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© 1995, Long Bow Group Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Within a week of June 4th the Army was firmly in control of
the city. The government then began a much harder job:
reestablishing its authority and credibility.
Arrests began immediately.
Those caught throwing rocks at the troops, or setting fire to
Army vehicles, were tried and summarily executed.
The government compiled wanted lists of leading participants
in the movement. Pictures of the 21 most-wanted activists were
shown repeatedly on TV.
When the most-wanted list was broadcast, I was on a boat bound
for Nanjing. I wasn't the kind of person who could take life on
the run. I wanted to return to Beijing and hide because I had so
many friends there. I thought, if I got arrested, so be it. As
soon as I came back to Beijing they got me.
GOVERNMENT FOOTAGE OF DAI QING
Despite her efforts to dissuade students from prolonged street
action, Dai Qing was among those arrested. She was jailed for ten
CHINESE GOVERNMENT VOICE-OVER
Dai Qing and others went to the Square adding fuel to the fire of dongluan.
WANG DAN - 4 1/2 years in prison
The crime of counter-revolution is very peculiar. What counts
is not your actions, but your intention. I said, "My intention
was to help our country democratize." But they said, "Everything
you did shows that your intention was to overthrow the
government, so you're a counter-revolutionary." Case closed.
HAN DONGFANG - 22 months in prison
When I was in jail I debated with my interrogators. They
insisted that the movement was premeditated and well-planned. I
told them it wasn't. I said that if conditions existed in our
country for people to premeditate and plan such a huge movement,
then the Communist Party would have been long gone, vanished
without a trace.
Liu Xiaobo, the teacher and critic who took part in the final
hunger strike, was jailed for twenty-one months.
CHINESE GOVERNMENT VOICE-OVER - EDITORIAL ON LIU XIAOBO
Let's examine Liu Xiaobo's deeds during the student unrest. Let's see how this evil mastermind conspired with reactionary forces at home and abroad to manipulate the students and instigate dongluan.
History will not conform to the will of reactionaries. The people, only the people, are the true masters of China!
When I left, I thought I'd never see my daughter again. She
stood in the doorway. She grabbed my clothes. So I played with
her and said, "Bye-bye."
No one else was at home. If my mother knew I was leaving, she
would never have let me go. I slipped out when she went out to do
the shopping. I said to my daughter, "Say bye-bye to Mama," and
pretended not to be sad.
After I left Beijing, I was among farmers. They said to me,
"Son, don't be afraid. We'll hide you now, just like we hid the
Communists during the War against Japan. Back then weren't the
Japanese all powerful? And we didn't let them find the
Communists. And now the Communists are all powerful, but we'll
never let them find you."
Almost as soon as the struggle over Tiananmen Square ended,
the struggle over the story of what had happened there began.
The official account was this:
No one had died during the clearing of the Square at dawn on
June 4th. In the approaches to the Square, "ruffians inciting a
violent counter-revolutionary insurrection" had been killed, as
had a small number of innocent bystanders.
The government went to extraordinary lengths to hunt down and
punish anyone whose story strayed from the official line.
One outraged bystander telling atrocity stories to a crowd was
interviewed by ABC News.
XIAO BIN, interviewed by ABC News
Is this what the People's Government does? Using tanks to crush people?
The Chinese government intercepted the satellite relay and
used part of the interview in a nationwide broadcast. It called
on informers to turn the man in.
He was spotted in his hometown, hundreds of miles from
CHINESE BROADCAST, XIAO BIN INFORMANTS
She said, "Look at that man! We just saw him on TV!" I said, "Where?" She said, "There!" I looked and there he was!
CHINESE GOVERNMENT VOICE-OVER
This vicious counter-revolutionary instigator is Xiao Bin.
He is a 42-year-old laid-off worker.
I realize that I've committed a crime. I've taken a stand against the people. So of course I'm a counter-revolutionary. However the Party decides to deal with me, I accept it.
Xiao Bin was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
His case was a warning to all: there was only one correct
version of events, the government's version.
Protesters who had been at the Square gave differing accounts
of what had happened.
Chai Ling, now hiding somewhere in China, sent her story out
via Hong Kong.
HONG KONG ANCHORWOMAN
And now here is the full 40-minute message in which Chai Ling recounts what happened between June 3rd and June 4th.
CHAI LING, in taped message
I am Chai Ling, Commander-in-Chief of the Defend Tiananmen Headquarters. I am still alive.
I am the most qualified person to speak about what happened in the Square between June 2nd and June 4th.
... Only later did we find out that some students still had illusions about the government and the army. They thought at worst they would be forcibly removed by the soldiers. They were exhausted and asleep in their tents. These students were crushed by tanks.
... Some say two hundred students died. Others say a total of four thousand people died in the Square. I don't know the exact numbers.
Some people said that two hundred died in the Square and others claimed that two thousand died. There were also stories of tanks
running over students who were trying to leave. I have to say
that I did not see any of that. I don't know where those people
did. I myself was in the Square until six-thirty in the morning.
I kept thinking, are we going to use lies to attack an enemy
who lies? Aren't facts powerful enough? To tell lies against our
enemy's lies only satisfies our need to vent our anger, but it's
a dangerous thing to do. Maybe your lies will be exposed, and
you'll be powerless to fight your enemy.
Chai Ling's 40-minute message ended with a call for the
Chinese people to rise up.
CHAI LING, in taped message
The more frenzied the fascists become in their brutal suppression, the closer we are to the birth of a true people's, democratic republic! The final moment has come for the survival of our nation! Compatriots, awaken! Down with fascists! Down with military rule! The people will be victorious!
There was no mass uprising.
In the weeks after June 4th, the government tried to clean
away the evidence of the movement and its suppression. People
stopped talking publicly about what they had seen and done in the
spring of 1989.
At one point just about everyone got involved in the movement.
Even many party organizations took part. But as soon as it became
clear that the government was in control, the movement
disappeared as quickly as it had emerged. So many people started
saying the opposite of what they really thought. And they
rationalized it: I have no choice but to go along.
This situation is not essentially different from what happened
at the height of the movement -- words became more radical day by
day and actions more irresponsible -- because in a crowd no one
felt the need to take individual responsibility. And when the
tide suddenly turned, they didn't have the inner strength to
stand by what they had said.
These two extremes are actually two sides of the same coin.
The legacy of the movement at Tiananmen is that it made us
think. There are two ways of going about change. One is the
large-scale mass movement, romantic and grand, which aims to
solve major problems overnight. The other method is gradual,
grassroots, solidly grounded. It looks for cracks in the system
and introduces specific democratic practices which don't
necessarily carry a big label saying "democracy."
Which one is more effective in changing China? In changing the
course of Chinese history?
I compare the 1989 Democracy Movement to an unripe fruit.
People were so hungry that they were desperate. When they
suddenly discovered a fruit, they pounced on it, and swallowed it
whole. Then they got a stomach ache and a bitter taste in the
mouth. So should they have eaten the fruit? You can say they
shouldn't have, but they were hungry. And if you say that they
should have, what they ate was still green, inedible.
Shortly after June 4th, Deng Xiaoping appeared on television
to praise the Army for its heroic efforts.
CHINESE TV ANNOUNCER
Deng Xiaoping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave a warm reception to the officers of the Martial Law Troops.
Deng Xiaoping had presided over a decade of profound economic transformation. And he had many times shielded reform from the attacks of hard-liners. Even after the crackdown of 1989 he would continue to push for reforms.
More than once, Deng had suffered from the absolute power
wielded by top leaders in China.
But his reforms stopped short of limiting his own power -- for
good and for evil.
Faced with a crisis, he reached for the old weapons.
Deng may have wanted to be remembered as a man who understood
the needs of the Chinese people, the Grand Architect of Reform,
but the Beijing massacre will forever be a part of his legacy.
DENG XIAOPING speaking to Martial Law officers
I propose that we stand for a moment of silent mourning for the martyrs.
In the government's account, Tiananmen Square was now returned
to the People.
Once again the revolution had been sanctified by the blood of
martyrs. State ceremonies paid tribute to the soldiers who died,
and honored their families.
All this talk about children being the flowers of the
motherland, the hope of the nation, is all for show. When they
feel that it is in the interest of the Party and the state, they
bring on swords, machine guns and tanks.
So I can't watch this stuff on TV. It hurts too much. A life
is a life -- why are people treated differently? All my son asked
for was a little equality. And it cost him his life.
YOUNG PIONEERS TAKING OATH AT THE MONUMENT
Beloved revolutionary martyrs, may you rest in peace!
The Young Pioneers will remember you!
The people will remember you!
The motherland will remember you!
Let our brilliant red scarves serve as our pledge.
We love the Chinese Communist Party!
We love the socialist motherland!
We love the People's Liberation Army!
We will carry on the cause of Communism!
Communism was once a shared ideal held in the face of
oppression and injustice.
The actual political and social systems built in its name fell
far short of its original promise. For a long time before the
killings in Beijing, Communism was losing credibility around the
It no longer grips the minds and imaginations of the Chinese
But the Communist Party has not thereby lost its power.
Power without faith leaves a vacuum that can quickly fill with
anger, resentment, and despair.
GARBAGE DUMP MUSIC VIDEO
GARBAGE DUMP LYRICS
This world we live in is like a garbage dump.
People are like insects,
All fighting one another.
We eat our conscience,
And we shit ideology.
Is there any hope?
Is there any hope?
Is there any hope?
Is there any hope?
After my son's death, I became suicidal. I had to struggle to
get through each day. I thought about other mothers like myself,
and young wives who'd lost their husbands, young children who'd
lost their fathers. I wanted to look for them so that we could
give each other comfort and support.
Should we simply wait for another chance to start a Democracy
Movement like 1989? Would that save China? I don't think so. The
only way to change our situation is for each one of us to make a
personal effort. Every small action counts.
When people abandon hope for a perfect future and faith in
great leaders, they are returned to the common dilemmas of
And there -- in personal responsibility, in civility, in
making sacred the duties of ordinary life -- a path may be found.
On the 100th day after my son's death, I brought his ashes
back home. He's been here ever since.
One day I want him to be buried with the others who fell with
him. I'm hoping that day will come, and I'm working towards it.