Where You Were Friends During June 4 "Incident"?

If I ask you that you flashback your memory to June 4,1989,do press on your cerebral card what you you were doing and which part of India,China or world you were.
I had just passed my 9th Exam in a sleepy town of Ayodhya but that does not mean I was not aware what was happening in world as was my nature. Everyday I rode my bicycle full one hour in advance to reach my uncle’s house on street of Ayodhya from my village to have tea and read news papers before departing for school.

Similarly on 5th June too I arrived my Uncle’s place who quickly offered me tea and a Black & White ‘Navbharat Times’ all to put me in shock. In a Maoist China under influence of Deng-Xiao-Peng and premiership of General Secretary Zhao Ziyang,Premier Li Pend and Party Chief Wen-Zia-Bao nothing had remained in favor of freedom and democracy.So as I read headline of that Hindi Daily I read news of 3000 of our students brothers and sisters mainly from Peking University and Tsunghia University but also from other Universities from across China had been massacred by Tanks and artillery of People’s Republic of China.
June 4 Incident as Chinese call it to dilute the intensity of massacre of your 3000 brothers and sisters on Tiananmen Square in Beijing is also known as ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’ .But as many may believe it was not all of sudden. Set off by the death of pro-reform Communist leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989, amid the backdrop of rapid economic development and social changes in post-Mao China, the protests reflected anxieties about the country's future in the popular consciousness and among the political elite. The reforms of the 1980s had led to a nascent market economy which benefited some people but seriously disaffected others, and the one-party political system also faced a challenge of legitimacy. Common grievances at the time included inflation, corruption, limited preparedness of graduates for the new economy,[8] and restrictions on political participation. The students called for democracy, greater accountability, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech, although they were highly disorganized and their goals varied. At the height of the protests, about 1 million people assembled in the Square.


The Cultural Revolution ended with chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976. The movement, spearheaded by Mao, caused severe damage to the country's originally diverse economic and social fabric. The country was mired in poverty as economic production slowed or came to a halt. Political ideology was paramount in the lives of ordinary people as well as the inner workings of the Communist Party itself. At the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee in December 1978, Deng Xiaoping emerged as China's de facto leader. Deng launched a comprehensive program to reform the Chinese economy. Within several years, the country's direction entirely changed. The focus on ideological purity was replaced by a full-on drive to achieve material prosperity.
To run his reform agenda, Deng promoted his allies to top government and party posts. Hu Yaobang became General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1982, while Zhao Ziyang was named Premier, the head of government, in September 1980.
The reforms aimed to decrease the role of the state in the economy and gradually introduced private forms of production in agriculture and industry. By 1981, roughly 73% of rural farms had de-collectivized and 80% of state owned enterprises were permitted to retain profits. Within a few years, production increased by leaps and bounds, and poverty was reduced substantially.


Following the 1988 Beidaihe meeting, the party leadership under Deng agreed to a transition to a market-based pricing system. News of the relaxation of price controls triggered waves of cash withdrawals, buying and hoarding all over China.[28] The government panicked and rescinded the price reforms in less than two weeks, but its impact was pronounced for much longer. Inflation soared. Official indices report that the Consumer Price Index increased 30% in Beijing between 1987 and 1988, leading to panic among salaried workers that they could no longer afford staple goods. Moreover, in the new market economy, unprofitable state-owned enterpriseswere pressured to cut costs. This threatened a vast proportion of the population which relied on the "iron rice bowl", i.e. a host of social benefits such as job security, medical care and subsidized housing.
In mid-1986, astrophysics professor Fang Lizhi returned from a position at Princeton University and began a personal tour around universities in China; speaking about liberty, human rights, and separation of powers. Fang was part of a wider undercurrent within the elite intellectual community that thought China's poverty and underdevelopment, and the disaster of the Cultural Revolution, were a direct result of the authoritarian political system and the rigid command economy.The view that political reform was the only answer to China's on-going problems gained widespread appeal among students, as Fang's recorded speeches became widely circulated all over the country. In response, Deng Xiaoping warned that Fang was blindly worshipping Western lifestyles, capitalism, and multi-party systems, while undermining China's socialist ideology, traditional values, and the party's leadership.


Inspired by Fang and other 'people-power' movements around the world, in December 1986, student demonstrators staged protests against the slow pace of reform. The issues were wide-ranging, and included demands for economic liberalization, democracy, and rule of law. While the protests were initially contained in Hefei, where Fang lived, they quickly spread to Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities. This alarmed the central leadership, who accused the students of instigating Cultural Revolution-style turmoil.


General secretary Hu Yaobang was blamed for taking a soft attitude and mishandling the protests, thus undermining social stability. He was denounced thoroughly by conservatives. Hu was forced to resign as general secretary on 16 January 1987. Then the party began the "Anti-bourgeois liberalization Campaign", taking aim at Hu, political liberalization and Western-inspired ideas in general. The Campaign stopped student protests and tightened the political environment, but Hu remained popular among progressives in the party, intellectuals, and students.
Starting on the night of 17 April, three thousand PKU students marched from the campus towards Tiananmen Square, and soon nearly a thousand students from Tsinghua joined. Upon arrival, they soon joined forces with those already gathered at the Square. As its size grew, the gathering gradually evolved into a protest, as students began to draft a list of pleas and suggestions (Seven Demands) for the government:
1. Affirm Hu Yaobang's views on democracy and freedom as correct.
2. Admit that the campaigns against spiritual pollution and bourgeois liberalization had been wrong.
3. Publish information on the income of state leaders and their family members.
4. Allow privately run newspapers and stop press censorship.
5. Increase funding for education and raise intellectuals' pay.
6. End restrictions on demonstrations in Beijing.
7. Provide objective coverage of students in official media.

On 22 April, near dusk, serious rioting broke out in Changsha and Xi'an. In Xi'an, arson from rioters destroyed cars and houses, and looting occurred in shops near the city's Xihua Gate. In Changsha, 38 stores were ransacked by looters. Over 350 people were arrested in both cities. In Wuhan, university students organized protests against the provincial government. As the situation became more volatile nationally, Zhao Ziyang called numerous meetings of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC). Zhao stressed three points: discourage students from further protests and ask them to go back to class, use all measures necessary to combat rioting, and open forms of dialogue with students at different levels of government.[55] Premier Li Peng called upon Zhao to condemn protestors and recognize the need to take more serious action. Zhao dismissed Li's views. Despite calls for him to remain in Beijing, Zhao left for a scheduled state visit to North Korea on 23 April.

On 26 April, the party's official newspaper People's Daily issued a front-page editorial titled "It is necessary to take a clear-cut stand against disturbances." The language in the editorial effectively branded the student movement to be an anti-party, anti-government revolt.

The article enraged students, who interpreted it as a direct indictment on the protests and its cause. The editorial backfired. Instead of scaring students into submission, it squarely antagonized the students against the government. The polarizing nature of the editorial made it a major sticking point for the remainder of the protests. The editorial evoked memories of the Cultural Revolution, using similar rhetoric as that used during the 1976 Tiananmen Incident—an event that was initially branded an anti-government conspiracy but was later rehabilitated as "patriotic" under Deng's leadership.
Organized by the Union on 27 April, some 50,000–100,000 students from all Beijing universities marched through the streets of the capital to Tiananmen Square, breaking through lines set up by police, and receiving widespread public support along the way, particularly from factory workers. The student leaders, eager to show the patriotic nature of the movement, also toned down anti-Communist slogans, choosing to present a message of "anti-corruption, anti-cronyism", but "pro-party".] In a twist of irony, student factions who genuinely called for the overthrow of the Communist Party gained traction as the result of a 26 April editorial.

The students remained in the Square during the Gorbachev visit; his welcoming ceremony was held at the airport. The Sino-Soviet summit, the first of its kind in some 30 years, marked the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations, and was seen as a breakthrough of tremendous historical significance for China's leaders. However, its smooth proceedings was derailed by the student movement; this created a major embarrassment ("loss of face") for the leadership on the global stage, and drove many moderates in government onto a more 'hardliner' path.[73] The summit between Deng and Gorbachev took place at the Great Hall of the People amid the backdrop of commotion and protest in the Square. When Gorbachev met with Zhao on 16 May, Zhao told him, and by extension the international press, that Deng was still the 'paramount authority' in China. Deng felt that this remark was Zhao's attempt to shift blame for mishandling the movement to him. Zhao's defense against this accusation was that privately informing world leaders that Deng was the true center of power was standard operating procedure; Li Peng had made nearly identical private statements to US president George H.W. Bush in February 1989. Nevertheless, the statement marked a decisive split between the country's two most senior leaders .


University students in Shanghai also took to the streets to commemorate the death of Hu Yaobang and protest against certain policies of the government. In many cases, these were supported by the universities' own party cells. Jiang Zemin, then-Municipal Party Secretary, addressed the student protesters in a bandage and 'expressed his understanding' as he was a former student agitator before 1949. At the same time, he moved swiftly to send in police forces to control the streets and to purge Communist Party leaders who had supported the students.
The Chinese government declared martial law on 20 May and mobilized at least 30 divisions from five of the country's seven military regions. At least 14 of PLA's 24 army corps contributed troops. As many as 250,000 troops were eventually sent to the capital, some arriving by air and others by rail. Guangzhou's civil aviation authorities put regular airline tickets on hold to prepare for transporting military units.
Three intellectuals, Liu Xiaobo, Zhou Duo, Gao Xin and a Taiwanese singer Hou Dejian declared a second hunger strike because they wanted to revive the pro-democracy movement. After weeks of occupying the Square, the students were tired, and internal rifts opened between moderate and hardliner student groups. In their declaration speech, the hunger strikers openly criticized the government's suppression of the movement to remind the students that their cause was worth fighting for, and pushed them to continue their occupation of the Square.
On the evening of 3 June, state-run television warned residents to stay indoors but crowds of people took to the streets, as they had two weeks before, to block the incoming army. PLA units advanced on Beijing from every direction—the 38th, 63rd and 28th Armies from the west, the 15th Airborne Corps, 20th, 26th and 54th Armies from the south, the 39th Army and the 1st Armored Division from the east and the 40th and 64th Armies from the north.

The Type 59 main battle tank, here on display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution in western Beijing, was deployed by the People's Liberation Army on 3 June 1989.

Type 63 armored personnel carrierdeployed in Beijing in 1989

Unlike the 1976 Tiananmen Incident, which did not involve the military, in 1989 soldiers were armed with the Type 56 assault rifle (above), a variant of the AKS-47(below) and fired live ammunition at civilians.


Chang'an Avenue
At about 10 pm the 38th Army began to open fire upward into the air as they traveled east on West Chang'an Avenue toward the city centre. They initially intended the warning shots to frighten and disperse large crowds gathering to stop their progress. This attempt failed. The earliest casualties occurred as far west as Wukesong, where Song Xiaoming, a 32-year-old aerospace technician, was the first confirmed fatality of the night. Several minutes later, when the convoy eventually encountered a substantial blockade somewhere east of the 3rd Ring Road, they opened automatic rifle fire directly at protesters.The crowds were stunned that the army was using live ammunition and reacted by hurling insults and projectiles.The troops used expanding bullets, prohibited by international law for use in warfare, which expand upon entering the body and create larger wounds.
At 8:30 pm, army helicopters appeared above the Square and students called for campuses to send reinforcements. At 10 pm, the founding ceremony of the Tiananmen Democracy University was held as scheduled at the base of the Goddess of Democracy. At 10:16 pm, the loudspeakers controlled by the government warned that troops may take "any measures" to enforce martial law. By 10:30 pm, news of bloodshed to the west and south of the city began trickling into the Square, often told by witnesses drenched in blood. At midnight, the students' loudspeaker announced news that a student had been killed on West Chang'an Avenue, near the Military Museum and a somber mood settled on the Square. Li Lu, the deputy commander of the student headquarters, urged students to remain united in defending the Square through non-violent means. At 12:30 am, Wu'erkaixi fainted after learning that a female student at Beijing Normal University, who had left campus with him earlier in the evening, had just been killed. Wuerkaixi was taken away by ambulance. By then, there were still 70,000–80,000 people in the Square.
On 5 June, the suppression of the protest was immortalized outside of China via video footage and photographs of a lone man standing in front of a column of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square via Chang'an Avenue. The "Tank Man", as it became known, became one of the most iconic photographs in the 20th century. As the tank driver tried to go around him, the "Tank Man" moved into the tank's path. He continued to stand defiantly in front of the tanks for some time, then climbed up onto the turret of the lead tank to speak to the soldiers inside. After returning to his position in front of the tanks, the man was pulled aside by a group of people.

Although the fate of "Tank Man" following the demonstration is not known, then-paramount Chinese leader Jiang Zemin stated in 1990 that he did not think the man was killed.Time later named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
The number of deaths and the extent of bloodshed in the Square itself have been in dispute since the events. Chinese authorities actively suppressed discussion of casualty figures immediately after the events, and estimates rely heavily on eyewitness testimony, hospital records, and organized efforts by victims' relatives. As a result, large discrepancies exist among various casualty estimates. Initial estimates ranged from the official figure of a few hundred to several thousand.
With the imposition of martial law, the Chinese government cut off the satellite transmissions of western broadcasters such as CNN and CBS. Broadcasters tried to defy these orders by reporting via telephone. Footage was quickly smuggled out of the country. The only network which was able to record shots during the night of 4 June was Televisión Española of Spain (TVE). During the military action, some foreign journalists faced harassment from authorities. CBS correspondent Richard Roth and his cameraman were taken into custody while filing a report from the Square via mobile phone.
Several foreign journalists who had covered the crackdown were expelled in the weeks that followed while others were harassed by authorities or blacklisted from reentering the country. In Shanghai, foreign consulates were told that the safety of journalists who failed to heed newly enacted reporting guidelines could not be guaranteed

Views: 36

Comment

You need to be a member of Global Ethics Network to add comments!

Join Global Ethics Network

Carnegie Council

Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, with Larry Diamond

Larry Diamond's core argument is stark: the defense and advancement of democratic ideals relies on U.S. global leadership. If the U.S. does not reclaim its traditional place as the keystone of democracy, today's authoritarian trend could become a tsunami that could provide an opening for Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and their admirers to turn the 21st century into a dark time of surging authoritarianism.

Global Ethics Weekly: Foreign Policy & the 2020 Democratic Candidates, with Nikolas Gvosdev

Will Joe Biden's "restorationist" foreign policy resonate with voters? What would a "progressive" approach to international relations look like for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders? What role will foreign policy play in the 2020 Election? Senior Fellow Nikolas Gvosdev looks at these questions and more as he and host Alex Woodson discuss a crowded 2020 Democratic primary field.

The Crack-Up: A Hundred Years of Student Protests in China, with Jeffrey Wasserstrom

In the latest "Crack-Up" podcast, China expert Jeffrey Wasserstrom discusses the rich history of Chinese student protests. From the May Fourth movement in 1919 to Tiananmen Square in 1989 to today's mass demonstrations in Hong Kong, what are the threads that tie these moments together? Don't miss this fascinating talk, which also touches on Woodrow Wilson, the Russian Revolution, and a young Mao Zedong.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

VIDEOS

SUPPORT US

GEO-GOVERNANCE MATTERS

© 2019   Created by Carnegie Council.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service


The views and opinions expressed in the media, comments, or publications on this website are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Carnegie Council.