economics and business; the resurgence of Chinese civilization, culture and military might; and China participating actively in all areas of human endeavor.

    If Xi’s nationalism seems at odds with these grand goals, it is not. Here are six reasons why:

    • Need to consolidate power. Xi was not selected by Deng Xiaoping, the architect of reform, as were his predecessors (Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao), and he was not elected by the people. Conventional wisdom had it that Xi would be a weak leader. In order to realize his Chinese Dream, Xi needs to assert strength and assure control. So far, he has exceeded expectations.

    • Need to enable reform. Xi and Premier Li Keqiang are determined to enact far-reaching economic reforms, the most extensive in 15 years, but there is stiff resistance from those whose dominance would be diminished and benefits cut (such as state-owned enterprises with ties to party power).

    This resistance can no longer be couched credibly in terms of ideology, so it appeals to nationalistic aspirations by accusing reformers of “worshipping Western ways,” “glorifying Western models” or “caving in to Western pressures.” Xi’s proactive nationalism is a strategy of “offense is the best defense” — an inoculation, as it were, against the political virus of being labeled “soft” or “pro-Western.”

    Reformers in China are generally associated with pro-American attitudes and thus subject to fierce public criticism. By establishing himself as a nationalist operating independently of the United States (his first foreign trip was to Russia), Xi is able to secure economic reforms by distinguishing them from serving Western/American interests.

    • Need to legitimze one-party rule. To perpetuate its rule (which China’s top leaders truly believe is essential for the well-being of the country), the Chinese Communist Party has constructed a grand narrative that is founded on three critical claims: Only the Communist Party can continue to improve citizen’s standard of living (and ameliorate severe social and economic disparities); only the party can maintain a stable, unified country and construct a happy, harmonious society; and only the party can effect the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” which stresses a firm command of “core interests” (i.e., sovereignty and territoriality) and increasing global respect.

    • Maintain stability through unity. China faces numerous internal tensions, especially a class-divided populace (rich-poor, urban-rural, coastal-inland) that have erupted within one generation. Moreover, an increasingly complex society can fracture along multiple fault lines. Pollution, corruption, healthcare, housing, migrant workers, workers’ wages, social cynicism, changing values, among other raging issues, threaten to fragment society — and all are exacerbated by an energetic social media. Only nationalism, which resonates intrinsically and passionately across Chinese society, can provide sufficiently strong social glue.

    • Differentiate from predecessors. Top Chinese leaders must combine historical continuity with their own distinguishing theories and practices. How shall Xi fare?

    Economic growth rates must decline, and a host of domestic tensions (or crises) are coming his way, such as public anger at corruption and resistance to pollution. Hence another rationale for nationalism.

    In the past, nationalistic surges were triggered largely by external events (such as NATO‘s accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999). Xi is putting nationalism at the core of his leadership — his nationalism is proactive, riding the high road of patriotism and pride.

    • Personal beliefs. Xi has deep-seated patriotic convictions, the product of family, life and career. His father, Xi Zhongxun, was a founder of the new China and a leading reformer under Deng Xiaoping. In 2006, when Xi Jinping was party secretary of Zhejiang Province, he told me about Chinese pride and patriotism as motivating China’s historic resurgence — words remarkably similar to his recent pronouncements.

    So is Xi a reformer? A nationalist? The answer is that he is both, because only by being a nationalist can he be a reformer. American policy makers must understand Xi’s nationalism so that when the reigning superpower meets the rising superpower, both can benefit.

    Robert Lawrence Kuhn is an international investment banker and the author, most recently, of “How China’s Leaders Think: The Inside Story of China’s Reform and What This Means for the Future.”


  32. dancingfrogs
    June 5th, 2013 at 19:52 | #32



    you made a good point and I agree with you for the most part. However I think in the west, particularly the US, the media is largely controlled by the government in such a sophisticated manners that the public simply can not recognize it at all.

  33. Wahaha
    June 5th, 2013 at 20:14 | #33


    Thanks for replying. Here is how top 1% are well protected by THEIR media.

    Assume you are a billionaire and own a TV station, and I am a billionaire and own TV station too.

    Will I allow my TV station exposing the dirty secrets of yours? no, I won’t. Because if I do, you will expose my secrets for revenge.

    Therefore, though those TV stations are owned by different groups of people from banks, oil companies, chemicals, etc, top 1% in West are well protected by owning the media. You are free to treat government like a bitch, but leave the top 1% alone. Do you notice that “free” media only goes after those bribed, never after those who bribe?

    Here is a link, you will see how top 1% control public information and opinions:



    Full Show: Big Media’s Power Play

    December 7, 2012

    In 1983, 50 corporations controlled a majority of American media. Now that number is six. And Big Media may get even bigger, thanks to the FCC’s consideration of ending a rule preventing companies from owning a newspaper and radio and TV stations in the same city. Such a move — which they’ve tried in 2003 and 2007 as well –would give these massive media companies free rein to devour more of the competition, control the public message, and also limit diversity across the media landscape. Bernie Sanders, one of several Senators who have written FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to suspend the plan, discusses with Bill why Big Media is a threat to democracy, and what citizens can do to fight back.

  34. Wahaha
    June 5th, 2013 at 20:18 | #34

    Here is a link from which you can see how the rich control government.

    American people are completely ignorant about this while talking about freedom of speech, …. and it is on internet.


    Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream



  35. June 5th, 2013 at 21:09 | #35

    I don’t think Hong Konger is talking about people can mourn or debate “freely” in Mainland. Hong Konger is more interested in parroting the Western media narrative into the Chinese audience. China is not going to allow that. Not a fat chance.

  36. June 5th, 2013 at 21:10 | #36

    Just as none of the Western media will allow the truthful narrative on 6.4.

    So, someone has to come off the high horse.

  37. pug_ster
    June 5th, 2013 at 22:20 | #37

    The problem in Hong Kong is that maggots from the Pro-Democracy Camp take advantage of this censorship in China and people in there learn the wrong side of the story. Former ‘student leaders’ like Chai Ling and Wang Dan come to Hong Kong take advantage of this situation and treated like Rockstars when they should be rotting in jail a long time ago. As I said, censorship is counterproductive and China should tell their side of the story. Only then, thugs like them would be booed out of Hong Kong.

  38. June 5th, 2013 at 23:58 | #38


    Ha! It’s interesting to observe how they call Xi a “nationalist”, as if it is something that they should watch out for. Ugh, I know that modern politics have started to produce national presidents (mostly in Democratic puppet states) who are more loyal to American global objectives than their own national interests. Thankfully, that has not happened in China yet, and hopefully never will. I think it is nearly rude, and certainly fatuously redundant, to describe the head of any foreign (independent) county as being “nationalistic”; but I know that in practice, the Free Press have enough brainwashing power to gradually turn that into an insult. Being “nationalistic and patriotic” is only a good thing if one is American. Otherwise, it sounds ominously like a tiny step from fanaticism, so, beware.

  39. Black Pheonix
    June 6th, 2013 at 07:26 | #39


    History is full of “maggots” taking advantage of their time.

    It doesn’t matter how many rise, they inevitably fall, and go down in history “stinking up their names”.

    I don’t think the Government needs to waste their time pursuing “good names” for themselves. That’s not a priority, nor should it be.

  40. Sigmar
    June 6th, 2013 at 09:36 | #40

    The Tiananmen Crackdown should not be mentioned in the same breath as the Kent State Massacre. For one, how many national guards were immolated alive by the Kent State University students? Contrast this to the actions of the student “activists” in Tiananmen, who had no qualms in snuffing out the lives of other people. Their behaviour showed them to be armed insurgents, and they were dealt with accordingly. Deng Xiaoping made the right call to put an end to the unrest. His action paved the way for China’s stable economic development for the next 24 years. Contrast China’s fortune to that of the former USSR, whose Chairman Gorbachev was present in Beijing in those troubled times, and who had a hand in dissolving the Soviet Union under American pressure. History has validated Deng.

  41. aquadraht
    June 6th, 2013 at 10:29 | #41

    Telling about free speech in the West, I want to contribute a little example concerning TV coverage of liusi in German TV news “tagesschau” with a “report” about the “24. anniversary of Tiananmen massacre”. The coverage contained some factual errors and repeated the narrative of peaceful demonstrations brutally crushed. I wrote a comment on their website meta.tagesschau.de pointing at the factual errors, namely the untruthful assertion of a massacre on Tiananmen Guangchang. As expected, the note was not published.

    Clearly, it is possible to publish in Internet forums, social media etc. in the West without such censorship, yet one can be sure that such will be ignored by most of the public. This is the core of western “freedom of speech”, making dissenters feel to be powerless against mainstream media. Under some respect this is not much better than censorship if at all.

    Anyway I tend to agree to pug_ster that the western and right wing liusi propaganda should be countered by Chinese media and the communist party. In fact, there are enough good reasons to defend the decision of Deng Xiaoping to dissolve the demonstrations in the center of Beijing, and things turned violent by the actions of violent rioters.

    Much more, the example of the downfall of the USSR shows what China would have had to expect from a downfall of the CCP rule. In the former USSR, millions of people perished during the “reforms” of Yeltsin and Gaidar in the 1990s due to violence, hunger, freezing, lack of medical care , economic output dropped to the state of 1964, income dropped even deeper. The nightmare only ended when Putin took power and restored sovereignty of the Russian Federation against the oligarchs and their western allies.

    I therefore think that the CCP would not have much to fear from discussions about liusi. I understand that they don’t like to mention the power struggle inside the politbureau, yet just suppressing discussions only makes them defenseless against dishonest propaganda in the West.

  42. Black Pheonix
    June 6th, 2013 at 10:33 | #42


    Well actually, twenty-four students and one faculty member were indicted on charges connected with the May 4 demonstration at the ROTC building fire three days before the Kent State shooting.

    It is therefore somewhat arguable, whether some of the students at Kent State had violent intent.

    Of course, the minute they see rifles, they probably put away any thought of violence.

    On that note, the Chinese government in its early response, was perhaps too gentle: They agreed to talks with the Student leaders, almost pleading with them to go home, and then they sent in PLA soldiers UNARMED (who promptly got beaten up or forced back out).

    Kent State: 3 days after a fire, they send in ARMED soldiers. NO talks. Start shooting.

    TAM: more than 1 month, talks, talks, pleading, UNARMED soldiers, and then finally no choice, ARMED soldiers.

    Sometimes, it is better if “show of force” is made EARLY to enforce the peace. I.e. you don’t send a preacher into a drunken brawl, you send a sheriff.

    I think in retrospect, the Chinese government did delay and held off force too long.

    If they started lining up the perimeter of TAM with lines of ARMED soldiers in the 1st week, (as they pretty much did in Kent State), there would have been FAR fewer students staying or joining in. Most would have scattered in 1 week. And they could have cut off all supplies into TAM.

    In such a case, they might NOT have to even used force.

    But instead, they took too long, and the protesters at TAM had time to gather, organize, get supplies. Longer it went on, they just became more ardent and more resolved and more extreme.

    *Nowadays, the Chinese government learned their lesson.

    The minute they anticipated some “jasmine” protest, they sent massive number of cops into the area. And that “show of force” worked (NY city have done similar with the Occupy Protests). Protesters just didn’t want to join in, because they can see that the Government was not going to put up with any non-sense.

  43. Sigmar
    June 6th, 2013 at 11:57 | #43

    @Black Phoenix
    What you’ve illustrated is another major difference. The Chinese government showed restraint and civility to the protesters, and was rewarded with murder and malicious intent. Contrast that to America’s “shoot first, ask questions later” approach (which is still her approach today in settling most conflicts, local or abroad), which must be said, works like a charm.

  44. Black Pheonix
    June 6th, 2013 at 15:04 | #44


    It only goes to show some dark side of human nature.

    People, even liberal Westerners, don’t want a government /leader with too much mercy. (That’s too “soft”).

    Kindness /softness doesn’t play well with the masses.

    No US politician ever campaigned under the “I’m a Nice guy” slogan (to win).

    It’s always, “I’m tough” (even for women), and “I’ll Fight for you against THOSE guys!”

    *For Deng, I think he really didn’t want his legacy to be associated with any kind of violence.

    He was a victim of the Cultural Revolution, and he couldn’t see himself sending troops against students, (nor could he imagine that the students would be capable of violence). (He forgot that the Red Guards were students too).

    So he hesitated.

    I think he desperately hoped that the students could be talked out of it. (As did with the more liberal leaders).

    But the thing is, It’s very Machiavellian, but a Prince must always be prepare to use force. It’s only thing at the end of the day would enforce law and order. (NOT some “votes”, nor some idealogies). It has always been the State’s willingness to use force.

    If US disbanded the cops and the military today, it would NOT be just the criminals looting tomorrow, IT would be mostly ordinary citizens doing the looting!!

  45. Hong Konger
    June 7th, 2013 at 08:51 | #45

    @YinYang Hi Yin Yang – I say this with all respect, as you’re my favorite contributor here.
    But, really, I am not talking about the Western press in this particular thread. The average Chinese has almost no interest in the press you guys are probably reading in the States.

    I am speaking from a purely Hong Kong / Asian perspective, as someone with family on both sides of the border, and also around the region.

    You have a situation where, on one side of the border, 100,000+ are marching and asking questions. And where there is a huge range of opinion — some support Beijing’s actions in 89, others don’t, some say it was massacre, others do not — but at least they are voiced. (And, no, not everyone at the memorial is part of the pro-democracy camp. Many simply mourn those killed. Many, like I said, are mainland visitors and tourists these days).

    Hop an hour away on a train, and for the entire month of June, you can’t even type the number “64” into some local search engines without getting an error. There is nothing — no mention of mass vigils, no articles, no TV, etc. Basically the entire year of 1989 is wiped out of high school textbooks on modern Chinese history, even in obits of political leaders of the time.

    Pugster is right in a way — this is what causes Chinese people to presume the worst, particularly the youth.

    The government felt the need to bar university students from border cities like Shenzhen from going to HK in June. But the fact that young people want to go shows that they are hungry for information. And some sort of current-day recognition that 6/4 is still a big issue — and not some years-old dusty government statement — would do alot of good in helping the government look honest to its own people.

    Any event where people died in the streets — soldiers, students, civilians — particularly one that was an entirely domestic problem, is a tragedy. It should just be discussed. All countries have memorials and discussions over tragedies in their recent history.

    After all, we are discussing this here, right? But if this was a Chinese-language site based on the mainland, we wouldn’t be able to.

  46. Black Pheonix
    June 7th, 2013 at 09:05 | #46

    @Hong Konger

    “this is what causes Chinese people to presume the worst, particularly the youth.”

    What’s the “worst”? I think you are exaggerating it. For example, I doubt very much that Chinese people are presuming that the Chinese government killed people for “soylent green.”

    I think you are missing the point of the concept of “Government”.

    Fundamentally, in its core, ALL governments MUST give the impression that IT is capable of using force for enforce its rules.

    If for an instance the people stopped “presuming” this for their government, the government would collapse. That’s the simple truth.

    If the People presume that the Government (US or Chinese) are capable of using force, it curbs protests and rebellions.

    If you want some place where People do not presume such “worst” for their government, I can tell you there is no such fantasy land in reality.

  47. aquadraht
    June 7th, 2013 at 10:29 | #47

    @Hong Konger: As to the demonstration this year, HK police (which is in no way hostile towards PanDem) spoke about 54,000 participants, one of the lowest if not lowest number in the last years if not ever. Heavy rain may have contributed. As to China, I agree to pug_ster that more openness and assertiveness of the government and the CCP would be better than trying to hinder discussion, though, according to my observations, liusi is nothing overly important for recent Chinese.

    One reason they probably dislike an open discussion is the fact that the May/June incidents could only unfold due to an internal power struggle in the Politbureau, where the “reformers” instrumentalized the protests whilst losing control over them (if they ever had). That made a swift and early reaction impossible. Admitting the split in the Politbureau might still be something the government and the party do not feel ready to. They should, anyway.

  48. Hong Konger
    June 7th, 2013 at 10:56 | #48

    @aquadraht Hi Aquadraht. I agree with you.

    Yes, the police are fair here — they are very tolerant of the pan-Dems as well as everyone else.
    Every demonstration, there is a huge difference in the numbers cited by the police and organizers. The police said 50,000+, the organizers said 150,000+, so I just used a rough average. This year was weird because there was a huge but short rain storm, everyone left, and then people returned. Still, it looked like the usual 4 football fields were full – though I am no expert on crowd numbers. There were also smaller demostrations in other parts of the city.

    I also agree that Beijing’s reluctance to address the issue now is probably because of internal politics that may have little to do directly with 6/4. Like all politicians, everyone is eager to be popular and hold onto power, especially with the new handover to the Xi administration. They don’t want to rock the boat – and the public / media are controled enough on the mainland that they would probably not be forced to. But I think this is short-term thinking. In the long term, I’m with you and pugster on the need for some openness – esp. with younger people in the age of VPNs and social media.

  49. Black Pheonix
    June 7th, 2013 at 11:11 | #49

    @Hong Konger

    “In the long term,” People won’t care.

    If you read much history, you will know that history is full of mysteries and questions about this-that event, who killed Kennedy, etc.

    All the “hair pulling” over such questions is just sillier than imagining a government that wouldn’t crack down.

    Yeah, I’m sure the governments will always try to “appear” more “open”. If that will make you feel better about your lives.

    Talk about Opium of the masses.

  50. Black Pheonix
    June 7th, 2013 at 16:00 | #50

    I read some online Western bloggers basically conceding that yes, some Chinese soldiers got murdered, but they still go on to claim, “but that doesn’t justify the “massacre” of the students.”

    I like to illustrate the ridiculousness and total lack of rational proportionality of such arguments.

    If you are faced with a crowd of people (students or not, and you don’t have time to identify them or ask them for ID’s), and they already torched /hung some “SOLDIERS” (otherwise known as “human beings”), you are going to deal with them using tolerance, after 1 month?

    Well (1), that’s just plain 20/20 hindsight, and (2) any one making such assertions is just insane and have no regard for the concept of “social and civic order”.

    Yeah, YOU might be personally very tolerant person, and you might be willing to risk your own personal safety to talk nice to murderers in an angry mob, without knowing who and how many of them want to kill you.

    But you are willing to risk the safety of others on your personal faith?? Well, that’s when I know you are insane.

  51. N.M.Cheung
    June 7th, 2013 at 19:02 | #51

    Consider the cases in NYC where police fired over 50 shots at unarmed Diablo and Bell when they thought they were making suspicious motions (reaching for wallet for ID), and others shot when they heard the shots and ricochets. It’s not surprising some soldiers respond to the killing of their comrades and lost control by returning fire. The killings were not in TAM by mostly near where the soldiers died. The official count of death of more than 30 soldiers and around 300 civilians I think is pretty accurate if we go about the number of mothers of TAM victims organization. When a mob lashes out it’s pretty terrifying. We have the cases of Egyptian women and Lara Logan of CBS being raped or sexually attacked.

  52. aquadraht
    June 8th, 2013 at 04:59 | #52

    Black Pheonix :
    “In the long term,” People won’t care.
    If you read much history, you will know that history is full of mysteries and questions about this-that event, who killed Kennedy, etc.

    I am not so sure, Black Pheonix. I may give an example: 1/14 1919, the German left wing politicians Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered, by right wing Paramilitary on command of the leadership of the Social Democratic Party, especially the infamous Gustav Noske. The events were followed by a bloody civil war with some ten thousand fatalities, mostly left wing workers. This was the end of the German November Revolution and allowed, by the help of the Social Democrats, a strong right wing to survive and finally topple democracy in 1933.

    The SPD has denied their share of guilt for the crimes until today, they have tried to cover up their complicity for decades. There are still quite powerful demonstrations of tens of thousands every year in January reminding the crime and their shame and guilt. This is after nearly hundred years.

    Liusi is not in line with these incidents. But oppressing open discussion and even not asserting legitimate points about the actions of the Chinese government may lead to similar results of a history refusing to become just past.

    Personally, I consider the events a tragedy. Clearly, the majority of the protesters had honest motives, many of them naive hopes and trust into western style of democracy as a solution for all their grievances. The government, split in an internal power struggle, acted helplessly and unclearly for a long time thus encourageing extremists. And it were the ruthless violent acts of those extremists which lead to the bloodshed, no matter whether 300 or more people died during these days.

    Since then, the way Deng Xiaoping had designed for China and asserted during liusi has proven successful. Many “reforms” in other communist party ruled countries where party rule has been toppled have not lead to Freedom and Democracy, rather to economic disaster, demise off millions, and often authoritharian rule. History has proven wrong what was intended on TAM.

    The CCP has good reasons, therefore, not to hide and mute. There have been some attempts towards a more open dealing with the events (e.g. articles in Global Times). Hopefully this will go on and extend

    This would allow the Chinese press and politics to actively challenge the lies and distortions in western media about “Tiananmen massacre”. This brainwashing has to be confronted and ended. Chinese politicians should openly challenge “Free World Leaders” to admit that there was no massacre, that media coverage as well as statements of politicians and parliaments have distorted truth, willingly and knowingly. Those myths are in no way better or less criminal than e.g. holocaust denial. They should be treated accordingly. But that is only possible when CCP and government end their politics of coverup.

  53. June 8th, 2013 at 09:58 | #53

    @Hong Konger
    First of all, I think your assertion that people in China not discussing 6.4 is wrong. Lest you forget, this whole post is about a discussion between me and my friends in China bout 6.4, on WeChat, one of the biggest social media app in China. You don’t see the irony in me having the ability to discuss it against your claims?

    Look, I will give you one of many examples on this blog. Just couple of years ago when the Arab Spring began, the NYT was making all sort of claims people in China wanted a similar revolution. Of course that was BS. You then have the NYT reporting China getting so ridiculous and is banning the sale of jasmine flowers. No kidding! Of course it is not true.


    I will also tell you, some Western journalists wrote us privately telling us how stupid the NYT is.

    Way too many people throw this and that assertion around saying discussion of 6.4 is banned in China. Where is your evidence?

    If indeed groups in Shenzhen are being barred from joining the Hong Kong protest, then I would say that only makes sense. If there are ‘democracy’ agitators within the Mainland of the same mold as LXB, my personal feeling is, great, the Chinese government should clamp down on them.

    Chinese censorship is against anti-government political speech.

    I can tell you, there is no evidence of reporting in the NATO country mainstream media about Iraqi children died or deformed from depleted uranium rounds dropped on them. That’s censorship you should be more concerned about.

    If the Chinese government goes and invade foreign countries in similar fashion, and then the Chinese mainstream media practices such sneaky censorship, then I’d come out and criticize it.

    I will grant you, many people in Hong Kong genuinely take the Western narrative on the 6.4. Many in Hong Kong depended on the British ruling establishment for their livelihood prior to the 1997 handover, so they were legitimately concerned what might happen when Hong Kong returned to China. They were susceptible to the British narrative.

    I accept that’s history, and Hong Kong and Mainland have to find a way forward from that.

    If you believe the protest will have momentum, then I ask where are the protest against the Brits about the Opium Wars? So, it’s no brainer the 6.4 protests in Hong Kong will slowly dissipate over time.

  54. June 8th, 2013 at 10:34 | #54

    In terms of the Mainland covering the Hong Kong protest, yeah, to me, it would be a better strategy for the Mainland mainstream press to cover it. The narrative is simple:

    1. Segment of Hong Kong population are still beholden to the British narrative created for them regarding the 6.4 incident.

    2. This was what kind of lie fed to them by the British controlled media around 89 and years after.

    3. Look at the Hong Kong that don’t buy into the Western media lies about 89. Explorer how to bring the protester’s views back into reality.

  55. June 8th, 2013 at 22:52 | #55

    Hong Konger – I am sorry if my comments above seemed harsh. I am somewhat upset mainly because the Western media have lied so badly about the Tiananmen crackdown. We now have a segment of Chinese in Hong Kong who subscribe to that narrative.

    In my personal view, it’s very upsetting that the Chinese people are divided this way. I felt this is another tragedy of sort created by the former imperialists.

    Anyways, I’ve been extremely busy with work. Perhaps I felt a bit short fused.

    I can see how you feel caught in between.

    Perhaps I’ll leave it as this: if Mainland China continues to bring prosperity and more freedom to its people, then obviously it bodes well for Hong Kong too. In that case, the truthful interpretation of the Tiananmen incident will prevail.

    If the Mainland government screws up royally, well, then Mandate of Heaven may dictate. Only then would the lies about 6.4 perpetrated by the Western press could possibly become history for the Chinese.

  56. Black Pheonix
    June 9th, 2013 at 08:25 | #56


    I think too many events are being propagandized in the Western nations for various different purposes, (which mostly have nothing to do with the good of the people or the public). Thus, I don’t subscribe the notion of China following the trend of nations like Germany in this aspect.

    “The CCP has good reasons, therefore, not to hide and mute. There have been some attempts towards a more open dealing with the events (e.g. articles in Global Times). Hopefully this will go on and extend.”

    I have no doubt they will “open up” some more over time, for their own purposes. But I doubt that such gestures will satisfy anyone who are not satisfied currently.

    What will happen is that the “silence” is also a punishment of history for the LOSERS. (Yes, Victors do write the history. But if you are the moral victors, then you would still have the moral authority to speak.)

    Censorship, ultimately, is another exercise of authority (Lawful in pretty much every country in the world). Those who have no legitimacy of Moral Authority, simply cannot feasibly practically exercise censorship. (While those who do have moral authority, censorship is often aided by the Public, in self-censorship).

    CCP’s supposed “censorship” of information is also a test of its own authority. It can exercise it, because the public allows it, and it works. (as much as media censorship in the West is largely ignored by the populous).

    As long as the People don’t care, CCP can exercise all the censorship they want (of course, they are not going to be stupid and ridiculously oppressive about it). Frankly, I doubt the CCP want to spend that much time and energy ‘censoring’ people. But I doubt they feel any need to “open up”, no more than any other governments on earth.

  57. aquadraht
    June 10th, 2013 at 09:47 | #57

    @Black Pheonix : It should be clear that I am not accusing China in any way. And sure, the Chinese government has not any duty to please westerners. But I am speaking about Chinese reputation in the world, about Chinese soft power. And that one is damaged by the prevalence of the TAM massacre myth in international media. This damage even extends to areas like Hongkong, where people should be more aware of all the distortions in western press coverage concerning China.

    I mocked a bit about the dwindling participation of the demonstration at Victoria Park. Still, 50,000 or more is not a small number of participants, and not completely without influence. It is perpetuating the narrative of a ruthless government smashing peaceful protests with tanks and machine guns, a narrative which is strengthened if nobody contradicts. Same btw. goes with the “greatest famine in world history” (GLF) and other propaganda slogans.

    So far, the Chinese government has openly challenged one of the propaganda myths, the narrative of the harmonious peaceful buddhist society in Tibet before 1959, and has done that with some success. And I think that such open, fact based challenge is the right way.

    As to censorship, I agree that there is censorship in other countries, namely western ones, as well. Yet this does not answer the question whether it is the right way, and even if some control and influence on media and public discussions is considered adequate, the decision remains everytime what to suppress and what not. I am well aware that recent public discussion in China is quite lively and the contrary of what western media are reporting about, and I would even agree that some regulation (e.g. of RRSS excesses) is necessary and justified.

    Still, theproblem remains: When the facts are not presented, rumours will replace them. There are many people, in mainland China as well as outside, who have very unclear ideas about liusi events, and thus are at least inclined to believe the myths and distortions, at least to some extent. I agree that those willing to believe one version won’t be convinced even if they are confronted with contradicting facts (I experienced that when challenging TAM massacre story in HK, that nearly ended in physical threat). But there are many who may fell prey of rumours and propaganda if nothing else is around.

  58. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 10:13 | #58


    “It should be clear that I am not accusing China in any way. And sure, the Chinese government has not any duty to please westerners. But I am speaking about Chinese reputation in the world, about Chinese soft power. And that one is damaged by the prevalence of the TAM massacre myth in international media. This damage even extends to areas like Hongkong, where people should be more aware of all the distortions in western press coverage concerning China.”

    That depends on what you might consider as “damage”.

    I personally think that it would be more damage to give in, and trying to dispel the “myth” on this specific issue.

    Instead, perhaps just dispel the general myth of “democracy” would be sufficient.

    Like many PR firms do, “emphasize the positive”, ignore the negative.

    Really, in the overall scheme of things, if one is talking about the negative, one is diverting attention from the positive message (which is something Chinese “soft power” should be focused on).

    That’s why the Western media is so bent on talking about all the little problems in China, often time out of context. It’s a media tool of distractions, to divert China’s positive influence in the world.

    We should take a page from many US politicians. They generally just ignore or minimize discussions of any of their negative traits/stories/rumors.

    It’s basically about “controlling the message”.

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