Protester remembers Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years later

Chai Ling says she sees hope for China after she participated in demonstrations three decades ago.

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What to know about Tiananmen Square on the 30th anniversary of the crackdown

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29 thoughts on “Protester remembers Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years later

  1. This first clip was cut leaving out an important part. This woman revealed in that interview she knew and hoped for a massacre so that the world would see how evil the CCP is. She also said she wouldn't stay in the square when that happened. A hypocrite.

  2. When history writes the final version, the Tiananmen turmoil of 1989 will be seen as a Chinese tragedy that was hugely exaggerated and skewed by ill-wishers of the People's Republic to discredit and demonize socialist China. It is also one of the great propaganda hoaxes of modern times. Here are the core myths surrounding the episode — and the corresponding realities:

    MYTH 1: Thousands of unarmed student protesters at Tiananmen Square were mowed down by machine guns and crushed by tanks of the Chinese army PLA in the early hours of June 4, 1989.

    REALITY: No one was killed in Tiananmen (TAM) Square in the early morning of June 4, 1989. Secret cables from the American ambassador in China, James Lilley, to the US State Department published by Wikileaks in June 2011 unequivocally affirmed the fact. The cables were based on an eyewitness account by Chilean second secretary in China, Carlos Gallo, who was at the square until he left with the last students that morning.

    “Once the agreement was reached for the students to withdraw,” said Lilley in his cable, “the students left the square through the southeast corner. Essentially everyone, including Gallo, left. The few that attempted to remain behind were beaten and driven to join the end of the departing procession.”

    One other source has confirmed the Chilean diplomat’s account. That was Eugenio Bregolat, Spain’s ambassador to Beijing at the time. In a book he wrote about Tiananmen, he angrily denies the massacre stories. He notes that Spain’s TVE channel had a television crew in the square most of the evening and that if there had been a massacre, they would have been the first to see it and record it. He points out that most reports of an alleged massacre were made by journalists hunkered down in the safe haven of the Beijing Hotel, some distance from the square.

    A Taiwan-born singer and composer, Hou Dejian, who joined the student protesters at the square and negotiated with the Chinese army commissar for the remaining students to leave it, said categorically that there were no killings in the early morning of June 4. He stayed at the square until 6:30, after all the students had left. Hou told a press interviewer: “During the whole withdrawal process I didn’t see a single student, citizen or soldier killed in the square. Nor did I see any armored personnel carriers rolling over people.”

    MYTH 2: After Wikileaks’ release in 2011 of diplomatic cables from the Beijing US embassy to the State Department stating that no one was killed at Tiananmen Square, a revised narrative appeared: Thousands of unarmed civilians, including students, died after being fired upon by tanks and armed PLA soldiers in the streets leading to the square.

    REALITY: On June 2 and 3, buses carrying PLA soldiers and armored personnel carriers were attacked by rioters with Molotov cocktails or petrol bombs. Hundreds of buses and APCs were torched. Dozens of soldiers were burnt to a crisp in the buses, and a few corpses were strung up in the streets. The rioters set up barricades and roadblocks by burning buses or armored carriers.

    Reinforcements of armed soldiers had little choice but to fire on the rioters carrying Molotov cocktails and even guns, in self-defense, and to clear the streets leading to the square. Most of the rioting and bloodletting took place in Muxidi, about 3 km west of TAM Square. The official figure was around 300 dead, some 40 of whom were students. Most of the others were PLA soldiers, workers, and rioters. More than 3,000 soldiers were injured.

    MYTH 3: The seven-week long occupation of Tiananmen Square was a spontaneous protest by students against corruption and lack of transparency in the Chinese government, with no involvement by foreign organizations.

    REALITY: The demonstrations might have begun spontaneously as a result of popular frustration and even anger at increasing corruption. Soon enough, however, foreign involvement became apparent. Said a report in the Vancouver Sun, attributed to AP: "For months before the June 3 attack on the demonstrators, the CIA had been helping student activists form the anti-government movement, providing typewriters, facsimile machines and other equipment to help them spread their message, said one official. The CIA declined all comment."

    The "equipment" provided by CIA likely included the Molotov cocktails used by rioters, or their main ingredient, petrol, which was strictly rationed in Beijing at the time and unavailable to ordinary people. Prior to the days leading up to June 4, they had never been seen or used in China.

    Lilley, America’s China ambassador before and throughout the TAM incident, was a veteran CIA officer who had served as a senior East Asia expert in the Reagan administration. He grew up in China and could speak native-level Chinese. He was thus well placed to spearhead a "color revolution" in China.

    Voice of America stepped up its Chinese language broadcasts from Hong Kong to China to 11 hours a day in the weeks leading to June 4. Many students at TAM Square tuned in to the US government station as a "reliable" source of news. VOA made provocative statements and dispensed advice to student demonstrators about their protests. In the final few days, VOA disseminated false rumors of Li Peng's arrest, Deng Xiaoping's near-death, and infighting among PLA factions.

    George Soros' Fund for the Reform and Opening of China was allowed to operate in the country from 1984. The fund promoted cultural exchanges and sponsored research projects in conjunction with China's Institute for Economic Structural Reform, an influential liberal think-tank supported by Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang. Allegations that the China Fund was a CIA tool had surfaced in Washington two years before. Moreover, the US National Endowment for Democracy had two offices in China, which conducted regular seminars on democracy. It also sponsored Chinese writers and publications.

    So the usual suspects of Washington-instigated color revolutions were present and operating in China prior to June 4, 1989. A known VOA representative was filmed talking to student protest leader Chai Ling in TAM Square, in breach of the martial law declared in Beijing.

    MYTH 4: The Chinese government made a big mistake in suppressing the student protests. China would have been better off today practicing the Western model of democracy.

    REALITY: The agenda of the student leaders was to topple the Communist Party. Chai Ling said as much in a press interview years later in America, where she fled to.

    There would have been a power vacuum had the CPC been overthrown, giving the Empire an opening to install a friendly leadership amenable to its wishes. In fact, party general secretary Zhao Ziyang was Washington's bet in Beijing. In his memoirs, Zhao expressed support for democracy and multiparty elections, the separation between the state and the party, and neoliberal economics such as privatization of state-owned enterprises. Lionized by Western media as a "liberal reformist," he was dubbed China's Gorbachev — and Yeltsin to boot.

    China could well have disintegrated under Zhao, as the USSR did under Gorbachev. Zhao’s neoliberal economic policies would likely have resulted in the wholesale plunder of state assets, as with Russia under Yeltsin. China could have become a de facto vassal state of America. The impending return of Hong Kong and Macau to China would have been dead before arrival, and Taiwan might have declared independence. The secession of Xinjiang and Tibet would have been on the cards.

    China and its people today have much to thank Deng for. He saw through the Empire's design to split and recolonize his country. With Deng's decisive steps to end the Tiananmen turmoil, China was able to retain its sovereignty and preferred course of market socialism. The Western sanctions and temporary disruption to his reforms were a small price to pay.

  3. The second part of the interview of young Chai Ling at the begining is missed. In that part, Chai Ling was asked whether she would stay there with her companion, her answer is "no, cause I want to survive". Don't you think it's rediculous? How could you instigate your companions to die or to bleed while you don't stay with them. And the truth is that she didn't stay there at all indeed and fled to the USA soon. Actually, most of the student leaders of this events had already gotten the visas of USA, which was almost impossible for normal students to get at that time, before they started the event. But most western medias missed this part "accidently" to make Chai Ling a great and brave girl and gives her a perfect reputation. Unfortunetly, most people in this world could only see the information from western medias, I am happy I can understand two languages and see the information from both sides to make a judement more comprehensively while most people could not. This event is definitely a tragedy but actually couldn't be called a massacre, which is totally exaggerated.

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