Written by Diane Gatterdam
Twenty-three years ago on this day Saturday April 29th 1989, the Chinese Government stubbornly refused to recognize the Student Federation led by Wu’er Kiaxi, Wang Dan, Wang Chaohua and Chai Ling. But, due to pressure from the April 27th march, the Chinese Authority conducted an insincere dialogue with students that was broadcast over the TV and radio.
The spokes person for the government, Yuan Mu, seated at the head of the table, was actually lecturing the students.
The student representatives were preselected from “government-recognized student unions” in order to fool the people into believing that it had begun genuine talks with the protesters. The Beijing Independent Student Union, which was just formed the day before, refused to accept this as a true dialogue.
None of the students from the Preparatory Committee knew anything about the meeting with Yuan Mu.
Big characters posters called Dazibao, denounced the dialogue meeting and were plastered all over the Triangle at Beida.
Meanwhile Wang Dan and Wu’er Kaixi held a surprise private press conference of their own at the Shangri-la Hotel in downtown Beijing, attended mostly by foreign reporters.
There were dozens of reporters and cameramen and a crowed of curious onlookers waiting in the parking lot.
They said they were there to dispel rumors that had been spread about them.
Wu’er Kiaxi stated that he was a Uyghur and not a Tibetan as many people believed, and that his father was not a high level government official.
They talked about some of the Federation’s meetings and what had been discussed in closed door sessions. They declared that their lives were in danger and might have to go underground.
Afterward some students criticized them for holding this press conference and for talking openly about what student leaders has said privately.
Shen Tong went back to his parents’ house that night, his father told him that officials from the municipal government came to talk to him and said that they were offering two ways out of this mess:
1. Would be to leave the Preparatory Committee
2. Would be to remain on the committee but report what happens to the government
Obviously, neither was an option.
A student leader from Nanking University made his way to Beijing. With no money, he snuck onto the train with only a pair of extra underwear in his pocket. Li Lu had a very interesting past including living though the earthquake in 1976 in Tangshan.
Li Lu went to Beida and met with Chai Ling and started work on the secretarial work of the Preparatory Committee and he and Chai Ling became friends immediately. Li Lu would later play a very important role in the student movement.
” A great movement will never die”
– Li Lu