On June 4, 1989, the Chinese 27th Army Division
, opened fire on unarmed pro-democracy
protesters. The Square of heavenly peace was soaked in blood. Street battles raged on for days. Thousands die. China
must be punished for its actions.
Sounds like something you hear on the American news eh? Well this was not what happened. To a certain degree it was. But this is not an accurate account. I know because I was in China at the time. My friend was actually in Beijing on that night. I've done enough research to know the American perspective is wrong. I am NOT a ranting communist. I am viewing it from BOTH PERSPECTIVES. Before you click on the - vote button for having pro-China views, please read my whole article.
April 15, 1989. Hu Yaobang, disgraced former secretary general of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), dies. He was kicked out for failing to criticize the tiny pro-democracy protests a few years ago. By his funeral day a week later, over 200,000 people have gathered in Tiananmen Square, which is right next to the Great Hall of the People. Incidentally, that building is ugly ugly ugly. I cannot believe they use it as a symbol of greatness.
The People's Daily, quickly denounce the protests. Students from Beida (a.k.a. Beijing University), commonly acknowledged as China's best university, break through police barriers and end up in the Square of Heavenly Peace (translation of Tiananmen Square).
This event just coincided with Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to China. Sino-Russian relations have been at a low since the 1960's, so this event is historic. General secretary Zhao Ziyang (who sympathizes with the students) indicates willingness to talk with the student leaders.
May 13 saw the beginning of the massive hunger strikes by the students. 4 days later, 1,000,000 people have gathered at the square. Prime Minister Li Peng (a hardliner) holds a dialogue with the students. However, it was not a discussion. It was more like a teacher lecturing his students. The students dismiss the entire dialogue. The next day, Zhao Ziyang pleads the students to leave the square. They ignore him. By the next week, Zhao is under house arrest. Pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the USA give massive support.
Martial Law was declared on May 20 by Li Peng. Soldiers from outlying bases outside Beijing attempt to truck into the city. They were blocked by ordinary citizens in the suburbs of Beijing. The stalemate continues.
With Zhao Ziyang under house arrest, the hardliners are in control. On May 29, students from the Bejing Academy of Fine Arts erect a statue eerily similar to New York City's Statue of Liberty and put it across from Mao's giant picture in the Square. The next day, a government-sponsored pro-CCP protest was completely overwhelmed by the pro-democracy protestors, whose ranks have swelled to over 1 million.
On June 3, soldiers were ordered to move in on the city. They attempt to infiltrate the Square by use of the subway system, but were stopped cold when the subway operators shut down the whole system. That was when the tanks were ordered to break through the barricades. On the night of June 3, the soldiers reached the square and fired live ammunition randomly at the protestors. Street battles rage on for days in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities. The official line: "No one died.". Zhao Ziyang is purged and replaced by Jiang Zemin.
That's the timeline. Of course what they didn't tell you is a few things that happened prior to June 4. The soldiers who DID manage to get to the square, well, their trucks were burned and they were savagely beaten, some to death. Radicals were seen wielding molotov cocktails and throwing pavement stones at the soldiers. By the way, they were not special riot troops. They were unarmored, and I would imagine that the bricks hurt a fair bit. Ditto for the molotovs.
They also totally ignored Zhao Ziyang. He warned them to obey the martial law. The army was initially ordered to disperse the crowds. They were met with violent protestors. No, not all the protestors were on hunger strikes. Only a small handful of them were. Most of them were very much active in the rioting. When they were ordered to clear the square by all means on the night of June 3, they did the only thing they could.
Furthermore, a significant percentage of the protestors there were NOT there for pro-democracy reasons. They demanded the resignation of Li Peng. That would do nothing for the democracy movement. I believe what they really wanted was an end to the extreme corruption that was rampant in China at the time. So when the American media told you about all those people dying for democracy, they were wrong.
I am in no way condoning the killings. Yes I am very moved by the poignant photograph of a single man blocking an entire column of tanks heading for the Square. What I am trying to say is, I am sick of all the hate people have toward China. Just because it is a communist country. The scapegoating of innocent scientists (BTW, Li Wen Ho, the scientist accused of stealing nuclear secrets, is Taiwanese, not mainland Chinese), the free Tibet protests (personally, I do not believe Tibet should be free), the list goes on. The American press needs a new "evil empire" to write on. China is the most convenient target. Living in the US now, every day I see anti-Chinese articles everywhere. Do not tell me the US does not spy on China. And don't even try to tell me the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade Yugoslavia was an "accident". Be open-minded people. Don't believe everything the media tells you.