Massacre in Tiananmen Square
By Patrick Mondout
In the spring of 1989, an estimated one million students, workers and
others staged weeks of protests in Tiananmen Square, the political heart
of China. The pro-democracy movement had gained strength with the death of
former Communist Party boss Hu Yaobang, who had been relieved of his
duties by Chinese strongman Deng Xiaoping for being too lenient with the
With the protests growing larger and with the world starting to take
notice, Chinese premier Li Peng declared martial law on May 20. This
merely brought Tom Brokaw, CNN's Bernard Shaw, and the rest of the world's
media elites to Beijing for the inevitable showdown.
By early June, some of the protesters felt emboldened by the presence
of the the world's media and believed Xiaoping and his cronies would back
down rather than commit any atrocities with the everyone watching.
Meanwhile, hardliners in the Communist party were demanding action against
On June 3, 1989, with the world watching, Peng and the hardliners got
their wish. Army tanks were sent into the streets and an unknown number
(on both sides) were killed in the resulting violence that lasted
throughout the night.
Tiananmen Square is still a scene of frequent demonstrations and
arrests, as police try to silence protests by a banned
meditation-and-exercise group. As recently as New Year's Day 2000,
hundreds of Falun Gong supporters were arrested in the square. Human
rights groups say dozens of members of the religious group have died in
custody over the past year and thousands have been sent to prison camps.
book claims China's late leader Deng Xiaoping ordered troops to crush
a massive 1989 student protest because he feared it might topple the
Communist regime or lead to his own arrest. The assertion is based on
newly-revealed documents alleged to be transcripts of debates between
reformers and hard-liners in China's top leadership. The book, compiled
under a pseudonym by "Zhang Liang," and edited by two well-known
scholars of Chinese affairs, shows that the leadership was embarrassed,
angered and shaken by the peaceful-but-persistent demonstrations that
attracted global attention.
In an alleged transcript, Paramount leader Deng complains that the
'anarchy' is getting worse daily. Eventually the Chinese leadership
ordered troops to use tanks and guns to clear the square. Foreign
estimates put the death toll in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, mostly on
June 4th. Thousands more were arrested and many served long prison terms.
Chinese scholars have long said the crackdown was a result of reformers
losing an intense power struggle within the small, elderly, secretive
group that runs China. What is new here is the level of detail and insight
offered by these purported transcripts.
The documents are said to have been smuggled out of China by a former
senior Chinese civil servant, who asked not to be named publicly. He is
described as being sympathetic to Communist Party members who are trying
to resume political reform today. Columbia University scholar Andrew
Nathan, and Princeton University's Perry Link say they worked hard to make
sure the documents are authentic, but admit they can not be absolutely
certain. The book is called "The
It has attracted an unusual amount of attention in the United States,
with stories about it running on news services and airing on an
influential television program called '60-Minutes.' China's leaders may
have had reason for concern about the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.
Seventy years earlier government suppression of a far smaller protest
sparked a series of powerful political tides in China, including one that
became the ruling Communist Party.
Note: By documenting the truth here on
Awesome80s.com, we have upset the official censors in the brutal regime in
charge of China. It is not possible to access this page from inside that