1989 Tian'anmen Square riots

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1989 Tian'anmen Square riots
Date15 April – 4 June 1989
Result Riots ceased; no political or territorial changes
Jiang Zemin, previously Party Secretary of Shanghai, promoted to General Secretary and paramount leader by Deng Xiaoping
Zhao Ziyang purged from General Secretary and Politburo
People's Republic of China NED-backed rioters
A military vehicle destroyed by rioters in Beijing.

The 1989 Tian'anmen Square riots (天安门事件) were a CIA-backed[1][2] attempt at a color revolution against the People's Republic of China in 1989. Reservations over Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening up policies sparked peaceful protests,[3] which the CPC negotiated with, but soon a foreign-funded faction of students joined the protests and, due to their promotion by Western media, took over the protests and took them in an entirely different direction than what was originally envisioned.

After the riots ended, the CIA extracted their leaders as part of Operation Yellowbird.[4]

Protests in Tian'anmen Square[edit | edit source]

Protests began in Tian'anmen Square on 1989 April 15 after the death of General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Premier Li Peng met with protestors in a meeting that was broadcast on national television.[5] On May 20, after violence spilled out of the square and into Beijing, martial law was declared but the protests were allowed to continue.

Around 5:00 am on June 4, the 3,000 remaining protestors peacefully left the square.[6][7][8] No one died in the square during or after the protests and most deaths were caused by the foreign-backed faction of students.[9][10][11][12][13]

Student leaders[edit | edit source]

Liu Xiaobo, one of the student leaders of the protests, said he wanted China to be colonized by the West for at least 300 years.[14] Chai Ling, another student leader, admitted that she wanted the protestors to be killed by the government[15] and said that the Chinese people were "not worth [her] struggle."[16] Wang Dan said that their movement was motivated by a pursuit for wealth.[5] Wu'er Kaixi said that they were protesting to be able to wear Nike shoes.[17] Hou Dejian, a Taiwanese national and one of the leaders of the Tiananmen protests, stated that he was in the square all night and saw no one killed, confronting the testimony of Chai Ling.[18]

Western support[edit | edit source]

In 1986, George Soros donated $1 million USD to the Fund for the Reform and Opening of China. Over the next three years, the group trained many student leaders of the protests.[19] In 1988, the National Endowment for Democracy opened offices in China.[4] Western corporations, including AT&T, spent millions of dollars providing long-distance calls and fax machines to the protestors.[6] The CIA gave the protestors typewriters and other equipment to spread capitalist ideas[1] and the Statesian ambassador to China at the time was a former CIA agent.[4] During the protests, Voice of America increased its Chinese language broadcasts to 11 hours a day. VOA falsely claimed that Li Peng had been shot and Deng Xiaoping was almost dead.[5]

Riots[edit | edit source]

As the protests were winding down and many protestors went home, the Chinese government sent unarmed PLA troops the clear the square of remaining protestors as the Beijing police was overwhelmed due to their sheer numbers throughout the city. On June 2, rioters burned and lynched unarmed soldiers trying to enter the square.[5] The troops were initially unarmed, but were given weapons on June 3 after the students took some soldiers hostage.[20] They were blocked from entering the square by crowds armed with petrol bombs,[21] iron clubs, and Molotov cocktails.[6] The rioters destroyed over 400 vehicles[21] and destroyed a convoy of over 100 vehicles in western Beijing.[5]

Death toll[edit | edit source]

The riots in Beijing resulted in approximately 300 total deaths,[6] including 36 students, 10 PLA soldiers, and 13 police officers.[22] All of the deaths occurred outside of the square itself.[3]

Censorship[edit | edit source]

While many Western media sources maintain that the Chinese populace is forbidden from learning of this event at all, many Chinese state media outlets mention the event:

In Western media[edit | edit source]

In Western media, the incident is usually called the "1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre." Bourgeois media claims that the People's Liberation Army massacred thousands of peaceful protestors on June 4.[16] The BBC, a British state propaganda outlet, claims that over 10,000 people were killed in the square.[23]

Claims of a massacre trace back to an anonymous student from Qinghua University who spoke to the Hong Kong press.[3] However, Western journalists including Reuters correspondent Graham Earnshaw, who spent the night of June 3–4 in the square, former Washington Post Beijing Bureau chief Jay Matthews, and BBC Beijing correspondent James Miles, all confirmed that students left the square peacefully. The US Embassy in Beijing also said they never saw any lethal force.[3]

Tanks leaving the square on June 5, with the anonymous man know as Tank Man standing in front of the line

Tank Man[edit | edit source]

The famous photo of a man standing in front of four tanks was taken on the morning of June 5, after the square had been cleared and the tanks were attempting to leave. Some people believe the tanks ran the man over, but a video of the event[24] disproves this narrative.

In the video, the anonymous man can be seen stopping in front of the first tank in line as he was crossing the street. As the tank attempts to drive around him, the man moves to block it from leaving. The man then climbs onto the turret and seems to start looking for the crew. One of them opens the hatch, and both can be seen talking to each other for a few minutes, but no record of their conversation exists. After talking for a minute, than man climbs back down and, as the tanks start driving away, he steps in front of the line again, cutting them off. A group of civilians then approach him and move him away from the tanks' path before the video ends.[25][26]

Some claim that the man was then detained by the state or made to disappear, but no evidence of this assertion exists. Interestingly, the anonymous man is also seen at two points during the video to be gesturing the tanks back towards the square.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "CIA man misread reaction, sources say" (1992-09-27). Vancouver Sun.
  2. Tom (2021-04-06). "The Tian’anmen Square ‘Massacre’: The West’s Most Persuasive, Most Pervasive Lie." Mango Press. Archived from the original on 2023-06-22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "New book reveals Tiananmen square massacre, others fabricated by US" (2023-08-08). Al Mayadeen. Archived from the original on 2023-08-10.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Milton James (2020-07-08). "1989 Tiananmen Square "Student Massacre" was a hoax" Critical Social Work Publishing House. Archived from the original on 2022-03-21. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Brian Becker (2014-06-13). "Tiananmen: The Massacre that Wasn’t" Liberation School. Archived from the original on 2022-01-02. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Kim Petersen (2014-06-09). "Massacre? What massacre?" Dissident Voice. Archived from the original on 2022-02-12. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  7. Jay Matthews (2010-06-04). "The Myth of Tiananmen" Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  8. Malcolm Moore (2011-06-04). "Wikileaks: no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square, cables claim" The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2022-03-10. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  9. Nicholas D. Kristof (1989-06-13). "Turmoil in China; Tiananmen Crackdown: Student's Account Questioned on Major Points" The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2022-02-27. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  10. James Miles (2009-06-02). "Tiananmen killings: Were the media right?" BBC.
  11. John Simpson (2009-06-03). "John Simpson: Remembering Tiananmen" BBC.
  12. Malcolm Moore (2011-06-04). "Wikileaks: no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square, cables claim" The Daily Telegraph.
  13. Richard Roth (2009-06-04). "There Was No "Tiananmen Square Massacre"" CBS News.
  14. Barry Sautman, Yan Hairong (2010-12-15). "Do supporters of Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo really know what he stands for?" The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  15. “I wanted to tell them that we were expecting bloodshed, that it would take a massacre, which would spill blood like a river through Tiananmen Square, to awaken the people. But how could I tell them this? How could I tell them that their lives would have to be sacrificed in order to win?”

    Chai Ling (1989). Interview at Tiananmen Square with Chai Ling.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Tom (2021-06-04). "The Tian'anmen Square 'Massacre': The West's Most Persuasive, Most Pervasive Lie" Mango Press. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  17. “But the only China I truly know is the one I was exiled from - and it was a China where you could not buy Nike or have a quiet drink in a bar, it was a China of empty department stores and streets thronging with people in drab Mao suits.”

    Wu'er Kaixi (2009-05-31). "Opinion: Dissent remains silenced in China" CNN. Archived from the original on 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2024-01-08.
  18. TheJohntaylor. "侯德健與柴玲對質 (天安門廣場大屠殺事件)". YouTube.
  19. Milton James (2020-07-08). "1989 Tiananmen Square "Student Massacre" was a hoax" Critical Social Work Publishing House. Archived from the original on 2022-03-21. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  20. Andy McInerney (1996-06-20). China's Tienanmen Square Workers World. Archived from the original on 1998-12-06. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Gregory Clark (2014-06-04). "Tiananmen Square Massacre is a Myth, All We're 'Remembering' are British Lies" International Business Times. Archived from the original on 2021-11-10. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  22. "The Memory of Tiananmen". PBS. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  23. "Tiananmen Square protest death toll 'was 10,000'" (2017-12-23). BBC. Archived from the original on 2022-05-12. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  24. CNN. "Man vs. tank in Tiananmen square (1989)". YouTube.
  25. Amanda Yee (2023-06-03). "Revolution and counter-revolution: Remembering Tiananmen 34 years later" Liberation News. Retrieved 2023-06-03.
  26. Typoprone (2009-06-08). "Tank Man (now with more raw footage)". YouTube.