This is a response to comment number 2 made by “Matthew Tan” in our recent post about China’s “Tank Man”.
In his comment, Matthew Tan posted a link to a PRC propaganda video, a pastiche of several clips of video footage of the events in Beijing on June 4 1989. We do not challenge the validity of the video footage, and we see nothing really “new” in the video of “Tank Man”.
But what we do challenge is the Chinese narration which argues that the Chinese Army (PLA) exercised “restraint” on that day.
Yes indeed, the Chinese who drove the tank in front of which “Tank Man” risked his life, exercised restraint. He did not kill “Tank Man”, and so he deserves to be honoured for his basic human decency.
But is it such a surprise that one Chinese soldier exercised restraint and acted with basic human decency? Only the most vicious racist would say otherwise. Of course there are many morally decent men in the PLA!
But the existence of one act, or several acts, of charity and decency among the PLA on that day, can not logically be extrapolated as evidence that the PLA as a whole acted with restraint. It is a logical fallacy to argue so.
The existence of some PLA acts of decency and charity on that day does not change the fact that on the whole, the PLA did not act with restraint. And the simple evidence of this is the fact that at least hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of Chinese citizens were massacred by the PLA on that day.
To put this in proper perspective, let’s take a look at a photo of several of Russia’s “Tank Men”, Russians who risked their lives to stop the Soviet Army tanks that the Communist Party sent into Moscow on 19 August, 1991:
Notice the Russian soldier still sitting in his tank turret, overwhelmed with grief and repentance for how he almost turned his guns upon his own people.
You see, when the Soviet Communist Party sent tanks into Moscow in 1991 to silence and to murder their fellow citizens, there was not just one “Tank Man” in Moscow, but thousands. Many of them were old women who reproached the Russian soldiers and remonstrated with them to refrain from using violence, and the Russian soldiers listened to their old Grandmothers, and their guns remained silent, and then the soldiers repented. Consequently, only around three Russians were killed on that day, all of them through accidents like slipping and falling.
So don’t tell me that the PLA acted with “restraint”. If the PLA as a whole had acted with restraint, then there would have been not just one, but thousands of “Tank Men” in Beijing on June 4 1989, and not thousands of dead but just two or three.