(This documentary was transcribed by Danchuleaks in 20010. DCL đã ghi lại từng lời một trong bộ phim tài liệu này để bà con vừa xem và có thể vừa đọc tiếng Anh cho ai đó nghe tiếng anh không rỏ. Khi nào Danchuleaks dịch xong hết ra tiếng Việt thì Danchuleaks sẽ post cho bà con đọc tiếng Việt.)
In the spring of 1989, the people of America and the Western Democracies were mesmerized by the Chinese Student Democracy Movement and the incredible courage and heroism of the Chinese people. Almost every government has a history of murdering its own citizens, its own people, including America. The dictators of China are not alone, yet despite the brutal crackdown by China’s government which crushed the Democracy Movement with tanks and guns, the Communists adopted most of the economic policies of the leaders they deposed and much of modern China’s prosperity, a growing economic power, are direct consequences of the events that took place in the summer of 1989.
In June of 1989, the Chinese Communist government declared war on its own civilians. Using tanks, machine guns and A.P.C.s (anti-personnel carriers), the Chinese authority murdered and maimed tens of thousands of unarmed men, women and children in the heart of Beijing, the capitol of China. Most of the victims have committed no crime. Many were innocent bi-standards, murdered in their kitchens or in their beds, or while watching TV. Others were fathers and mothers frantically searching for their children or old men and women as they rode home on buses or looked out windows into the streets. Yet others were students who dared to challenge the small cadre’ of ruthless dictators, less than a dozen of corrupted old men, who used their powers to enriched themselves, their families and their friends. The students had dared to call for freedom, for justice and liberty, the end of corruption, and for a democratic government that listens and serves the people. “We want democracy”, they chanted. “Corruption and dictatorship must end!”
Millions of people from Beijing and across China supported the students and echoed these demands. And it is for this reason that the dictators of Communist China, less than a dozen of corrupted old men, declared war against the people, terrorizing millions and maiming and killing tens of thousands of unarmed women and men. The story you are about to hear cannot be heard in China. The gangsters and dictators who govern China will not allow the Chinese people to see the images and pictures we will see. Even this film of a single man, a student who dared to confront the military might of China military machine, strikes terror in the hearts of the dictators of China who feared the Chinese people might be inspired and may stand up and fight for their freedom, for liberty and for justice once again.
The turmoil ended and began with death, sparked by the demised of Hu Yaobang, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party and a hero to millions of Chinese. Hu Yaobang had championed freedom and liberty and freed a million Chinese who had been unjustly imprisoned since the time of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. The people called him the soul of China, but when he fought for freedom and when he dared to fight corruption within the ranks of the Communist Party, the top leaders fought back and removed him from power.
Hu Yaobang had been removed two years before his death because of his liberalism and the tolerant attitude he had towards similar student demonstrations which had broken out in the 1980s.
Deng Xiaoping, senior leader and chairman of the military commission and the most powerful man in China, disagreed for he believed he had the most to lose. Deng demanded the demonstrations be stopped and stripped his protégé of his power. Hu Yaobang was demoted and replaced by Zhou Ziyang, another champion of freedom and reform. Within two years, Zhou Ziyang will be placed under arrest by the right wing of the Communist Party.
Hu was a symbol and his death was a spark that inflamed a nation. Nearly five thousand university students marched to Tiananmen Square carrying his picture and to place a wreath on the Monument to the Revolutionary Martyrs, making spontaneous speeches and shouting slogans demanding freedom and democracy. The students chanted, “The wrong man died. He who died should be alive. Those who live should be dead.” By crying out, “The wrong man died” is a safe way of criticizing Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, the Premiere of China. They gathered at the base of the Monument to the Revolutionary Martyrs singing an old French revolutionary song- Internationale.
The students demanded freedom of speech, freedom of the press, democracy and the end to crime profiteering, and corruption among the top leaders who were enriching themselves and their families. The complaints and grievances were many. “Our leaders did not listen to the people,” they complained. The Chinese media lied to the people. People were afraid to speak out for fear they will be arrested. There was no freedom of speech. The rights of the people were crushed by a government that refused to listen and hard work and ability were seldom rewarded as job opportunities and promotions had little to do with ability, but bribes in the favors of political leaders. Indeed, it was well known that the children of the top leaders were offered lucrative business contracts or top leadership posts and that many leaders live in mansions in a life of splendor, including Supreme Leader Deng.
Carrying a picture of Hu, the students marched to the Monument of Martyrs at Tiananmen Square to stand alongside the carved images of other students who had changed China’s history. They also dared to hold their banners and to assemble before the famous portrait of Mao on the Tiananmen gate, symbolically rejecting Mao and replacing his memory with Hu. Again and again they scaled the Monument to the Revolutionary Martyrs. The students shouted, “Down with dictatorship, long live democracy,” waving banners, singing, chanting and making speeches. Many demanded freedom of speech, freedom of the press, democratic elections and the end to financial crimes and corruptions of China’s top leaders and their families.
The complaints were many. Culture and education had suffered since years of Mao when intellectuals and professors were driven from the universities and beaten, tortured and killed. Scholarly books were burned and 4000 years of culture, destroyed. Scholars, intellectuals and those with the highest education, even full professors received the lowest pay. Even a waitress in a foreign hotel earned many times that of a full professor. The Chinese has a saying: "As poor as a professor, as dumb as a P.H.D." Over 400 million Chinese were illiterate. The people were kept ignorant and in darkness by repressive dictatorship who was consumed with making money. Deng had proclaimed, that to get rich, was glorious. And those that had power, including Deng’s family, were getting very rich. Just as the leadership feared, students at dozen of universities saw Hu’s death as an opportunity to protest crime and corruption among the top leaders. Students created a petition, listing their demands; then, they marched to the leadership compound, where China’s top leaders lived and worked. Students held a sit-in demanding that their petition be received by the leaders of the Party, only to be refused. The students then marched to the staged sit-in in front of the Great Hall of the People, where Hu’s memorial service was being held demanding dialog and began presenting their petition.
Hu Yaobang’s funeral was scheduled for April 22nd, and despite government warning to disburse, over fifty thousand people defied the government and assembled outside the Great Hall of the People for Hu Yaobang’s funeral. Chinese police stood outside and guarded the building. The people of China were not welcomed at the Great Hall of the People. The students responded by chanting and shouting, “Down with dictatorship “, and “We love freedom.” Just as the leadership feared, students at dozens of universities saw Hu’s death as an opportunity to protest crime and corruption among the top leaders of China. The rulers of China were also in a quandary. Although Hu had been deposed for pushing democratic reforms, Hu was still a loyal communist fighter who had held many important posts. Hu deserved all the honors of a state funeral. But the dictators were worried. Li Peng advised, “The universities should be carefully watched,” he said, “for students who are most well-informed and the most likely to voice complaints.”
Students demanded direct talks with Premiere Li Peng and shouted, “Dialogue! Dialogue!” and “Come out – Come out Li Peng.” Li Peng, however, had no intention of coming out. He felt that the demonstration should be nipped in the bud and put to an end by force, if necessary. Finally three students were allowed to approach the Great Hall where the leaders watched behind huge windows and barred doors. The students carried a huge scroll, a replica of those scrolls, which were thousands of years had been presented to the emperors of China. Bowing their heads and kneeling, the students thrust the petition into the air and waited. When government leaders gazed out the windows of the Great Hall of the People, they were amazed, shocked and frightened. The assembly of so many people was a direct challenge to their rule. The petition contains seven demands including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of thought, freedom and more money for education, and the end of corruption among Chinese government officials and their families. Many of the demonstrators began to cry when they observed their students leaders being ignored as they kneeled in front of the Great Hall, with the petition held over their heads. The Communist government refused to acknowledge the presence of the people and Premiere Li Peng left the building by a side entrance. As one political scholar remarked, “The main problem with China today is the lack of democracy. A handful of people can talk among themselves and put aside the interests of the Chinese people and made decisions that the people did not support”. Some in the government such as Zhao Ziyang thought they should affirm the students’ patriotism and allow for dialogue. Yet others, notably Premiere Li Peng , President Yang and Deng Xiaoping were alarmed, fearing that demands for freedom and democracy would threaten their power and worrying that they were witnessing the beginning of the second cultural revolution. Corruption and profiteering were widespread in the Communist government and the children and families of Deng, Yang and many others had enriched themselves through the control they exercised over state and military owned business enterprises and monopolies. Deng and Yang were concerned because the demands for democracy threatened their power and the complaints of corruption threatened the wealth they and their families had accumulated.
China was a communist country in name only and senior leader Deng had embraced the most predatory features of capitalism, which hated unions and worker rights and free education for the masses. Thus under Deng, worker pensions, free medical care, and free educations were all becoming relics of the past with even farmers and peasants having to pay high fees to have their ba those in power were getting rich.
Over the following days, the student demonstrations only increased in size and so did their demands for democracy, accountability and freedom. “This is no ordinary student movement“, Deng complained. “This is a well-plan plot…its real aim is to reject the Chinese Communist Party. We have got to be very clear explaining to the nation why we must top and oppose this turmoil”.
On April 26, 1989, Deng’s opposition to the democracy movement was reprinted as an editorial in The People’s Daily. It was titled, “The necessity for a clear stand against turmoil”.
“This is a well planned plot. Its real aim is to reject the Chinese Communist party. The purpose of the students is to poison the people’s minds. The whole nation must resolutely stop and oppose the students…,” proclaims Deng’s editorial.
Even though the Chinese’s Constitution guarantees the right to free speech and to demonstrate, the People’s Daily editorial was like an official charge of criminal activity. Mao used similar editorials to launched political persecutions against his enemies. Now, Deng had followed the same road. Peaceful demonstrators were being labeled counter-revolutionaries and terrorists who can be arrested, beaten and even killed by the authorities. Deng had declared war and he expected the Chinese people to obey him, to fear him and to attack the students. The students, however, were not counter-revolutionaries. They wanted reform, not revolution. The wanted to be allowed to exercise and experience basic human rights including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly; and for this, they were accused of committing crimes. The editorial triggered an explosive reaction which left Deng, Yang, and Li Peng shocked, frightened and confused. Deng had expected the people to fear him and to obey him; instead, they humiliated him. On April 27, a hundred and fifty thousand students and a half million Beijing’s citizens took to the street in protest against the government and in support o the students. And not just in Beijing but throughout China, spontaneous demonstrations broke out protesting the editorial.
Over the following days, the students were repeatedly ordered to return to their classes at once. The students responded by demanding democracy, freedom of speech, the end of corruption and asking, “Why can’t the People’s Prime Minister come out to meet with the people.” In Beijing, hundreds of thousands of workers abandoned their jobs and offices to cheer and (to) join the students. Over half a million men, women and children of Beijing lined the streets cheering the students and openly defying the dictatorship which governed China. Tens of thousands of citizens waved from their windows and cheered as the students marched through the streets. The government’s effort to stop the demonstrators had failed miserably. The people had sided with the students. Indeed, a secret poll conducted by the government found that over sixty percent of adult Chinese believed the protest was a legitimate way to oppose corrupt practices. However worried, many Chinese leaders were angered and threatened by the students, Zhao Ziyang saw the students’ movement as patriotic. He cautioned the Communist Party against taking a hard line and made speeches urging openness and dialogue between the government, students and workers. Zhao was a visionary, a bold economic reformer who helped end Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward and he had already purged thousands of communist officials accused of corruption. In the 1980s, he had set up telephone hotlines as part of an anti-corruption campaign; and in consequence, he had made many powerful enemies. Indeed, there had been over a dozen assignation attempts against his life. On May 4th, Zhao gave a speech to the directors of the International Association for Asian Business Development in which he called the students demonstrations as patriotic. He agreed with the students that there were a lot of corruptions and there was a need to solve these problems through democracy.
On May 4th, 1919, student demonstrations led to the founding of the Communist Party. Thus, May 4th was a national holiday celebrated by a government that at the same time was calling student demonstrations illegal. Tens of thousands of students responded by crowding the streets singing, chanting, cheering and creating a jubilant noise that was deafening. In fact, workers, party members, and hundreds of Chinese reporters were joining the students, including almost a hundred from the People’s Daily, some chanting “We print lies. The people have the right to know the truth.” Thanks to the efforts of Zhao, some newspapers and TV news stations began reporting that the student democracy movement was the largest patriotic movement of the last seventy years. Others were praising the students for their patriotic enthusiasm. Demonstrations were now taking place in eleven other cities, including then thousand students in Shanghai. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese cheered from the sideline shouting, “Long live the students.” After fifty years of darkness and repression, there was an infective innocence, a youthful enthusiasm, an infectious feeling of jubilation and renewal that was spreading across China. To the chagrin of Li Peng, Yeng and Deng, the democracy movement was becoming a well organized, highly disciplined movement that was supported by hundreds of thousands of the citizens of Beijing and hundreds of thousands of students and people across China, and Li Peng, Yang, Deng and the party elders were growing increasingly alarmed. Deng, Yang and Li Peng began discussing martial law and the need to crush the democracy moment by military force. It was apparent that the students and the people of China came to a very dangerous belief that they had the right to challenge the decisions of the government. Reporters were demanding the right to tell the truth and to report truthfully on the news. What was next, freedom, democracy, workers and peasants demanding their rights? The possibilities were horrifying. Deng, Yang and Li Peng felt that the people of China needed to be taught a painful lesson, to fear their leaders and to obey.
Senior leader, Deng Xiaoping was chairman of the military commission and the most powerful man in China. Around May 8th, he began meeting with China’s top generals to drum up support for martial law and a military attack on the students and their supporters. To his dismay, Deng discovered that many generals and commanders were not willing to use the People Liberation Army to attack Chinese people. The students were also expressing their dismay at the unwillingness of the government to open a dialogue or to retract the April 26th editorial which labeled them as terrorists and counter-revolutionaries. As Deng met with his military commanders to plot strategies to use force, the students came up with their own strategies to force the government to take their demands seriously. Student leaders felt they needed to do something dramatic. Some students proposed setting themselves on fire; instead, they would stage a hunger strike. The concern with food was a central part of Chinese daily life. Tens of millions of Chinese had starved to death during Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ and food rationing was still part of normal Chinese life. Chinese often greeted each other by asking, “Have you eaten, yet? “ The hunger strike announced on
May 12th captured the attention of the entire nation. Initially, five hundred students pledged to take part, donning headbands identifying them as hunger strikers, some even tying cloths over their mouths to symbolize the refusal to eat. Within days, the hunger strikers numbered in the thousands. Students began to chant, “If we do not speak, who will speak? If we do not act, who will act? If we do not struggle, who will struggle? If we do not fight, who will fight? Our country…Our society.” Other shouted slogans: “I need food, but I rather die without democracy.”
Compared with people from the West, Chinese people are not as well-fed and are quite thin by comparison. Lacking sufficient body fat, students started fainting from hunger at the very first day and the drama of the starving students, as they were taking away by ambulance, was broadcast live on TV. All across China, the plight of the hunger strikers captured the attention of the young and the old, professionals and peasants, students and workers. People worried about the plight of the students, who were willing to starve to death because they so loved their country and their cause. The hunger strike was a brilliant stroke and they had planned the hunger strike perfectly.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union and a champion of freedom, of Glasnost, who was a hero to much of the Western world, was scheduled to visit China in two days, and all of the world’s press would be in Beijing and Tiananmen Square to cover the momentous occasion. Now, thanks to the hunger strikers, the focus of the world would be on the student democracy movement. On Monday, May 15th, the government ordered that Tiananmen Square be cleared as it was to be the official site for the welcoming ceremony for Gorbachev. Instead, the people of Beijing again defied the government and over a hundred and fifty thousand people crowded The Square in support of the students and democracy. Across China, men, women, children and the aging watched and worried over the health of the students, fearing they would die. The Communist leadership was receiving reports of demonstrations in every province in over a hundred forty five major Chinese cities in support of the students. The people of China were turning against the government and siding with the students and their demands for free speech, a free press and democracy. Many reformers were worried, fearing that the government would crush the democracy movement. Reformers and renowned intellectuals journeyed to Tiananmen Square making speeches urging demonstrators to clear path for Gorbachev. Some of the student leaders also felt that they should clear the Square as a sign of patriotism and love of country. However, most of the students and their supports felt that the government must first make some concessions or agree to meet; otherwise, to abandon the Square and the hunger fast would be viewed as a major defeat.
Gorbachev was forced to entered and exit the Great Hall of the People through a side entrance. Li Peng and the right wing of the Communist Party feared and resented everything that Gorbachev stood for. By contrast, Zhao embraced Gorbachev’s views on openness, freedom and democracy. Deng was worried of Gorbachev and his policies and in fact lectured and warned Gorbachev about the dangers of political and social reform. “The people should have the freedom to make money, but not the freedom to challenge or even question the policies of the government.” Outside the Great Hall of the People, students and their supporters were calling for the resignation of Peng, Deng, Yang and other right-wing leaders, demanding that they step down from power. What they hoped is that the conservatives would resign, leaving Zhao and the reformers in power. Zhao and Gorbachev had a lot in common and a lot to talk about. Bother were advocates of freedom of speech, openness, accountability and other democratic principles. Zhao had a long history of championing reform and freedom. During the 1987 Party Congress, Zhao Ziyang was finally able to get the Principle of Dialogue to become an official policy, but he made many enemies who distrusted the concept of openness and who did not trust Zhao or the Chinese people. It was during Zhao’s meeting with Gorbachev that Zhao admitted that Deng was in fact in charge of the country and had the final say over all decisions. He explained that Deng, although, an advocate of economic reform, was not willing to make social or political reforms and wanting to use the military to crush the democracy movement. Deng was furious at Zhao for letting Gorbachev and the world know that Deng was the man-in-charge. Deng was even more furious with the students and the people of Beijing. Deng was the Supreme Leader of China. His meeting with Gorbachev, the Supreme Leader of the Soviet Union was to be a grand diplomatic achievement. Instead, the students had embarrassed him and his government on international TV. Deng began to hunger for revenge. The students had made him looked foolish, and Zhao made him looked inept. Indeed, Deng could not control the people of China and he could not even control the food in his own mouth.
Across Beijing, over one million people from every imaginable occupation and age group were now cheering on the students and joining in the democracy movement. Workers, doctors, lawyers, and reporters from every newspapers, all demanding for democracy, freedom of speech, and the end of corruption. Hundreds and thousands of people across China were now supporting the students with protests and demonstrations breaking out at dozens of cities and universities. Everyone wanted to join in. They wanted to be part of history, and people brought their husbands, wives, children and their parents, all chanting, singing and shouting slogans demanding freedom and democracy. Although the students were not calling for revolution, revolution was taking place. Suddenly newspapers were reporting the truth and the people were given voice to long shimmering complaints. Suddenly it seemed save to voice opinions, to disagree with the dictators, to call for change and the end of oppression, and everybody wanted to join in.
Fasting students were also beginning to drop with alarming frequency. Many were driven away by ambulance to be treated at local hospitals. Organizers held a plaque showing the number of students who had fallen. Over three hundred forty two students had collapsed. They were fainting at the rate of one every six minutes.
After meeting with Gorbachev, Zhao Ziyang stood on the roof of the Great Hall of the People and stared with amazement at the hundreds of thousands of people amassed below, but he also saw banners demanding democracy, freedom of speech, the end of corruption and asking, “Where is China’s Gorbachev?” Knowing of the support of millions of Chinese, the leaders of the democracy movement were now demanding meetings with Le Pend on live TV. There was a boiling rift within the Communist Party and the growing power struggle between the reformers, lead by Zhao Ziyang and the right-wing reactionaries, lead by Deng and Li Peng. Zhao and the reformers realized that all might be lost if the students did not agree to end the hunger strike and to call of the protests and demonstrations and return to class. Reformers were facing an impossible situation. If they couldn’t get the students to leave Tiananmen Square and to end the demonstrations, the right-wingers would win. Zhao, hoping to convince the students to end their demonstrations, sent a message commending them on their patriotism and acknowledging their demand for a greater democracy and promising that Deng’s editorial would be rescinded. Zhao Ziyang also sent a representative who promised the students that the Central Committee of the Communist Party would view the demonstration as patriotic and no one would be persecuted if they agree to end the strike and the demonstrations. Instead, the students and their leaders believed that they had the support of millions Chinese, increased their demands for dialogue. By May 18th, with a million of people in the streets, Peng and the conservative right-wing leadership felt they had no choice but to meet with the student leaders. When Li met with the student leaders in the Great Hall of the People, in an event that was televised across China, he had only one goal in mind, convincing the students to stop their fasting and to leave the Square. In response, the student leaders, feeling perhaps over confident, informed Li that it was up to the student leaders to decide what questions should be discussed. Li and the other right-wing leaders were angered and felt insulted by the student leaders, who Li called rude and impolite. The student leaders responded with arrogant contempt reminding Li that the students had the backing of a million people. Li was warned that the government can be overthrown and be replaced if it failed to represent the Chinese people. The meeting solved nothing other than to harden the resolve of Li, Deng and Yeng to use military force.
On Friday morning, Zhao Ziyang made a last desperate attempt to save the democracy movement. In his own position as general secretary of the Communist Party, he made his way to Tiananmen Square talking and shaking hands with students and then boarded a bus containing hunger strikers. Zhao realized the end was near; his eyes were filled with tears. He took a megaphone and pleaded with the students to end the hunger strike and the demonstrations. He said, “We deserve your criticism. We are not here to ask for your forgiveness. We all want our country to become better, but it is impossible,” he said “to solve every possible problem in an instant.” “You are young and you should live to see the realization of your dreams for a new and modern China. The channels for dialogue are wide open,” but he warned, “But if you insist on immediate change and immediate answers. If the demonstrations do not end now, it will soon be too late and all will be lost.”
According to transcripts, Yeng, Peng and other top leaders met with Deng that evening where they discussed the threats to their powers posed by the democracy movement and the spectre of another cultural revolution which have removed many of them from power in the 1960s and 70s. According to transcripts, and I quote:
“We have a million people in the streets. We can’t let this descend into rampant lawlessness like the cultural revolutions. Didn’t we get enough of that the first time around? Do we really want it to happen again? The million person demonstrations are bigger than the Red Guard Rallies during the Cultural Revolution. Without martial law, we are saying we accept indefinite anarchy. These people are asking for it. The P.L.A. must go in and carry them out on their backs. Give them no mercy.”
The spectre of a cultural revolution, the spectre of a people rising up against their corrupt leaders, frightened them all. Deng knew firsthand the dangers of cultural revolutions. He had been viciously attacked as a Capitalist Roader who had been enriching himself and his family. He had been perched twice from positions of leadership and his mentor, president Woo had been imprisoned, tortured and murdered. President Yeng had also fallen victim to the Cultural Revolution. Like Deng, he and his family were accused of taken the capitalist road and enriching themselves. He had been beaten and paraded through the streets and removed from power. Both Deng and Yeng had learned from history. Both knew that their hold on power can be taken away by the students, with the backing of the Chinese people. It was the Cultural Revolution all over again, with the exception that the students were demanding freedom and democracy, where as the Cultural Revolution, they supported Mao’s madness and a cruel dictatorship which crushed the people and their hopes. Deng felt personally threaten. He knew there was more and more demonstrations everyday throughout China, demonstrations which can remove them from power like the Cultural Revolution. Student protests and demand for democracy had erupted in over a hundred and sixteen cities with demonstrators numbering over ten thousand in Shanghai, Shenyang, Harbin, Tianjin and on and on and on. Deng felt that the PLA should attack the students in Beijing and also in the country to suppress the turmoil once and for all. The Student Democracy movement would be suppressed and all those who had supported them would be punished including Zhao Ziyang, who soon would be placed under arrest.
For the leaders of China, power maintained, not through democracy or the will of the people, but through bullets and guns. Power and politics is all about force and force is the only reliable way to maintain the monopoly on power. Deng had given Li the authority to crush the Democracy Movement. That evening, Li Peng spoke to the nation and declared martial law. The leaders of China would use force to terrorize the people into submission and to maintain their power. The Student Democracy Movement would be put down by force. Li Peng also used the loudspeaker system of Tiananmen Square to announce martial law and warning of resolute and forceful measures to curb the turmoil and restore order. It was a declaration of war. He was calling in the army to crush the Student Movement.
On May 20th, the People’s Liberation Army was authorized to clear the streets. While hearing the news, students began to shout, “Li Peng step down,“ and “ Long live Zhao Ziyang.” The following day the hunger strike would end; but as Zhao had warned, it was too late. Students and the citizens of Beijing had reacted to Li Peng’s martial law declaration with a mixture of fear, shock, terror, disbelief and rage. “Hooligan Government,” they began to shout. “Kill Li Peng! We will fight to the end.” Slogans and posters began appearing opposing martial law. Students and citizens were chanting, “Down with Li Peng! Down with Yeng! Down with Deng!” The last time the People’s Liberation Army entered Beijing was in 1949 and was welcomed by the people as liberators. There was a saying in China: The army was fish. The people like water. The army cannot live without water. That evening, tanks and trucks filled with soldiers began to rumble towards Beijing. Over twenty-two divisions from thirteen PLA armies were sent to enforce martial law.
To the astonishment of the dictators of China, over a million people took to the streets, setting up roadblocks and barriers including buses and sewer pipes and bike routes. In many parts of the city there were barriers at every intersection. All over the city, hundreds of military trucks were blocked by students, men, women, children and the aging. The troops were stuck in a sea of people. Parents carrying children on their shoulders stood in front of the convoys blocking the way. Soldiers were offered tea and cigarettes. They were told that the students were good and patriotic, that the students loved China, and it was their patriotic duty of the soldiers to support them, to support the people. Children, students and old women pleaded with soldiers not to attack the city. Children pleaded, handed them copies of the People’s Daily and the Beijing Daily which had written articles supporting the students. Soldiers were surprised, even shocked. They had been forbidden to read newspapers, watch TV or listen to the radio. They have been told nothing about the demonstrations or the reasons that they’ve been sent to Beijing. Over a million people were guarding the streets and over a hundred top army commanders refused to attack unless they receive orders in writing from Deng Ziaoping. The people won and the convoys turned away and left Beijing.
Deng was so humiliated, angered and frightened. They ordered two of the top military generals to pay personal visits to every top commander. They were warned, next time they and their soldiers should obey the orders or they would be shot. A million people marched the next day calling on Li, Yend and Deng to resign. At least three hundred nineteen different schools and universities were represented. And millions have come forward not because of what this or that leader had said, but because they yearn for freedom and democracy and the end of corruption. Students who leave Tianamen Square, only to be replaced by new enthusiastic students from other provinces who were not yet ready to give up. And some students left the streets to return to school, family or job. New demonstrators arrived everyday from all over China; some seeking revolution, others wanting to be part of the excitement, part of history. Others, they just wanted to meet girls.
On May 27th, some of the student leaders have received word that another PLA invasion force was being readied; and this time, they would use deadly force. Some of the student leaders proposed they declared victory and end the demonstration on May 30th. They were shouted down. The student leadership was divided with different groups competing against one another and accusing one another. Some were calling for revolution and fight to the death. On May 29th, students at the Central Academy of Fine Arts unveiled a statue they have been working on for days. It was the Goddess of Democracy, the ultimate symbol of the thirst and hunger for freedom. Many thought the students had modeled the goddess after the Statue of Liberty, which stands in New York harbor. However, the artist claimed she was based on the figure of a Chinese peasant, leaning on a wooden staff, holding a torch of freedom. However, from the views of China’s leaders, the statue was an obvious symbol of the United States and its democratic principles of equality and democracy. Towering above the crowd, they faced the Goddess of Freedom so she stared directly into the face of Mao, the ultimate symbol of defiance and a direct challenge to the communist party and the Chinese government. The government and its media responded with hysterical outrage. Government loudspeakers began demanding that the Goddess be taken down, that her presence was intolerable. Instead, the students and the citizens of Beijing crowded the streets to show their support for the Democracy Movement. Premiere Li Peng, president Yeng, and senior leader Deng Xiaoping and their supporters in the communist hierarchy were horrified and enraged. After repeated humiliation and the purging of all military commanders and generals who did not agree with his aims, Deng was now fully prepared to crush the Student Democracy Movement once and for all. Student leaders would be beaten and arrested and their supporter terrorized and murdered. The citizens of Beijing and China would be taught to fear the power of the communist government, and to forever-obey.
As the People’s Liberation Army again began its attack on the city of Beijing, students and citizens took the streets chanting, singing and carrying signs. “Down with corrupt government! Down with Xiaoping! Down with dictatorship! ” “Even if there was only one man left, we would keep fighting,” they shouted. “Our students are not afraid to die.” “I am not afraid to die,” shouted one woman. Over a million people were guarding the streets. Thousands of students pledged to stay and fight in Tiananmen Square and pledged their willingness to die for cause democracy and greater freedom. “I am willing to defend Tiananmen Square with my life. Our heads can be broken. Our blood can be shed, but we will not lose the People’s Square“, cried the students. Many students were relishing the possibility of dying a martyr’s death, believing their blood and their death would wake up the masses and free the people. However, in truth, the students did not really expect to be killed. For most, it never occurred to them that the People’s Army would use violence. They expected teargas and beatings and to be driven bodily from the Square. The possibility that the P.L.A. might use guns and real bullets did not seem real. Said one student, “ I think that there are two possibilities. One is that the citizens of Beijing would prevent the soldiers from coming in. The other is that the soldiers would enter the city and will come to Tiananmen Square. Then they would push us or surround us or may beat us and send us back to our schools.” Li Peng, however, had declared that the P.L.A. should use any means necessary and that the army should be merciless and show no restraints.
P.L.A. troops from the provinces, rural areas and mountainous regions had been forbidden to read newspapers or listen to the news and were forced to read government lies and propaganda for weeks. The soldiers have been told that armed terrorists were rioting in the capitol of China and were planning the overthrow of the Chinese government and the destruction of China. Over three hundred tanks and armored vehicles and fifteen thousand fully equipped troops armed with machine guns and automatic weapons had every intention of killing anyone and everyone who stood in their way. Students and the citizens of Beijing took to the streets hoping to stop the soldiers and protect the students. Trucks, buses, anything of size and bulk were dragged into the streets to prevent the P.L.A. from entering the city. Citizens began acting with reckless defiance, creating barricades, blocking intersections, standing in front of convoys, in front of tanks and pleading and arguing with soldiers armed with AK-47 machine guns, begging them to turn away. Soldiers were also ridiculed by Chinese citizens and scolded by elderly women who called them bad boys and a disgrace to the P.L.A. Soldiers reacted violently. Their orders were explicit. The P.L.A. would attack unarmed citizens with tanks, rifles and machine guns and must show no mercy to those who resist it. In various parts of the city, battles have already begun. On June 3rd at 2 pm, demonstrators and the army began to clash and the scene quickly became chaotic.
Convoys of tanks smashed through the barriers. Demonstrators responded by yelling insults and to their astonishment, soldiers responded by shooting and killing them. P.L.A. units shot at moving cars and bicycles and buses filled innocent civilians returning from work using armor piercing bullets which passed completely through victims and both sides of the vehicles. The government of China had declared war on its own unarmed citizens and the democracy movement would be crushed by a terrified merciless force. That night, government loudspeakers began warning of dire consequences to all those who refuse to obey martial law. Most of the city’s ten million people were sufficiently frightened that they returned to their homes, where many were then killed when P.L.A. troops began firing at their apartments and homes. Slowly troops and tanks made their way toward Tiananmen Square, battling and killing students every step of the way. Many were so shocked and outraged that the People’s Liberation Army would attack the city and ordinary citizens and students that hundreds of thousands poured again into the streets, creating human walls to prevent the passage o troops and to protect the students.
Tanks chased down crowds of people and ran over them, turning them into pulp. P.L.A. troops in tanks shot at unarmed civilians, at people on bicycles and at men and women, even as they ran away. Often troops fired in the air then they turned their guns on the people. The first two rows of soldiers kneeling down and then firing. Each time shots rang out, citizens would drop to the ground, many gravely wounded. However, during the lowering between firing, the citizens would stand up and approach the soldiers, yelling insults, only to be shot down. Troops fired at students, at civilians, at people standing on their balconies or at their windows, and people were killed in their kitchen while watching TV or lying in their beds. Troops shot indiscriminately into the crowds of unarmed civilians, including women and children and those riding bicycles or on their way home on city buses. Foreign journalists reported seeing fleeing protesters shot in the back. Thousands would be killed and over sixty thousands would be maimed or wounded. PLA troops even shot at ambulances, killing the driver. Bodies of unarmed civilians littered the streets. People who dared to stand in front of tanks were run over and turned to pulp. Some tanks chased down crowds o people, running over old folks, children and an entire family. Even people taking pictures while riding their bicycles were shot down and murdered. Blood filled the streets, blood and human pulp. And everywhere people were crying, looking or friends, lovers, brothers, children. However, soldiers then began shooting at those searching, shooting at those helping the wounded and those picking up the dead.
Demonstrators began throwing rocks and again soldiers responded with automatic fire. Battles raged throughout the suburbs surrounding Tiananmen Square. The Chinese government was using tanks and machine guns to wage war against unarmed civilians. Civilians casualties were mounting, but now the people of Beijing began to fight back. As reports of the first battle began trickling in, students and citizens began arming themselves with rocks, sticks, bottles and bricks. Some began to make Molotov cocktails. Battles began to rage throughout the suburbs. Enraged citizens threw bottles of gasoline lit with rags at tanks, armor transports and A.P.Cs.
Throughout the night, the people fought back. According to government reports, in the face of overwhelming numbers of heavily armed troops, thousands of civilians stood their ground or swarmed around military vehicles. A.P.C.s were set on fire and demonstrators besieged troops with rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails. Soldiers responded by firing and running over people with tanks. Enraged citizens threw bottles of gasoline lit with rags and then beat the crew to death, tearing some of them limb from limb. Crowds of onlookers went crazy, pouncing on soldiers and beating them to death or on tops of tanks, pulling the driver from the tank and then beating him to death and setting the body on fire. One soldier were set on fire and hung from a bridge. The killing would go on for at least four more days.
As battles raged into the early morning hours, three thousand demonstrators, who had not yet left Tiananmen Square, pledged instead to die for democracy. However, many who waited at Tiananmen Square did not know about the shootings. When told that soldiers were using real bullets, they did not know what to believe. However, the fact that so many had died was felt by many to be reasons enough for the demonstrators to stay in Tiananmen Square because of the blood shed to protect them. Others argued they should all leave because more than enough had died, more than enough blood had been shed.
Soldiers surrounded the demonstrators at Tiananmen Square with their guns ready. Many of the students stood up. They were soon surrounded by troops, A.P.Cs and tanks. The Chinese government broadcasted an announcement, “All people in the Square should leave now.” Knowing that many had already died throughout the city and that the soldiers would use deadly force, one of the student leaders negotiated with the army commander for permission to leave. Permission was granted. A voiced vote was held among the students gathered around the Memorial to the Martyrs. They were asked to decide: Should they leave or should they stay? Those shouting to stay were much louder than those shouting to leave. So how many stayed, is unknown. Of those who left, they joined hands, sang the Internationale, the Chinese national anthem and cried, chanted and shouted insults at the soldiers, who had open up a corridor, allowing safe passage.
What happened to those who stayed is in dispute. Routers showed hundreds of students, who may have elected to stay behind, facing columns of soldiers and tanks. It had been claimed that hundreds died or crushed by tanks as they defended Tiananmen Square.
At Tiananmen Square, soldiers had bulldozed everything together into a huge heap-bodies, shoes, tents, banners and set fire to it, creating a huge column of flame and smoke. Most of the students decided to leave and joined hands and proceeded in orderly manner between rows of troops whose commanders had agreed to let the students leave unharmed. Those students who had joined hands continued between two lines of troops, singing the Internationale, only to discover they were blocked by rows of approaching tanks which began to shoot and ran over bodies. At the same time, soldiers behind them also began to shoot. Blood filled the streets, blood and human pulp.
How many were killed will never be known. Hospitals can only give accounts of the wounded and those who had died in their care. Most of the dead still lay where they had fallen. Bodies were also fast disappearing. Platoons of soldiers had been seen picking up bodies and putting them in the buses, which were then carted away and disposed of. There were claims that many of those disposed of were still alive, but badly wounded. Those killed, including university professors, students, technical people, officials, workers, owners of small businesses, retired workers, high-school students, grade-school students, from old ladies in their ninety to little girls as young as nine. Later a woman cried out, “Where would be find the souls of our heroes?”
The Tank Man - on Chang’an Avenue, a lone man walked out into the street and faced a column of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square. Gunfire burst out, but he stood his ground. He began yelling, “Why are you here? You have done nothing but create misery. My city is in chaos because of you.”
Carefully watching this sequence, we note that the bicycle rider said something that made the Tank Man takes several steps backward. The bike rider signaled the tanks as two men dressed in blue shirts run from behind and grabbed the Tank Man roughly by the arms and neck. Note that the blue-shirted man at the top then signaled the tanks to move forward as the Tank Man continued to be rushed off the streets while held securely by the neck and left arm, which was typical of police security. What may have been one of the bravest, most heroic men in the history of China was probably beaten, tortured and murdered by the Chinese government that same day.
For the next several days, weeks and months, the Chinese government unleashed a wave of terror, arresting, beating and imprisoning tens of thousands of those who dared to protest for freedom. Even the Communist Party was purged of those who had shown any sympathy for the student-led democracy movement. People were frightened. The terror had begun. The Party had again established its rights to arrest, purge, denounce and execute anyone who dared to disagree. For the following five days, demonstrations continued to break out in over a hundred and eighty Chinese cities. All were brutally crushed. Chinese leaders had decided that they would use severe measures to stomp out the signs for unrest or turmoil as soon as they appeared. TV continually broadcast images of demonstrators, asking the public to inform on their friends, families and love ones and to turn them in. Telephone hotlines were set up to make it easy to denounce anyone the public knew or suspected to sympathize with the students. Soon, jails throughout the country were filled to capacity. The pictures of twenty one activists were repeatedly shown on TV. The public was asked to turn them in.
An interview with Xiao Bin, conducted by ABC News was intercepted by Chinese authority, who then made a nationwide broadcast, calling upon informers to turn the man in. He was soon arrested, tortured and sentenced to ten years in prison. His crime-telling the truth. Truth and justice is punished in China. Truths are called lies. Lies become truths. There would be only one version of events, the lies told by the Chinese government. Disagree and you might die.
On June 9th, Deng appeared on national TV thanking the army and congratulating them on a job well done for bringing order and stability to the country and for crushing all those who cried out for freedom.
Bản Dịch Tiếng Việt:
Mùa xuân năm 1989, Mỹ và cả khối dân chủ Tây Phương đã bị thu hút bởi phong trào dân chủ của Trung Hoa và những hình ảnh dũng cảm của người dân Trung Họa. Hầu như bất cứ một nhà nước nào cũng có những việc thảm sác người dân của họ, kể cả nước Mỹ. Những bàn tay đọc tài của Trung Cộng cũng không phải là duy nhất, nhưng bất chấp sự đàn áp bạo tàn của nhà cầm quyền Trung Quốc đè bẹp Phông Trào Dân Chủ với súng ông, xe tank. Đảng Cộng Sản Trung Cộng đã áp dụng chính sách kinh tế của những lãnh tụ mà họ đã truyệt hạ, và hầu như là sự giào có của Trung Cộng ngay hôm nay, một cường quốc về phương viện kinh tế là do sự diển biến đã sẩy ra vào mùa hè năm 1989.
Tháng sáu năm 1989, nhà cầm quyền Trung Cộng đã tuyên bố chiến tranh với người dân của họ. Họ đã sử dụng xe tank, súng ống và những chiếc thiết giáp để thảm sát, giết và thảm hại, gây thương tích cho hàng chục ngàn người dân không có dủ khí trong tay như những phụ nử, trẻ em ngay trong giữa trung tâm thành phố Bắc Kinh, giữa thủ đô Trung Hoa. Hầu như tất cả nạn nhân không hề có tội gì. Họ là những người vô tội đã bị giết khi họ đứng nấu cơm trong nhà bếp của họ, hay đang xem TV. Và một số nạn nhân là những những người cha người mẹ hoảng hốt đi tìm con của mình, hay là những bà già ông già trên xe đạp hay trên những chuyến xe bus đang trên đường về, sau buổi làm việc, hoạc họ chỉ là những người vô tội đứng xem sự việc từ nhà của mình. Và còn nữa, những nạn nhân như những sinh viên đã dám đứng lên thách thức một bọn cầm quyền bạo tàn, trong đó không hơn mọt chục thằng già thối nát chỉ biết lợi dụng quyền lực để làm giàu cho bản thân và gia đình riêng của họ và bạn bè, bè phái của họ. Những em sinh viên này đã dám cả gan đòi hỏi tự do, công lý, công bằng, chấmt dứt tham nhũng, và họ dám đòi hỏi phải có một nhà nức nhân quyền biết nghe và phục vụ người dân.
“Chúng tôi muốn dân chủ, “ những sinh viên đã hô hào. “Tham nhũng phải chấm dứt! ”