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An Account of the Massacre in Tiananmen Square

June 4, 2019
Plain English Version

People transport a wounded woman during the military crackdown in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Photo Credit: David Turnley/Corbis -- VCG, via Getty Images

It is thirty years ago in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. A call comes into a reporter. The Chinese Army is invading its capital. The reporter rushes to the scene.

Students and workers had blocked the roads to the Square. They tried to hold back the army. The army swept into the streets. Not long after arriving, the troops started to fire automatic weapons into the crowd.

Thousands of young people were in the Square. They were some of the nation’s best and brightest. They were full of passion and idealism. They stood up to the army’s machine guns. Then, in an instant, they lay crumpled, bloody and lifeless on the ground.

Pro-democracy demonstrators filled Tiananmen Square on June 2, 1989. Photo Credit: Catherine Henriette/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

Before that evening, millions of Chinese had marched freely. They marched in cities across the country. They were denouncing corruption and asking for more democracy. Hope filled the air.

Then came the soldiers into the Square. They fired not only on the crowds but even on families watching in horror from balconies. Troops fired at ambulances rescuing the wounded. In effect, winter fell on China. It has not left in the years since the army invaded the Square.

Thirty years have passed since that bloody night. Beijing has patched up the bullet pockmarks of bullets. It has repaired the tank damage to the Square.

China has erased the event from history. There has been no written record of the democracy movement and massacre. Many young Chinese have no idea that the Communist Party killed its own people.

Life was not easy for those surviving the massacre. The Chinese government made widespread arrests of protesters and their supporters. It suppressed other protests around China. It ended free speech and a free press.

An activist looked back on this anniversary. China sent him to jail. They let him out when they wanted a better relationship with the West. They jailed him again.

He said, “Within a few years of the Tiananmen massacre, many Western governments lifted their sanctions against China. The West had an engagement policy. It said that that trade and investment would bring about democratic changes in China.”

He continued, “It did not bring about liberal change. Western capital fattened the pockets of the Communist Party leaders. It gave them the power to prolong their rule. It did so by silencing dissent at home. By expanding the country’s global clout.”

The future? The Chinese Communist Party uses technology and repression to control the people. The Party’s power is growing. But are the Chinese people asleep? Are they willing to give up all freedom for jobs?

The threat to the Party comes from within and without. Educated and working people may decide to add their voice to the affairs of the nation.

The era of the West turning a blind eye to Communist crimes against its people may end. Some think because of the trade wars taking place today.

China is the most authoritarian regime on the planet. The Chinese people and the West can help bring about change.

Source: The New York Times June 1, 2019




Source: The New York Times June 1, 2019

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