23 Year Remembrance of Tiananmen Square – June 1st 1989, Beijing China

Written by Diane Gatterdam

Twenty-three years ago on this day Thursday June 1st 1989, every member of the Politburo received a copy of a report entitled “The True Nature of the Turmoil.”

Ordered by Li Peng, the report had been drafted by Li Ximing, and Chen Xitong in the name of the Beijing Party Committee and the People’s Government. Its aims were to establish the legality and necessity of clearing Tiananmen Square.

It portrayed the unarmed students and the crowds of citizens who supported them as terrorist who were preparing an armed seizure of power. It also contained the first use of the phrase “Counterrevolutionary Riot.”

Also on June 1st the headquarters of the martial law troops sent a report to the Politburo and Central Military Commission stating “ The officers and soldiers of the Martial law troops are ready both spiritually and physically and wait only for orders from the Central Military Commission before moving to clear Tiananmen Square.

The report told the top decision makers that the choice was now theirs…

The Peoples Daily carried a signed letter by eight Beida University Professors who called on the students to return to their studies.

Also a former student demonstrator published an article in the Beijing Daily entitled, “Tiananmen I Cry for You” in which he described messy, chaotic conditions on the Square, expressed his disillusionment with the whole movement, and called for the remaining protesters to withdraw.

These two articles triggered a wave of protests from the students in the Square and on the campuses. Some demanded the eight professors be fired and one wall poster suggested that Beijing Daily be burned down.

Li Lu was woken up and told that someone had kidnapped Chai Ling and Feng Congde.

He was sleeping in different tents each night due to security, and as he entered the student headquarters he saw about a dozen men in a semi-circle facing the entrance. Chai Ling and Feng Congde sat half dressed on the floor in the middle. Around Feng Congde’s neck hung a knotted scarf that had obviously been used as a gag.

Li Lu, Chai Ling and Feng Congde

Student Leaders headquarters

A student named Wu Lai, who had previously tried to take over the student headquarters since May 16th and who was staying across the street that the Capital Hotel was sitting on a low stool, pointing his finger threateningly in their faces.

Wu was demanding to know where the money was spent that had come from overseas and said that he had evidence of embezzlement. They went back and forth until the student headquarters guards (who had been drinking the night before) came and drove him out.

Feng Congde

Chai Ling and Feng Congde stopped Wang Dan from having a news conference in the Square that day but held their own about the “kidnapping event”.

The attempted kidnapping was not the only serious event that happened in the Square that day. Guards reported that the wires of two if the loudspeakers where cut, as were telephone lines from the headquarters to the outside.

June 1st was Children’s Day and many children arrived in the square that day to support the students and brought donations. They were given armbands on which was written: ”Please remember forever the Democratic Movement of 1989.”

They also came to see the Goddess of Democracy. Lines of guards surrounded it for protection.

Lui Xiaobo

That night Liu Xiaobo, a lecturer at Beijing Normal University, (who had been working overseas and flew back to Beijing when reading about the revolt) and Hou Dejian, a popular singer from Taiwan came to the square and announced that they would begin a hunger strike the next day.

Hou Dejian Pop singer from Taiwan

June 1, 1989 -There is no backing down there is no turning back now.

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