23 Year Remembrance of Tiananmen Square – May 24th 1989, Beijing China

Written by Diane Gatterdam

Twenty-three years ago on this day Wednesday May 24th 1989, at 1:30 100,000 students lead by Chai Ling took a pledge in front of the Monument.

The oath went as follows:

“To promote the motherland’s democratization, to protect the dignity of the constitution, to protect the great motherland from the machinations of a small handful of conspirators, to prevent 1.1 billion countrymen from being scarified in blood under the terror of military rule, to save the Chinese people from falling under fascist dictatorial rule, to assure that millions and millions of children will enjoy an atmosphere of freedom and democracy, I swear to devote my life an my loyalty to protect to the death Tiananmen Square, the capital of Beijing, and the republic. I will Struggle to the end again all difficulties!”

They announced another election of leaders:

Wang Dan read a version of the statement of the FASSC’S declaration about the decisive battle between “ Light and Darkness”. Wang stressed that the students now had no choice but to continue to battle to the end, because if they retreated from the Square as losers, they would become targets of the new ideological rectification campaign.

The student leaders issued new passes and set up new guard lines around the square, but most importantly they had to decide on future strategy.

At 9:00pm they began a meeting of over 400 representatives from 300 universities around the country.

They knew that there were many plain-clothes police among the students but all they could do about that was to have two layers of pickets and issue special passes for the representatives.

Chai Ling said a few words on behalf of the headquarters. Feng Congde, Zhang Boli and then the representatives spoke. Tempers ran high.

Li Lu, Chai Ling and Feng Congde

Li Lu chaired the meeting.

Some said that they had better go right now to stop the army units from driving in, instead of talking; it was hard to keep the meeting in order.

“I seemed to always to be stressing the fundamental concepts of representative democracy, while democracy was an ideal and a rallying cry, people know very little about it or how it worked.”
– Li Lu

Lu said,” We must keep calm. We are shouldering the responsibility for the future of China.”

By now the meeting was very quiet. Li Lu summoned up the ideas that they were given into several proposals.

  • To stay on the Square and hold talks with the Government, gradually leaving as they accepted the student’s demands
  • To stay on the square, but consider the Government our enemy, to launch strikes, call for special meetings of the Party and the National Peoples Congress.
  • To try to stage a coup within the army, the Government, or the Party
  • To keep the movement pure and not get involved in any power struggle, persuading the Government and Party to negate the April 26th editorial and state that the student movement is democratic and patriotic.

April 26th editorial

After a three hour discussion they voted, and at about 4 or 5am the results of the voting was compiled.

There were 288 valid votes:

  • 162 wanted the frontal attack
  • 80 wanted to remain in the Square and carry out dialogue with the Government
  • 38 wanted to persist in the purity of the student movement and not get involved in the power struggles at the top
  • 8 wanted to leave the square

They would not be leaving the Square…..

Protester in Paris may 24th 1989

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