The year 1989 was a turning point in the history of many countries of the world — the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the execution of Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu SSR, the “velvet revolution” in Czechoslovakia, the appointment of Mikhail Gorbachev Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Was no exception and the people’s Republic of China.
After the death of the first Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist party, Mao Zedong de facto leader of the country was Deng Xiaoping, who served as the third Chairman of the military Council of the party. Having the experience of living and working in France, he began to actively strengthen relations with Western countries, and in domestic policy as a priority of the announced economic reform, which ultimately enabled the shift from a planned to a market economy.
Part of Chinese society believed that economic transformation must happen quickly and in parallel with them has to change and the political situation. First of all, this view was held by students, most of whom knew about democracy, which wanted to see in their country, the stories. His impressions of life in the West with students from the Chinese universities, in particular, shared Professor-astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, who had returned from Princeton University (USA). In 1986 after his tour, the young people took to protests, their demands for greater democratization and freedom of speech was supported by the General Secretary of the CCP, Hu Yaobang, for which he paid a political career. The party leadership has laid on him who long worked in local youth organizations and popular among young compatriots, the blame for condoning the riots. The successor appointed Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang.
Gate of heavenly Unrest
Despite the resignation from the post of General Secretary of CCP, Hu Yaobang still included in the party’s Politburo in April 1989, took part in the next party Congress, which became fatal for him. During the event, the policy had a heart attack, and he died on 15 August.
His death became a formal pretext for the start of mass unrest. Activists believed that Aobaku could help to escape from life, and demanded to investigate the circumstances of his death, and then their requirements were limited to calls to adopt measures to eradicate corruption, which has intensified against the backdrop of economic reforms. Under the slogans “Down with the corrupt bureaucrats!” about 100 thousand people spoke with different requirements: to publish data on incomes of officials and their families, increase wages to people whose work involves intellectual labor, to lift censorship and restrictions on public appearances. In other words, all this diverse group was “For all good against all bad”.
27 April, protesters broke into the Central square of Beijing Tiananmen, whose name translates as “the Gate of heavenly peace”, a tent camp and every day they marched, sang the national anthem international. To the government of China surely has fulfilled all the requirements, in may, the activists announced a hunger strike on the eve of Gorbachev’s visit to Beijing, hoping that the government will meet, if only they liberated the square, where was held a meeting of party leaders of the two countries. The Chinese government called on the protesters to disperse, dropping leaflets with appropriate slogans with a military helicopter. However, young people did not think to recede — the number of people on the square only increased. Moreover, out of control began to emerge the situation in other major cities, including Shanghai, Chongqing, Wuhan. Beijing had to make some concessions — as a result of the weakening of state control over the media, TV channels began to cover the situation in the camp, head of the Patriotic United front of the Chinese people Yang Ming fu had a meeting with the protesters where told that their shares have Patriotic nature and asked to leave the area. However, with every step of the government towards the students demanded more and more.
Peak situation has reached 17 may, when the Tiananmen square gathered about a million people, and on their side have started to move some law enforcement officers. The country’s leadership did not have a single point of view on how to proceed: some advocated the forceful dispersal of demonstrators, others considered such an approach unacceptable. Between the PNC leader Deng Xiaoping and Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang had serious disagreements. On 16 may, the Prime Minister said Gorbachev at the meeting that the present leader of China — Xiaoping and 19 th addressed the activists on the square with calls to end the hunger strike, to be strong and see a great future in a modernized China, while accepting that criticism, heard from their lips, was necessary.
“You are not like us! We’re old, for us it is irrelevant,” said Zhao.
Here’s how he describes the moment the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan yew in his book “the Singapore story”: “From the events in Tiananmen square in my memory remains sad picture: Zhao, standing in the middle of a square full of protesters with bandages on their heads, on which were written the slogans with a megaphone in hand. Almost with tears in his eyes, he tried to persuade the students to disperse, explaining that will no longer be able to protect them. It was may 19. Alas, it was too late: the leaders of the CPC decided to impose martial law and if necessary to use force to disperse demonstrations.”
May 20 the government imposed martial law and began to pull to the capital division of the National liberation army of China of the five military districts. Many soldiers never before were not in Beijing and not fully aware of what they have to do. At the entrances to the city, the protesters were met by soldiers and called upon to join their ranks — some had agreed. In addition, on the main streets of Beijing, activists have built barricades from public transport to block the way of army equipment. June 3 travel to Tiananmen, the military failed, because the protesters attacked them with Molotov cocktails, sticks and stones. The army not only had no weapons but could not fight back even with his fists. On the same day, Deng Xiaoping went to drastic measures — he announced the introduction of Beijing armed units of the 27th and 28th armies of China, accompanied by armored vehicles.
Locals on TV asked not to leave their homes, and already at 22:00 in the city included tanks and armored personnel carriers, and the military were allowed to use weapons in self-defense. After nearly four hours the municipality of Beijing and the headquarters of the authorities of the state of emergency issued a call to students to leave the Central square, where at that time there were several thousand people.
The Western press wrote then that the protesters who refused to leave Tiananmen, were killed under the tracks right there. And this information was spread by the journalists, who worked in Beijing but were in the square, primarily CNN. The correspondents, who was at Tiananmen, say that the situation was completely different. Here’s what he wrote a correspondent of the Soviet “Truth” Vsevolod Ovchinnikov, a famous author of books “Sakura Branch” and “Roots of oak”: “In culmination day on June 4, the Tiananmen there were no tanks that supposedly indiscriminately crushed the demonstrators. When the troops surrounded the square, there were several thousand people. They issued an ultimatum, after which they are practically without resistance dispersed.” The same was reported and his foreign colleagues, including reporter of The New York Times Nicholas Kristoff and correspondents of the Spanish television. Thus, the elements of information warfare was used then.
The clashes in Beijing on 4 June, was still, but on the streets adjacent to the square. The most radical protesters with barricades attacked the military — threw in them stones, put on military equipment with gasoline-soaked blanket and set fire to them, those who tried to help the team too beat, of the ambulances were on fire. The remains of soldiers burned alive CNN, of course, not shown. In such a situation the army had to respond harshly and decisively. The streets were the corpses of activists, many of the wreckage of the bikes, the wounded hurried to deliver in hospitals by all available means. News agencies published a spooky photograph of a cyclist crushed by a tank. It became the prototype for the monument dedicated to those who died in Beijing, which is set in the Polish city of Wroclaw in 1999.
Another iconic image of that time was the work of a photographer for the Associated Press “the Unknown rebel”, which depicts a man with bags in his hands, who single-handedly blocked the path of the column of tanks. In half an hour it took, and the equipment continued movement.
The American edition of Time included of the Chinese in the list of the 100 most influential people of the twentieth century, putting it on par with Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Margaret Thatcher, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelsona Mandela, Pope John Paul II.
Accurate data on victims. According to official information the Chinese leadership on June 4, 1989, that killed 241 people (218 civilians, 10 soldiers and 13 policemen) and injured about 7,000 people. NATO reported about 6000 dead civilians and 1,000 soldiers.
As the events of 30 years ago have influenced modernity
30 years after the events in Tiananmen and in her district are treated differently. Of course the West says about the violation of human rights by the leadership of China and called the incident “a bloody symbol of the triumph of totalitarianism.”
Professor of Beijing normal University Li Jinjun says: “I don’t know how good it would be today’s China, if there were those bloody events. Perhaps it was not economic development.”
In the summer of 1989, the U.S. Congress approved a program of sanctions against China, which included the curtailment of joint trade and economic projects. Moreover, following the meeting of heads of government of the G7 countries, organized at the initiative of Washington announced the cessation of all political contacts at a high level, the refusal of the further crediting of China the world Bank, IMF and Asian development Bank. Western companies have been ordered to freeze all investment projects in China. In the result China lost access to Western technology. Contrary to expectations, States that the Chinese economy will be in tatters, and an even greater impoverishment of the population will lead to social explosions, Beijing shifted to cooperation with Vietnam, India, Singapore, South Korea, and strengthened relations with the Soviet Union. Through the development of special economic zones of Zhuhai and Shenzhen in those days, modern China has received advanced centers of the electronics industry, where today are located production facilities of the American giant Apple.
“Resolving the situation by force, as well as the lifting positions of those who supported the student movement in 1989, these two factors have the strongest influence on the formation of a modern management model of China and domestic policy, which adheres to the CCP. The suppression of the dissident movement within the country, mass surveillance of the population, curb the activities of student groups, strengthening propaganda, censorship and the separation of the sphere of the Chinese Internet from the world — all of this are clear echoes of those events. 30 years later, the Chinese government method of “carrot and stick” in every way try not to give such unrest occur again,” — said in an interview with Ukraine.ru the head of the Chinese direction of the Centre of Oriental research Paul Prilepsky.
The expert notes that the standard of living of the population has increased, but economic issues were among the main that forced people to the streets in 1989. When XI Jinping, the actively combat one of the main public stimuli — corruption among those in power, banned lavish banquets, gifts and other luxuries at public expense continues to decline, the tax burden on business and the public, were published some documents of internal use, designed to make the system more transparent.
In turn, sinologist Aleksey Maslov sure: “Comparing today with the Ukrainian events, many Chinese understand what the unrest could lead to China”.
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