China: Tiananmen Square

Written by  //  June 4, 2009  //  China, David Kilgour, Government & Governance, Rights & Social justice  //  Comments Off on China: Tiananmen Square

(CBC Archives) Massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square live reporting from June 4 1989
Jeff Widener: Returning to Tiananmen Square


Jeff Widener/Associated Press

Tiananmen Square
By Nicholas D. Kristof
In the spring of 1989, Tiananmen Square, set in the center of Beijing, became the site of largest pro-democracy movement in China in the 20th century.
It began that year with Hu Yaobang, party leader, who had always tried to do things his own way. In 1986, as party leader, he had suggested that might be time for Deng Xiaoping to retire. In 1989, felled by a heart attack, he later suffered a seizure and died. Hu’s seizure was a prelude to China’s. His death triggered weeks of massive protests, giddy days in April and May 1989 when throngs of more than a million filled the streets of Beijing, criticizing the growing corruption, and in general demanding more of the democracy that Hu had come to symbolize. And then, after seven exhilarating weeks, it all came to a sudden end. In the early hours of June 4, as the world watched in horror, the tanks of the People’s Liberation Army rolled toward Tiananmen Square and troops fired on the crowds, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.
Behind this highly public drama lay another one, less visual and far less understood, yet just as significant. It was enacted not on the streets but in Zhongnanhai  –  the park-like compound a few hundred yards from Tiananmen where most of China’s top leaders have their villas — and in Deng Xiaoping’s own large estate a mile north of there. This was the battle within the leadership, a struggle among ambitious men and their competing visions of China. The echoes of this struggle still reverberate through the country, and China’s future will depend on how it is resolved. More including extensive archives

Nicholas Kristof: Bullets Over Beijing
It was exactly 20 years ago that I stood on the northwest corner of Tiananmen Square and watched “People’s China” open fire on the people.
Tiananmen anniversary muted by government suppression past and present
In the face of government suppression of Web sites such as Twitter and house arrests of dissidents, few Chinese dared even to wear white — the traditional color of mourning — to Tiananmen Square on the 20th anniversary of the government’s brutal massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators. On the occasion of the anniversary, plainclothes officers and police outnumbered visitors. Some 50 participants in the original demonstration are still jailed but largely forgotten: Workers and state employees who supported the more visible student activists. The Christian Science Monitor (6/4) , Los Angeles Times (6/5)
The great wall of silence in Tiananmen Square
(The Independent) On this day in 1989, the brutal crushing of a popular protest shocked the world. But in China today, the events are all but forgotten. Active dissidents have been confined to their homes or forced to leave the city and their mobile phones have been shut down. Social networking and image-sharing websites such as Twitter and Flickr have been closed to prevent discussion of the anniversary. Near the square itself, workmen have been preparing Chang’an Avenue, the Avenue of Eternal Peace, for a huge parade to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party’s accession to power, but the 4 June massacre will be marked with tight-lipped silence and a steadfast official refusal to revisit the events of that day.
US calls for ‘account’ as China steps up suppression
The US made one of its strongest statements for years on human rights in China, as Beijing intensified efforts to quell dissent over the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.
Security forces flood Tienanmen Square on anniversary of uprising
Police swarmed Tienanmen Square today in a show of force to prevent any commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the crackdown after authorities rounded up dissidents around the country or placed them under “thought supervision and control.” TIME
(6/4) , The New York Times (6/4)
3 June
The Tiananmen Papers
Twenty years ago this week, China’s communist regime snuffed out a political reform movement gathered in Tiananmen Square. A hoard of documents smuggled out of Chinese archives and published in Foreign Affairs shows just what happened and why.
The 1989 demonstrations were begun by Beijing students to encourage continued economic reform and liberalization. The students did not set out to pose a mortal challenge to what they knew was a dangerous regime. Nor did the regime relish the use of force against the students. The two sides shared many goals and much common language. Yet, through miscommunication and misjudgment, they pushed one another into positions where options for compromise became less and less available.
Tiananmen Square: Foreign Reporters Barred By China On Eve Of Anniversary
BEIJING — A massive police presence ringed China’s iconic Tiananmen Square on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy activists, as the government continued an overwhelming drive to muzzle dissent and block commemorations.
China cracks down on social sites as Tiananmen anniversary nears
In advance of the 20th anniversary of the violently thwarted pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square, China has blocked dozens of Web sites and blogs, including the social networking site Twitter and the photograph hosting site Flickr. The government has also stepped up old-fashioned censorship strategies, ripping pages out of newspapers and blacking out a BBC report on Tiananmen Square. Civic organizations in Hong Kong — a Chinese special administrative region where freedom of press and assembly are respected — are marking the anniversary of the crackdown with marches, speeches and rallies, culminating in a Thursday vigil. Los Angeles Times (6/3) , Financial Times (free content) (6/2) , The Guardian (London) (6/2)
30 May
Tiananmen anniversary: China’s democracy deferred
(National Post) “Strong economic performance has been the single most important source of legitimacy for the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], so prolonged economic stagnation carries the danger of disenchanting a growing middle class that was lulled into political apathy by the prosperity of the post Tiananmen years.”
Twenty years after hundreds, possibly thousands, of students died in Tiananmen Square, democracy is still a dream in China. In a country booming with cellphones, televisions and a growing middle class, pro-democracy rallies have been replaced by political apathy, reports Peter Goodspeed.
Tiananmen will not be forgotten
(BBC) [Tourists] can marvel at history in the Forbidden City and gaze at modern China’s fashionably dressed citizens dodging shoals of Mercedes. What they will not see is any hint of the recent past in Tiananmen Square – there is nothing which commemorates the deaths of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in June 1989, the massacre which brought a brutal end to many weeks of demonstrations.
27 May
Party-State In China Mocks Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Tiananmen Massacre and labour camps case studies
Address by by Hon. David Kilgour to the Forum on Human Rights in China
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre and 10 full years since the merciless persecution of Falun Gong began, I feel compelled to use my limited time today on these issues, despite those who say any criticism of China’s party-state should be muted during the present world economic crisis. Both, including the use of mostly Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in forced labour camps, are haunting testimonials against a totalitarian political system, which has over the past two decades also encouraged “anything goes” economics.
23 May
Openness in China About Memoir Proves Short-Lived
(NYT) A mix of responses to commemorations of the Tiananmen Square crackdown reflect how Beijing now seems more sensitive to the outcry that tough tactics to suppress dissent can provoke.
21 May
Tiananmen Now Seems Distant to China’s Students
(NYT) Twenty years after the students of Peking University squared off against China’s military might at Tiananmen Square, few students appear prepared to challenge the status quo. Much of the economic frustration behind the protests 20 years ago has evaporated alongside China’s rapid development to be replaced, for many, by pride in the country’s advances. (5/21)
19 May
(FP Morning Brief) As China’s government continues to defend its handling of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown amid questions raised in a new memoir by former premier Zhao Ziyang, the final prisoner jailed for “hooliganism” during the demonstrations has only now been released.
China defends Tiananmen crackdown, ignores memoir
(AP/Miami Herald) BEIJING — China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday 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. 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,” 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.
Last Tiananmen Square ‘hooligan’ freed after 20 years

(Times online) The last known prisoner jailed for “hooliganism” during the student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square has been released after 20 years in prison, a human rights group said. But about 30 others remain in jail for their roles in the pro-democracy movement that was brutally crushed by Chinese troops and tanks in June 1989. Liu Zhihua was one of four workers who organised a factory strike in central Hunan province to protest against the decision to send in the troops. The strike was at the state-owned Electrical Machinery Works in Xiangtan. Xiangtan was the home town of Chairman Mao Zedong.

Ex-official’s memoirs tell secret story of Tiananmen
Former Chinese party boss Zhou Ziyang has published his memoirs which, among other revelations, contain inside information about the high-level political discussions that led to the crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. The 20th anniversary of the violent suppression of the student protests will be observed in June. A Chinese-language version of Zhao’s book is set to go on sale May 29. BBC (5/14) , The New York Times (5/14)

1989: Massacre in Tiananmen Square
Several hundred civilians have been shot dead by the Chinese army during a bloody military operation to crush a democratic protest in Peking’s (Beijing) Tiananmen Square.Tanks rumbled through the capital’s streets late on 3 June as the army moved into the square from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters. The injured were rushed to hospital on bicycle rickshaws by frantic residents shocked by the army’s sudden and extreme response to the peaceful mass protest. BBC On this day – June 4

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