23 Year Remembrance of Tiananmen Square – June 2nd 1989, Beijing China

Written by Diane Gatterdam

Anti-government graffiti on the wall of Zhongnanhai
where top Chinese Communist party leaders reside.

Twenty-three years ago on this day Friday June 2nd 1989, Deng Xiaoping and party elders met with the Standing Committee of the Politburo, topic: “ How to put a quick end to the turmoil and restore order to the capital.”

“In Chinese tradition there is no such notion as compromise,” said Xiang Xiaoji. “You either die or I die….. This is philosophy of the Chinese Communist Party of struggle.”
*(Note- This is still the same philosophy that stands today in 2012 as the CCP fights tooth and nail to stay alive)

“If the turmoil created by this small handful of people is not resolutely put down, then there will be no peace in either the Party or the country,” the 84 year old Chen Yun Chairman of the Central Advisory Commission, a bastion of the Gang of elders, had warned.

“ There is no way for us to retreat” President Yang Shangkun warned.
“To retreat means our downfall, to retreat means the downfall of the Peoples Republic of China.”

There was a vote and it was decided to clear the Square by force.

Deng closed the meeting by ordering Yang Shangkun to pass the decision along to the Central Military Commission for execution…

In the afternoon on the Square Hou Dejian and three intellectuals, Liu Xiaobo, Zhou Duo and Gao Xin – formally announced that they were beginning their hunger strike.

-Hou Dejian was a well-known Rock Pop singer; his hit song “Children of the Dragon” was know nation wide.

-Liu Xiaobo was a literary critic and young scholar from Beishida and had just come back from the New York to help the students. He also helped Wu’er Kaixi behind the scenes. (As most know, Lui Xiaobo is in prison today for his continued fight for the human rights of all the Chinese people. Hero 21 years ago-hero today)

-Zhou Duo was an economist with the privately owned and highly successful Stone Corporation.

-Gao Xin a former editor.

Their written declaration called upon the Chinese people to observe their duty as responsible citizens by supporting a peaceful democratization process. They called for an independent civil society that could check and balance the government and a government that used democratic procedures rather than arbitrary authority.

“We would rather have ten devils checking on one another, than one angel holding absolute power.”

Their statement criticized the government for suppressing a popular movement, but it also criticized the students for neglecting democratic procedures in spite of their democratic ideals.

This announcement ceremony drew the attention of high-ranking people in the Party and also figured in their final decision on the afternoon of June 3rd to clear the Square by force.

New tents were set up on the Square this day in orderly rows with hundreds of flags over them, and a new loudspeaker was on its way from Hong Kong.

In the early evening of the 2nd, the Square was peaceful. In the student headquarters they were discussing the latest news. An announcement had been posted on walls around the city, signed by the “Thieves Association”: “To show our support of the student movement, we will go on strike. We will no longer steal.”

Crime rates fell to the lowest point in the nations history. Everyone seemed to be on strike in the city, including transport workers and traffic police. Workers and ordinary citizens were helping to keep order.

Rock star Hou Dejian arrival in the Square attracted a great deal of attention and thousands of young people who showed up on the Square that night.

Han Dongfang gave what was to be his last interview with a foreign journalist for almost 3 years.

Han Dongfang

The reporter asked him whether he thought the Party could ever be reformed. As usual, Han chose his words with care:

“I believe that the Communist Party will still be able to overcome its difficulties, that it will accept the people’s suggestions and keep its officials honest and uncorrupted. The constitution is the highest law; it is the highest embodiment of the people’s will. Everything should be done subject to the rule of law.”

Events were now moving, however in a different direction. Only hours later, a People’s Armed Police jeep jumped a curb and hit three people in the western suburbs of Beijing, killing all three.

A crowd of several thousand enraged local residents quickly formed, many of them suspecting foul play and calling for revenge.

Worker Zheng Lubing

A worker came running into the square, blood running down his head and face. He had been caught in the chaos.

When news first came near midnight that the army had started to move into the city not many people took notice, because there had been rumors for days, and the army had been pulling back avoiding confrontation with the unarmed people.

Then someone reported that an army unit had reached Sanhuan Road- only a kilometer from the Square. Someone else came to the student leaders and reported that a large unit was only 55 meters away.

The students immediately went on alert. They called on all students and people of Beijing to mobilize and stop the trucks and tanks from coming closer.

More and more reports of troop movement kept coming in.

“Representatives from schools had already gathered in front of the headquarters, we decided that we should keep order in the Square no matter what happened nearby.

If we could prevent the army actually entering the Square, we would be victorious. Even if they got in, we would still persist in the policy of not attacking if attacked. We must all keep cool.

A strange, tense peace came over the Square. Over the loudspeakers we broadcast Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, it’s solemn sound reverberated throughout the Square, sounding so mysterious, so other–worldly, that helped calm their worry and fear of death even as it elevated our soul………”
- Li Lu

No one know what was to happen and that this was the last night of innocents for the students and the country of China…

With Liberty and Justice for all….

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