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Old 2009-05-20, 14:17   Link #1
TinyRedLeaf
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Remembering Tiananmen, 20 years on





What was the Incident?
Quote:
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 culminating in the Tiananmen Square Massacre (referred to in Chinese as the June 4th Incident, to avoid confusion with two other Tiananmen Square protests) were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, that began on April 14, 1989. Led mainly by students and intellectuals, the protests were the first in a year that saw the collapse of a number of communist governments around the world.

The movement lasted seven weeks, from the death of the Chinese Communist Party's former secretary-general Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, to the day tanks cleared Tiananmen Square of protesters on June 4, 1989. In Beijing, the resulting military response to the protesters by the Communist government left many civilians dead or severely injured. The official Chinese government figure is 241 dead, including soldiers, and 7,000 wounded. But Chinese student associations and the Chinese Red Cross reported 2,000 to 3,000 deaths.

Following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress protesters and their supporters, cracked down on other protests around China, banned the foreign press from the country and strictly controlled coverage of the events in the Chinese press. Members of the Communist party who had publicly sympathised with the protesters were purged, with several high-ranking members placed under house arrest, such as general-secretary Zhao Ziyang (see below). The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the Chinese government.

- WIKIPEDIA
What led to it?
Quote:
Starting from 1978, then paramount leader of China, Deng Xiaoping, led a series of economic and political reforms which resulted in the gradual implementation of a market economy and some political liberalisation that relaxed the system set up by the deceased communist leader, Mao Zedong.

Some students and intellectuals believed that the reforms had not gone far enough and that China needed to reform its political system. They were also concerned about the social and iron-fist controls that the Chinese Communist Party still had. This group had also seen the political liberalisation that had been undertaken in the name of glasnost ("openess") by then president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, so they had been hoping for comparable reforms. Many workers who took part in the protests also wanted democratic reform, but opposed the new economic policies initiated by Deng.

The Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 were in large measure sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang, who had resigned as the Communist party's secretary-general on Jan 16, 1987. His forthright calls for "rapid reform" and his almost open contempt of "Maoist excesses" made him a hated enemy of the party's hardline cadres, including Deng.

Hu's sudden death due to heart attack on April 15, 1989, provided a perfect opportunity for the students to gather en masse, not only to mourn the deceased reformist leader, but also to have their voices heard in "demanding a reversal of the verdict against him".

Few of them could have expected their government's subsequent reprisal against their protests.

- WIKIPEDIA
Zhao Ziyang's secret memoirs to be published
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Hong Kong (May 14): The secretly recorded memoirs of the Chinese Communist Party leader who was ousted for sympathising with the students during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square have been released four years after his death.

In tapes secretly recorded during his 16 years under house arrest, Zhao Ziyang, the former general-secretary of the Communist party, denounced the killing of protesters as a "tragedy", and challenged the party's subsequent rejection of democratic reforms.

The tapes were smuggled out of China and will be published in English and Chinese on May 19 in book form, entitled Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang – days before the 20th anniversary of the massacre. In them, he praised Western-style democracy and insisted that the activists were not attempting to overthrow the system, according to extracts obtained by Reuters.

"On the night of June 3 (1989), while sitting in the courtyard with my family, I heard intense gunfire," wrote Zhao, according to Reuters. "A tragedy to shock the world had not been averted."

Economic and political reforms had led to increasing struggles between hardliners and reformists in the party leadership. The 1989 demonstrations raised the stakes and pushed the arguments to their climax. When then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who held power behind the scenes, backed hardliners who wanted to impose martial law, only Zhao dissented.

"I told myself that no matter what, I refused to become the (Communist party) general-secretary who mobilised the military to crack down on students," he said in the memoirs. He also looked to the future in his recordings, praising Western parliamentary democracy, and warning: "If we don't move toward this goal, it will be impossible to resolve the abnormal conditions in China's market economy."

Zhao, who was kept under intense surveillance at his home after his downfall and whose excursions and visitors were vetted, recorded his memoirs in such secrecy that even family members were unaware of his project. He recorded about 30 hours, on Peking opera and children's music tapes, in or around the year 2000. The 30 tapes were later smuggled out of China by three former high-ranking officials.

"People thought Zhao was probably broken and bitter and, at the very least, had so much surveillance there was no way he could have offered his final word on Tiananmen. But he had – and nobody knew," Mr Adi Ignatius, one of the editors of the English language edition, told the Guardian.

"It will remind people that Tiananmen did not have to end up as it did; it was a power struggle at the top level – nothing to do with putting down a violent rebellion."

- THE GUARDIAN
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Old 2009-05-20, 15:38   Link #2
Vexx
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The thing that really bothers me is when the Chinese government attempts to *suppress* grieving over controversial incidents - whether it be Tiananmen, the recent "poor construction" earthquake massacre of the young, or whatever. It shows a very deep lack of understanding of human emotions and motivations.

I can't think of anything more stupid to do than deny a parent the right to grieve over their one and only child being lost or to not *address* the situation and hold those accountable (corruption, greed). Otherwise, the PRC is creating a group of people who have nothing left to lose..... f*ing brilliant, dumbasses. People with nothing left to lose come after dumbasses in the night...

I have great respect for a 5000+ year old culture... but as Zhao points out nicely, it doesn't mean that sometimes a cadre of cya-dumbasses doesn't make things worse with knee-jerk reactivity.

Last edited by Vexx; 2009-05-20 at 18:55.
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Old 2009-05-20, 17:25   Link #3
Claies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx
The thing that really bothers me is when the Chinese government attempts to *suppress* grieving over controversial incidents - whether it be Tiananmen, the recent "poor construction" earthquake massacre of the young, or whatever. It shows a very deep lack of understanding of human emotions and motivations.

I can't think of anything more stupid to do than deny a parent the right to grieve over their one and only child being lost or to not *address* the situation and hold those accountable (corruption, greed). Otherwise, the PRC is creating a group of people who have nothing left to lose..... f*ing brilliant, dumbasses.
I think the Chinese government saw, realized, and feared the young people in China. Many of them are technologically savvy, and given their indoctrinated love to China, there is no reason not to believe that they can turncoat due to a botched disaster response and suddenly rally against the government with just as much fervor. When that happens, they're screwed.

It's not like they don't understand - I believe they're damn scared of the possibility. Of course, I'm also not averse to believing that government corruption forces all sympathy to a backseat where those who actually care have their political lifespans significantly reduced - because someone else gets less bribe money if they showed any signs of caring.

==============================================
Meanwhile, I'll leave this here.

The whole thing is in Chinese (with only the first part of 20 subbed), but some very rare and powerful images there. You can probably figure out that this is a Taiwanese production. It contains images of the events in detail over several months before the actual crackdown on June 4, including the extent of public participation and negotiations before the Politburo decided to use force.

I find that one of the reasons the whole thing failed is that the university students involved didn't really think the whole thing through. Yes, they pressed for changes, not an outright revolution, but they were shown to not know exactly what happens after that. Besides the fact that hardliners won't trust them anyway, I think they plunged in not knowing completely what they're doing, and the government took that chance.

A very diverse bunch of people were interviewed, including a teacher working at one of the participating universities (and supported the movement herself), a few regular workers, a writer (who was a child when Mao was in power and experienced his full cult personality), and a former government official who was sympathetic as she watched from the administration buildings.

The entire playlist is here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...38BF24000377A1

There's an English transcript here, but no guarantees on how you can exactly follow it along with the video. If you want people to translate a segment, I'm certain there are enough Chinese-speaking posters here who can help.
http://www.tsquare.tv/film/transcript01.html
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Old 2009-05-20, 18:36   Link #4
yezhanquan
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When the armed forces pledge their loyalties to the Party and not to the state, you already have a serious problem here. Still, the students back in 1989 misjudged the military. Unlike the Russian troops who refused to fire during the crisis which saw Gorbachev under house arrest in his dacha, the Chinese troops did fire, and how...
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Old 2009-05-20, 19:05   Link #5
Claies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
When the armed forces pledge their loyalties to the Party and not to the state, you already have a serious problem here. Still, the students back in 1989 misjudged the military. Unlike the Russian troops who refused to fire during the crisis which saw Gorbachev under house arrest in his dacha, the Chinese troops did fire, and how...
Unsourced intelligence reports (I'm looking on Wikipedia, I couldn't be bothered to Google for it all) say that the Politburo actually had to scramble to find a battalion from outside Beijing that would obey their orders without question, because the forces in Beijing were considered sympathetic to the protest.

If you look at the videos there were images of the Beijing-based soldiers who were initially deployed days before reluctantly accepting presents from insistent protesters. They were really having a hard time staying steeled and silent on their troop transports.

The unit that killed the most protesters in Tiananmen was the "highly disciplined" 27th Group Army, which participated in the Korean War directly against the U.S. 1st Marine Division. The unit was stationed in the province surrounding Beijing but did not directly serve the city.
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Old 2009-05-20, 19:15   Link #6
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....which goes to show that they are at least human. No doubt, the soldiers would be prosecuted by the higher-ups if they knew about the gifts. This is also an example on how regionalism works in China. As long as they don't piss off any side too much, regional leaders rule like feudal lords.
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Old 2009-05-20, 19:45   Link #7
LeoXiao
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I heard that a lot of the soldiers were brought up from Sechuan deliberately since they couldn't understand the Beijing dialect. I don't know if this has any truth, however.

Quote:
I find that one of the reasons the whole thing failed is that the university students involved didn't really think the whole thing through. Yes, they pressed for changes, not an outright revolution, but they were shown to not know exactly what happens after that. Besides the fact that hardliners won't trust them anyway, I think they plunged in not knowing completely what they're doing, and the government took that chance.
Exactly. Furthermore, I think that the protesters simply failed to see the Party for what it actually was. They tried to negotiate with it, when in fact the Party doesn't work like that. The CCP doesn't worry about such things as a bad image or adhering to any kind of consideration in front of a bunch of powerless people it can just surround and gun down. But the students, they had all been raised and fed by the "wolf's milk," and couldn't understand this, as they themselves, along with the entire Han people, had been somewhat brainwashed by the cultural/psychological domination brought about by the Party over the last century. It is a tragedy that, in some ways IMO, surpasses all others to occur in history.

Sadly, with the new generation of Chinese replacing the previous one, this even (or the truth of it) is being removed from the collective knowledge of the Chinese nation. Anyone who took part in the protests is in their 40's now, and few of them are brave enough to bring it up to their children (or anyone, for that matter), and many have given up their youthful idealism and returned to the darkness.
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Old 2009-05-20, 19:54   Link #8
yezhanquan
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Well, I won't be surprised that the troops from Sichuan doesn't understand Mandarin, especially those who don't have formal education (Mandarin as we know it is the Beijing dialect and is the official standard).

Arguably, the biggest obstacle to China today is corruption. How best to tackle it is a debate for another day. However, the party must realise that centralisation is not the way to go.
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Last edited by yezhanquan; 2009-05-20 at 22:34.
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Old 2009-05-22, 00:46   Link #9
TinyRedLeaf
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China defends Tiananmen crackdown
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Beijing (May 20): China's Foreign Ministry today defended the brutal quelling of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement, while ignoring questions about a new memoir by a former Communist Party leader ousted for opposing the crackdown.

The student-led demonstrations centred around calls for more political freedom and an end to corruption. On June 3-4, 1989, the military crushed the dissent, killing hundreds and possibly thousands of people. China has never given a full accounting of the crackdown.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu reiterated the official view that the movement's crushing paved the way for China's economic success in the two decades that followed what he called "the political incident".

"Facts have proven that the socialist path with Chinese characteristics that we've pursued is in the fundamental interest of our people and it reflects the aspirations of the entire nation," Mr Ma said when asked to comment on the release of a posthumous memoir by Zhao Ziyang, the Chinese leader who was deposed for supporting the protests

In his answer, Mr Ma did not mention directly either Zhao or the book, entitled Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang.

- ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Old 2009-05-22, 00:47   Link #10
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Tiananmen dissident calls for 'White China' day
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Taipei (May 22): Mr Wang Dan, a key figure in the 1989 pro-democracy protests in China, said yesterday he hoped the nation would be "covered in white" to mark the anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown.

"We are promoting a campaign called 'White Clothes Day'," Mr Wang, who was jailed for years in China before being exiled, told Agence France-Presse from Taiwan, where he was staying temporarily to continue his fight for democracy.

"That means we appeal to Chinese people to wear white clothes (the colour of mourning in China) on June 4 to remember June 4, and we hope that on that day, we can witness a China covered in white," he explained.

Studying at Beijing University in 1989, Mr Wang was first on a list of 21 most wanted students in China after the army cracked down on the Tiananmen demonstrations, killing hundreds, possibly thousands.

After being arrested, Mr Wang was sentenced to four years in prison in 1991 and freed in 1993. He was re-arrested in 1995 after continuing to campaign for human rights and democracy and sentenced the following year to a further 11 years in jail. But in 1998, he was exiled to the United States where he continued his fight for democracy in his country.

On the night of June 3-4, 1989, after six weeks of peaceful pro-democracy protests in Beijing and 100 other cities in China, the army intervened to evacuate Tiananmen Square where students were on hunger strike. The Chinese regime justified its actions by saying they had been necessary to quash a "counter-revolutionary" rebellion.

The Chinese authorities have reinforced security and the surveillance of dissidents in the country as the ultra-sensitive anniversary approaches, fearing trouble.

- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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Old 2009-05-22, 00:49   Link #11
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Mr. Hu and his vile comrades might read this book called Atlas Shrugged. It may change their outlooks. China has become the shining beacon of collectivism it isn't even nice to look at. Whenever I see "great" marvels by them, it is unavoidable to think of the liberties trampled by the commies to make it so.

See the Olympics, that was fake as hell. No "genuine" spirit and all show. Those smiles are fake. I am almost sure of that.
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Old 2009-05-22, 00:52   Link #12
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The thing is that China remains the biggest lab for experimentation on governments, along with India. In both countries, results are mixed. Observations are to continue.
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Old 2009-05-22, 00:54   Link #13
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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
The thing is that China remains the biggest lab for experimentation on governments, along with India. In both countries, results are mixed. Observations are to continue.
Had we enough government? the 20th century is all about government, even the 21st?
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Old 2009-05-22, 00:58   Link #14
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Had we enough government? the 20th century is all about government, even the 21st?
Well, the 20th threw out absolute monarchies in WWI, threw out European democracy in WWII, and experimented with communism. Hell yeah, the experiment is still on. In fact, it would probably never end.
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Old 2009-05-22, 01:23   Link #15
MrTerrorist
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This incident is China's greatest shame along with the Earthquake incident, the tainted Milk Scandal, the Tibet problem & the 2008 Olympics & the reason why many Chinese or those of Chinese descent cannot feel proud of their country of origin.

What worst is most of today's generation of Mainland Chineses don't know anything about this incident unless they travel abroad. And even if they did knew, they can never talk about it in public for fear of repercussion by the PRC.

The PRC is giant totalitarian nation of lies. If claims to be a perfect nation for the world to follow when in reality it's run by corruption, dirty politics, greed, lies & powermongers.
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Old 2009-05-22, 01:35   Link #16
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All of human history is about "government" and what kind works best for the most people. Most of it boils down to a small few attempting to dominate the many so they can pillage and loot whatever corresponds to the productive value from the many.

One can praise the rich deep lengthy culture of China (of which Chinese are very rightfully proud of) while still realizing its been mostly run by a few bullies be they "royal" (Imperial) or "commie" (PRC) or "autocratic" (Taiwan under the General).

I have a lifelong suspicion of anyone who *wants* to be in charge of more than a handful of people
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Old 2009-05-22, 01:35   Link #17
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when in reality it's run by corruption, dirty politics, greed, lies & powermongers.
This part of your assessment would fit India as well.

The Party knows that it has serious internal problems, but I don't think the solutions it proposes would work.

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All of human history is about "government" and what kind works best for the most people. Most of it boils down to a small few attempting to dominate the many so they can pillage and loot whatever corresponds to the productive value from the many.
Quoted for pointing out the elephant in the living room. As always, brilliant in a few words.

“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”

While Colbert used this to describe taxation, it could very well be used for government and business in general.
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Old 2009-05-22, 01:53   Link #18
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The difference between India and China though, is that China has the Party. The Party is what is responsible for June 4th, Tibet, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the persecution of Falungong, among other various crimes. It is a sort of system that provides a great gathering spot for all the corrupt scum of society to run the country like a mafia. Everything the Party does is for its own survival; the condition of China itself couldn't matter less to them. I don't know all that much about India (I know it's corrupt as hell), but at least their government isn't such that it systematically terrorizes its populace or kills millions of people.

Quote:
One can praise the rich deep lengthy culture of China (of which Chinese are very rightfully proud of) while still realizing its been mostly run by a few bullies be they "royal" (Imperial) or "commie" (PRC) or "autocratic" (Taiwan under the General).
See, at least China back then actually had a culture. Now, the culture is one created by the Party for more efficient self-censorship, or they just took parts of Chinese culture that they liked (the parts about self-censorship). The Chinese today are proud of their culture, while they don't even realize what has been lost.

I should probably add that its not just China that has lost much of its former essence, many nations have the same grave problem.
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Old 2009-05-22, 01:57   Link #19
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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”

While Colbert used this to describe taxation, it could very well be used for government and business in general.
One point, taxation in itself is not evil like some Americans are led to believe.
It is a method of redistribution of wealth which drives economy. It's used to develop social infrastuctures that no single establishment will develop.

For example the military has an welfare aspect which provide business training and employment. It also provides companies with jobs ordering multi-million dollar project but when it becomes over inflated like the US military then it becomes a problem both to maintain itself and keep companies specialized in military contracts alive.
The abuse of power is the biggest problem in maintaining a government. Like the saying goes "Absolute power corrupts absolutely".
The military industrial complex was one of the reasons that led Japan into the Pacific war.
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Old 2009-05-22, 01:58   Link #20
yezhanquan
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You're confusing the Party structure under Mao, and today. The great killer events can be put down to Mao. GLF is his idea, along with the CR. It was after those total disasters that the Party decided to enforce the "first among equals" rule more rigidly. Many people tend to forget that Mao was merely a "first among equals". However, his team made the mistake of entrusting in him too much power, people like Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and others.

Taxation has never been evil. It is excessive taxation that's the problem.

Also, some of us do know what has been lost. That's why we look to Korea and Japan who (despite localisation) has preserved some of China's culture from ages past. While it is true that a lot can be undone in a short period of time, communism in China is far from 100 years old. Counting the rise of Mao, it's about 80 years, and changes have been around for the past few decades.

Besides corruption, China also faces a graying population. It is very possible for the Party to completely mess this one up. Then, we have a problem.
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Last edited by yezhanquan; 2009-05-22 at 02:17.
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