Monday, June 04, 2012

June 4, the Tiananmen Square Massacre

I remember it as well as if it were yesterday, from afar in time. I was dining with my parents and siblings above Sydney at the Summit Restaurant (quite cheap in those days), for my mum's birthday dinner, and the news came through on a radio that it was happening. Most of us in the family have a particular interest in Marxism-Leninism, so we all took special notice.

It's been contended that the massacre actually happened outside the square (
'The Myth of Tiananmen And the Price of a Passive Press', by Jay Mathews, Columbia Journalism Review). There are Tienanmen Massacre deniers, just as there are Holocaust deniers -- see Spinning the Battle for Beijing.

"In China hundreds – possibly thousands – of people died as Chinese army troops stormed Beijing to crush the pro-democracy movement. A surge in imports and loose money supplied fuel for a potent mix of corruption and double-digit inflation. Hundreds of thousands of discontented Chinese took to the streets of Beijing, demanding more reform – but the military crushed the protests in the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Zhao Ziyang was ousted. The West and Japan cut off aid. Bao Tong was the only Communist Party official arrested in the Tianamen Square uprising. He was released with ill-health in 1996. Han Dongfang, leader of China's first independent trade union spent 22 months behind bars for his role in the pro-democracy uprising. Ren Wanding was also again jailed for giving speeches in the pro-democracy protests."    Source
Statue of the Goddess of Democracy

"Students from the Central College of Fine Arts are credited with creating the goddess statue, that was destined to stand only five days in Beijing, at which point it was run over by a tank from the People's Liberation Army as the army retook Tiananmen Square while killing 3,000 civilians in the infamous 'June 4' massacre."
  Tank Man documentary on Google Video
Tienanmen Square iconSequence of events at Tiananmen Square
June 4
1:00 a.m. a second group of tanks appears at Tiananmen Square. Demonstrators jump on the tanks and throw stones and Molotov cocktails.
2:00 a.m. Tiananmen Square is totally surrounded by tanks. Automatic rifles start shooting, killing people on the square. The students' loudspeakers claim 50 deaths.
3:00 a.m. the official loudspeakers shout: "Beijing is victim of a counter-revolutionary insurrection." All the tanks target the 5,000 students remaining around the Monument to the People's Heroes.
4:00 a.m. the lights on the square turn off and official loudspeakers call on the students to return to campuses.
5:00 a.m. several thousand students and supporters exit the square, leaving behind a group of hard core protesters, mostly workers, who refuse to leave and decide to stay on as martyrs.
6:00 a.m. a tank kills seven more students.
Throughout the afternoon more reports come in of civilians shot in all districts. There are also reports of foreigners being injured. The first signs of a struggle emerge between the different army units, with soldiers actually fighting each other. The 27th Army, commanded in 1979 by Gen. Yang Shangkun in the Sino-Vietnamese war, uses snipers to shoot people in the head and the heart.
Like This
for 6.4
Tu Ya
Quietly, the fall of petals is like this
Death is being expressed like this
The world is a colorful tragedy this world
I read history –
Like going through a graveyard in darkness

Photos    More
Frontline: The Gate of Heavenly Peace
A documentary film
State Department declassified documents
TIME: The Unknown Rebel
Human rights in China
Replica of goddess, San Francisco
China silences Tiananmen critics
Tiananmen crackdown persists (2004)
Another photo archive
Google news results on Human Rights in China
Wikipedia article on Human Rights in China
News results for Tiananmen
China's propaganda 'human rights' site
Freedom for China: China Support Network
Chinese dissidents
Dramatic photo gallery
And another
"I am a surgeon at the PLA Number 301 Hospital. When the June 4th Incident took place in 1989, I was the director of the hospital's department of routine surgery. On the evening of 3 June, I heard repeated radio broadcasts urging people not to go to the streets. At about 2200 when I was in my dormitory, I heard continuous gunshots from the north. Several minutes later, my pager beeped. It was the emergency room's call. So I rushed there. I could not believe my eyes--lying on the floor and the examination tables were seven young people with blood all over their faces and bodies. Two of them were later confirmed dead after an EKG test. My brain buzzed and I almost passed out. I have been a surgeon for more than 30 years ...

"Of course I have considered the consequences that I might encounter after writing this letter. But I have decided to tell you all the facts."
Dr Jiang Yanyong's letter to the Party, Feb 24, 2004


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