Communist Party member Dan Ross analyses the events in Beijing in 1989, relates what really happened on 4 June and how the capitalists spun the story.
“As columns of tanks and tens of thousands soldiers approached Tiananmen many troops were set on by angry mobs… dozens of soldiers were pulled from trucks, severely beaten and left for dead. At an intersection west of the square, the body of a young soldier, who had been beaten to death, was stripped naked and hung from the side of a bus. Another soldier’s corpse was strung at an intersection east of the square”
“Radicalized protesters, some now armed with guns and vehicles commandeered in clashes with the military”
“Other scenes show soldiers’ corpses and demonstrators stripping automatic rifles off unresisting soldiers”
These accounts are taken not from the official version of the Chinese government, but from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal in the immediate aftermath of the events of 4th June 1989.
As the United States, its allies, and cheerleaders in the press step up their campaign of anti-communist and Sino-phobic rhetoric in the new Cold War against China, we can expect to hear an altogether different – if more familiar – narrative about the “massacre” of thousands of innocent students in a ‘brutal authoritarian crackdown’.
The ‘event’ in fact began two months earlier when students gathered – somewhat ironically – to mourn and commemorate the passing of a senior communist, later joined by workers – again ironically – concerned by the effects of market-liberalising economic reforms. Failed attempts at a negotiated settlement between the government and student leaders (presenting disparate and undefined demands) eventually led to martial law, and the largely peaceful dispersal of the crowds from the Square.
Individual accounts of army snipers and soldiers gunning down fleeing students have been discredited both by a far greater number of eyewitnesses, including American journalists, and television footage of an orderly dispersal.
When soldiers – unarmed – entered they were set upon by groups of coordinated and armed protesters that remained, as was reported on at the time. Many dozens of soldiers are known to have been killed.
Much of the subsequent violence took place elsewhere across the city, rather than the Square itself, and can rightly and clearly be described as clashes between armed protesters and soldiers.
Of course, it wasn’t long before the American propaganda machine churned out an altogether different story, with media pundits who hadn’t even been there regaling unverified accounts of “thousands” of deaths. ‘2,600’ was the go-to figure for some time, before evolving into ‘several’ thousand, then ‘8,000’. Most present-day accounts are happy to settle on “tens of thousands”. The figures are conspicuous in their ambiguity alone.
Numerous editorial corrections were made in the following weeks, but by then the narrative had been decidedly set.
It should come as no surprise that this coordinated propaganda campaign took place concurrently with the demise of socialism across Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The United States, then as now, remains committed to undermining and destroying Chinese socialism through thinly-veiled, CIA-sponsored bodies like Radio Free Asia, National Endowment for Democracy, and the fanatical Adrian Zenz, with the eventual hope of a demise and break-up of China, much as happened to the former USSR and Yugoslavia.
33 years later it is well worth asking, when exposed to the popularly accepted story, whether those telling it have any vested interest in confecting an unsubstantiated narrative so utterly divorced from the reality.