Tiananmen Square Massacre

Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
#1
The "truth" people here accept regarding the Tiananmen Square Massacre is rather simplistic - millions of students wanted democracy in 1989, so they protested peacefully. In response, the CCP sent in tanks and soldiers proceeded to mow down 3,000 peaceful protestors. End of story. But is reality this simplistic? Is there more to this story than simply Gondor vs. Mordor? I think Tiananmen was a blur to most people and no one knows everything that happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989. So I think it is beneficial to discuss it the controversial portions of it - the CCP and PLA soldiers weren't the devil and the protestors weren't so innocent. It happened and I hope it never happens again.

The "protests" happened across China, not just Beijing. In 1989, there were protests even in Guizhou. Needless to say, this is something people in China know about due to the sheer scale of the event. The protest body isn't uniform. Just like the Occupy Wall Street Movement, there are many people from different walks of life with different objectives. Case in point, many of the protestors were not students nor were they pro-democracy activists. In addition to students who wanted democracy, there were also blue-collar workers with different goals, some of them just wanted Deng Xiaoping out, and there were also people who just wanted more transparency and less corruption.



The event was long and lasted weeks. But the story as told by many omit any build up to that dreaded massacre and jump straight to June 4 when the guns went off. In early days, the soldiers were unarmed and cordial, even friendly, with the students, as was the government as it had received and opened discussions with students. Riot control consisted of non-violence on part of the soldiers, such as the use of human walls. Violent measures involved scuffling and pushing. The primary concern of the soldiers was to preserve public order.





A friendly conversation



We also see soldiers just doing their jobs preserving order but were harassed and berated by some elements of the protest movement.



This is what interests me the most - the truth may be that elements of the protest movement drew the first blood and soldiers were on the receiving end first. Here, we see an unarmed soldier dragged out of his rank by an aggressive rioter. And then there are mobs of rioters who beat unarmed soldiers.





I cannot show more pictures because they are too graphic. Soldiers were isolated and hounded down by rioters. They were stripped nude, burned and lynched. Some had their charred corpses mutilated. A soldier was even forced against a bus, stripped nude, had a piece of metal forced through his stomach to spill his intestines and organs, and a rope around his neck. The rioters kept his cap on as a sort of sick art.

I think the reality at Tiananmen Square is more complex than what both Western media and CCP state propaganda broadcast. On one side of the spectrum, there is a simplistic view that the CCP is evil and just wasted a bunch of peaceful pro-democracy protestors because that's what the archetypical villain does. On the other side, the CCP claims that there were no massacre at all and censors the topic entirely, though this has not prevented Chinese people from learning about Tiananmen Square.

From what I could extrapolate:

The CCP was very corrupt and probably had to go. There were many students who wanted change and change included the CCP relinquishing power and transitioning to democracy OR keeping status quo but having more transparency and less corruption, depending on which element of the massive protest you ask. Other elements included industrial workers and rioters and troublemakers. The CCP was hardlined but did open up to the students to discuss with them. Things didn't turn out so great. The CCP, being stubborn, did not want to relinquish power and the students were youths, and thus likeimpetuous fire. It is confirmed troops were ordered to move in and clear the square and many innocents were killed. Supposedly 3,000 civilians were gunned down, but this might have happened after unarmed soldiers were victimized and brutalized by mobs of rioters, or that it became clear rioters had taken control of the movement and wrought havoc in the city.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2011
6,453
#2
Wikileaks already confirmed that the square itself was a bloodless event, it's just that a bunch of reporters outright lied about. The true bloodbath was mostly located in another section of the city, Muxidi, and the majority of victims here weren't protesting for democracy, they were not students. They were workers protesting the end of the "Iron Bowl", so if anything they didn't like China moving away from Communism. The students had a very bright future ahead of them, China had a great lack of college degree employees back then, so when push came to shove most students backed down quite peacefully because they had a lot to lose. Workers had more at stake (or so they thought), for they feared that without the government provided Iron Bowl and Iron Wage, they won't be able to put food on the table. These are the type of people who probably thought they didn't have much to lose. Ergo they were more resistant, and thus ended up being gunned down. But students, not workers, being gunned down defending democracy, as opposed to economical reasons, is simply more of a click-bait.

I suppose on both sides of the Ocean, students with college degrees are simply considered more important than workers. On one side the TianAnMen protestors were described as champions of freedom, whereas on the other side they were described as foreign-backed rioters. The workers who were protesting for a stable income were completely underrepresented, especially in the TianAnMen Square Massacre.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2009
1,260
#3
A. There the actual result of China in the near 3 decades since greatly challenge the notion that the CCP "had to go"

B. Corruption happens in every poor country, we need to seriously think about is this a chicken or egg thing, is the place poor because of corruption or is there corruption because the place is poor. given our evidence it seems that the later is closer to the truth than the former. Because the problem is that China in the 90s and early 00s were arguably MORE corrupt than they were in the 80s, so why did one result in a huge protest and the other resulted in the actual real great leap forward? (this is a very complex issue and ties into the whole greater developing world's challenge. )

C. This was 1989, it was the end of the cold war, we need to seriously know that the Americans were quiet literally trying to overthrow the CCP, there's no real if but maybes here, we have countless testimony from actual participants of the time that the VOA was literally urging them to violently overthrow the government . And from the CCP's prospective even if the CIA's actual influence and power over the protester was neglect able, the obvious fact that they're there greatly changes the level of perceived threat.

D. Fake news didn't just come up today, it's been quite definitively proven that 90% of the Western journalist basically made most of the **** up about 6/4 because they were hiding in the hotel and only heard gun shot and know people died. That the CCP's version of the story is actually much closer to the truth (that there were no students killed on the square, that there were soldiers killed by rioters etc. )


E. The political back ground on this is the REAL reason what happened, suffice to say that we can summarize this as the old guard's revenge against the reformist under Deng, and in the end Deng more or less made a dark compromise where he sacrificed the reformist leaders like Zhao Zhi Yang and put the old guards into power..... to do the same reforms ( and yes, that's how politics work. you ideological stances is merely a means to power. ) this is why ass holes like Li Peng's family have gigantic stakes in a ton of things (including running the 3 gorges dam )

F. we have to understand a major issue of the post Mao era's crisis was not fully at an end until after this , it was in the immediate aftermath of 6/4 that Deng called up Jiang Zhe Ming, a literal no body in the power structure, and made him the future leader of China, and it was the stable succession from Deng to Jiang to Hu that ensured the PRC is now an actual stabilized political entity which was not the case in 1989, because even now there are a lot of odd disconnect between title and power in the PRC, and it was far worse in 1989.

We should note for example, Deng never NEVER held the title of Chairman of the People's Republic China (or even the communist party ) for example . which would be what people think the leader should hold right? as it turns out the real power is actually the Chairman of the Military committee . and he chaired that, because you know, the final power in country still lies in whoever controls the military and the process of taking the military out of politics is difficult and never really fool proof.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,071
Lisbon, Portugal
#4
Wikileaks already confirmed that the square itself was a bloodless event, it's just that a bunch of reporters outright lied about. The true bloodbath was mostly located in another section of the city, Muxidi, and the majority of victims here weren't protesting for democracy, they were not students. They were workers protesting the end of the "Iron Bowl", so if anything they didn't like China moving away from Communism. The students had a very bright future ahead of them, China had a great lack of college degree employees back then, so when push came to shove most students backed down quite peacefully because they had a lot to lose. Workers had more at stake (or so they thought), for they feared that without the government provided Iron Bowl and Iron Wage, they won't be able to put food on the table. These are the type of people who probably thought they didn't have much to lose. Ergo they were more resistant, and thus ended up being gunned down. But students, not workers, being gunned down defending democracy, as opposed to economical reasons, is simply more of a click-bait.

I suppose on both sides of the Ocean, students with college degrees are simply considered more important than workers. On one side the TianAnMen protestors were described as champions of freedom, whereas on the other side they were described as foreign-backed rioters. The workers who were protesting for a stable income were completely underrepresented, especially in the TianAnMen Square Massacre.
Great post, and it clearly shows that the Tiananmen protests were not just a pro-democracy peaceful student protest like the Western media likes to portray, but neither it was a violent CIA counter-revolutionary conspiracy as it is portrayed by the Chinese government.

Most of the people killed were part of the Beijing working-class who joined the initial students movement and form a cordon around the square to protect the sit-in students. Contrary to the students, the working-class movement was not motivated by grand ideas like democracy, freedom of the press or what have you - they were protesting against the economic liberal reforms and the growth of corruption inside the government.
 
Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
#5
Great post, and it clearly shows that the Tiananmen protests were not just a pro-democracy peaceful student protest like the Western media likes to portray, but neither it was a violent CIA counter-revolutionary conspiracy as it is portrayed by the Chinese government.
There's got to be truth to both. There were no doubt genuine calls for democracy. But was the entire movement completely void of elements that did not receive any form of foreign backing?
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,071
Lisbon, Portugal
#6
There's got to be truth to both. There were no doubt genuine calls for democracy. But was the entire movement completely void of elements that did not receive any form of foreign backing?
But you have you to show clear evidence there was any form of foreign backing.

Receiving foreign backing doesn't automatically de-legitimises and entire movement, just like the proof of Russian hacking in US elections doesn't de-legitimises Trump's Presidency.

And we also have to take into account that the Chinese Communist Party received plenty of foreign backing during the years of struggle as well...
 
Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
#7
But you have you to show clear evidence there was any form of foreign backing.

Receiving foreign backing doesn't automatically de-legitimises and entire movement, just like the proof of Russian hacking in US elections doesn't de-legitimises Trump's Presidency.

And we also have to take into account that the Chinese Communist Party received plenty of foreign backing during the years of struggle as well...
I am asking, not asserting. If there is anything in support of RollingWave's 3rd point, I'd like to read it.

There is good reason to conjecture that it was likely, but not necessarily condemn that it did. The CIA does have a history, and a specific one relating to China (Tibet, Dalai Lama, payroll, training, and uprising.)

I also did not attempt to bash the entire movement. I did state there were genuine protestors who wanted democracy.
 
Last edited:

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,606
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#8
The point is not the nature of the protest [in democracies all popular protests have to be even protected by the State], but how the public authorities managed it.

When you send tanks into the square of a city ... that's dictatorship. Period.
 
Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
#9
The point is not the nature of the protest [in democracies all popular protests have to be even protected by the State], but how the public authorities managed it.

When you send tanks into the square of a city ... that's dictatorship. Period.
The tanks weren't sent in response of a protest though. Did you see the pictures of unarmed soldiers? Is killing and beating unarmed order keepers a protest or a riot?
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,071
Lisbon, Portugal
#10
The tanks weren't sent in response of a protest though. Did you see the pictures of unarmed soldiers? Is killing and beating unarmed order keepers a protest or a riot?
Was there any report of soldiers badly beaten or dead by protesters before the tanks and martial law being promulgated in Beijing? That's the one billion dollar question.
 

Similar History Discussions