On 8 January 1976, Zhou Enlai died. He had been Chinese premier and was viewed by the Chinese people as a true idealist and “man of the people”, a public servant at odds with the violent radicals who had imposed the reign of terror known as the “Cultural Revolution”. In a spontaneous outpouring of mourning, hundreds of thousands of people began building a memorial altar to Zhou, with wreaths of white flowers, white paper chrysanthemums, and short poems called xiaozibao, which extolled the virtues of the fallen premier.
The memorial activities stretched on for days and weeks, and into the spring. At times, over a million people were gathered, exchanging memories of Zhou Enlai, praising a more civil kind of Communist China, and —unavoidably— reminding each other that Zhou was not one of the “Gang of Four” radicals who were sowing chaos and violence across China, imposing the harsh, irrational conditions of “reform” known as the Cultural Revolution. The Zhou memorial became a place for dissident poets to gather, and for groups of Chinese citizens to voice their grievances in writing or in conversation, calling for government reforms.
Continue reading “June 1989 Was Not the First Tiananmen Military Crackdown”
The Chinese government, in Beijing, controlled by a Communist party that allows no dissent, and no opposition, continues to suppress public awareness, discussion or inquiry, regarding the events of June 1989, in which the Chinese military massacred hundreds of student demonstrators.
The term Tiananmen produces filtered results in web searches, and the regime has blocked access to Twitter, Flickr, Blogger, the Huffington Post, LiveJournal, MSN’s Bing, and other sites, in an effort to prevent Chinese internauts from locating any reporting on the massacre of 4 June 1989. Now, as we mark the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, the Chinese government seeks to prevent any amount of dissent or “unrest” that might stem from public recognition of the crimes committed by government forces on that day.
Continue reading “China Still Seeks to Hide What Happened at Tiananmen Square 20 Years Ago”
The private memoirs of former Chinese Communist party (CCP) leader Zhao Ziyang are to be published, as we near the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and the massacre that ended them. The diaries will be published this month, under the title Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Zhao Ziyang.
Zhao was secretary general of the central committee of the CCP from 1987 until he was deposed due to his opposition to the government’s hardline crackdown on student demonstrators gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, in June 1989. Zhao was subjected to 16 years of house arrest, and died in 2005. But the journals were so secret, their existence has not been confirmed until now.
Continue reading “‘A Tragedy to Shock the World’: Secret Zhao Memoirs Acknowledge Tiananmen Massacre”