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Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989

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Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989
The photograph known as “Tank Man” was taken by Jeff Widener but also four other known photographers took a photo of the same man that all encompass one thing, rebellion, against oppression and against the will to succumb. The photo portrays a man blocking the path of tanks as they try to leave Tiananmen Square. The Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 was a series of protests that started out with students in China mourning the loss of communist leader Hu Yaobang in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Students began to congregate in and outside of Tiananmen Square in mid April on the day of Hu Yaobang’s death. Over a period of nearly two months the people protested for political reform, conducted hunger strikes and made monuments in spirit of overthrowing the government but they were defeated on June 4th when The People’s Liberation Army stepped in to take control of the square. They were told by China’s leaders to clear out the square which escalated into a ruthless massacre of China's citizens. The Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989 was a cultural backlash that sought to better the state of China but instead led to a slaughter of its citizens in which the voice of its people was ignored.
The death of one man, who had many great ideals and hopes for his country, created one of the largest acts of military brutality against civilians seen in the last two decades. That man was Hu Yaobang. Hu Yaobang was General Secretary of the State for the communist party under Deng Xiaoping from 1980 until he was ousted in 1987 for being too lenient towards political protests that participated in activism against the government. Before becoming General Secretary he was considered a revolutionary component in shaping China’s economic and social status, calling for a more socialistic China rather than the communistic prowess it had been under with Mao Zedong. Hu had been involved with politics since the age of fifteen when he joined the Red Army and the Communist Youth League and he was inducted into the Party three years later. When Hu met Deng Xiaoping he was serving as commissar under him in the Second Field Army in the last decade of the revolutionary struggle known as the Long March (Meisner #349-372).The Long March was a civil war between the Communists and the Nationalists in China which involved the 6,000 mile march of the communists from southwestern to northwestern China from 1934 to 1936 and saw the emergence of Mao Zedong as the communist leader. The communists eventually defeated the Nationalist to take control of mainland China (Britannica).
Once The People’s Republic of China had been established, Hu then became an official in Sichuan until, in 1952, he followed Deng to Beijing. There his only responsibility was to head The Communist Youth league which had a membership of nearly 30 million by the early 1960s. At the emergence of the Cultural Revolution headed by Mao Zedong, Hu along with Deng was rid of their duties from The Communist Youth League which had been dissolved. These removals led Hu to be dispatched to a reeducation school in the country but returned to office in the early 1970s as Party secretary for the Academy of Sciences. It was at this time that he began to be known for his defense of intellectual freedom. By 1977, leader Mao Zedong had died and Hu came to the aide of Deng Xiaoping in helping him gain the reign of supreme power. For his efforts Deng made him Politburo at the Third Plenum and two years later elevated him to the newly created Party-Secretary General (Mesner #349-372).
Hu Yaobang was a head official for nearly seven years but he was seen as Deng's disciple, having no sort of power whatsoever doing only that which Deng instructed. However, Hu still managed to gain popularity with the intellects for his progressive and democratic views. Aside from all other Party officials Hu was an advocate for democratic reform. He very much looked up to Karl Marx and often quoted him in his speeches. It is said that Hu desperately wanted to be to the Chinese what Karl Marx was to the Germans. Hu also wanted to gain the respect and popularity with the common people. He claimed that during his tenure as Party official he had visited 1,600 of China's 2,000 counties giving speeches which were well received and meeting the common working class people. This could be one of the core components into why the people of China took to protesting on his death date. He was described as being open minded and humane. He was, however, not the "liberal" that many Westerners saw him as, but simply a revolutionary and a communist which made him an ideal leader to the Chinese people (Mesner #349-372).
It was early April 1989 that Hu suffered a heart attack while attending a meeting of the Party Politburo and died a week later on April 15. After the news had been publicly announced on television students and intellectuals began gathering at a plaza on the grounds of Beijing University to discuss ideas and share poems of mourning and commemoration. On April 16 students organized meetings for mourning around Beijing University and other universities at which students and teachers began making criticisms of corruption in the communist party prompting a late night march to Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing. By the morning of April 18, more than 100,000 people had shown up to voice their opinions of the Party and to show grief for their fallen hero (Goldstein #5-33). It was an essential time for the youth of China to revolt against the government. Having suffered for so many years it was time something be said and done. An attempt to bring Democracy into a well grounded Communism country seems absurd but for the millions of people who came to Tiananmen Square it did not seem to be so far out of sight. Hu Yaobang would be gratified that his passing created such an uprising in the youth of China so much so that they would gather in the Capitol to voice thier opinions against their government. What would become the event known as "Tank Man" sums up the whole protest very well. It sets as a symbol that says much more than just a man standing in front of a tank. The underlying tone is when something has been wrong for so long, and people step aside and let themselves be ruined by what it is thier told to do. The gentlemen who came to be the "Tank Man" was showing a simple sign of rejection, rejection to adhere to wrongdoing, even if it cost him his life.

Over the next month and a half demonstrations sprang up in other Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Xian, Changsha, and Chengdu but the biggest was Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Although the core protestors were students and teachers, government bureaucrats, farmers, and workers also took to the square to voice their opinions. The demands of the students started out small and modest, some had banners or signs written in English that said, "GIVE ME DEMOCRACY OR GIVE ME DEATH" and in Russian, "DEMOCRACY, OUR ONLY GOAL" or other short phrases in Chinese. At one point they even began to chant in Chinese, "Li Peng, come out! We demand dialogue (Chinoy #183-225)!" Li Peng was the Premier of China from 1988 to 1998 (Britannica). The protest soon came to the protesters calling on all of China’s officials to resign. After no recall from the government the protestors took action of hunger strikes, and erected a 33-foot-tall plaster mold of what was called the “Goddess of Democracy” which was basically their version of the Statue of Liberty (Goldstein #5-33). This was an effort for them to physically display defiance against the oppressive powers that had hovered China for so many years. The statue was set under the giant picture of previous Communist Leader Mao Zedong seeming as a symbol to be free from the oppression of communist China under Mao. The Chinese government did very little in making contact or allegations towards the protestors for nearly two months even when Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev came in May for a visit, making it his first in over thirty years. This allowed foreign television programs to broadcast the demonstrations live (Goldstein #5-33). Several American news reporters had been in China to document the arrival of Gorbachev but with the events of Tiananmen elevating they began to turn their attention to the protest which gave way for the western world to see what was happening in China (Chinoy #183-225). It did not take long for the Chinese people and others around the world to realize history was in the making.
All eyes were on China by this point, the whole world wondered what was going to happen and finally the governement officials decided it was time to intervene. The Chinese government declared martial law on the square on May 20th, but had to withdraw the invasion on May 24th because of military personnel being held off by protestors who were reported as throwing stones at officers and hitting them with clubs. General Secretary Zhao Ziyang had tried to fend off any sort of military crackdown against protestor because he was in support of the demonstrators, this leading to his removal of office. After losing patience the government took action to bring control of the city, they dispatched their military personnel, The People’s Liberation Army, to clear the square out. On the evening of June 3rd Deng Xiaoping gave the orders to restore order in Beijing. At around 4 a.m. on June 4th tanks began to make way into Beijing along with an accumulation of soldiers to take control of the city. This resulted in the military opening fire on the demonstrators. Reports said that tanks crushed into the square running over any vehicles and people that were in its tracks. After two hours, by the time the sun was barely coming up, the square was cleared. The overall casualty rate was about eight hundred civilians and fifty soldiers and police. It is suggested however that the death count was more than a thousand but there is no evidence or record of these deaths (www.gwu.edu).
"Tank man" is a very famous photo but it represents more than just that. The event occured the day after the massacre, The identity of the man is still unknown but it's not his identity that's important it is his role in defiance that is most important. Since it was the day after the massacre the army was trying to move out and this man steps in to say, "No. You hold no real power, I still believe in freedom and though you have machinery it is not enough to stop my will." The man does not appear to be a student or teacher or representative of any type, but merely a common citizen with disgust for what he has seen over the past two days. One thing that's so fascinating is a video captured this particular occurrence and whoever is driving the tank does not try to run over him, but yet go around him to which he steps back in front of the tank. At one point the tank shuts it's engine off and the man climbs up on the tank and begins to pound on the hood of the tank, screaming into the top hole. The event lasted only a few minutes until the man was urged off by other bystanders but his bravery has been preserved throughout the past twenty years. The photograph known as Tank man can still be seen as symbol for freedom and defiance against oppression for any event not just Tiananmen Square.
The Chinese government has done all they can in trying to block the events of Tiananmen Square from its history but the world over still remembers this tragic event. Though the demands of the protestors were not met, they were still heard, if not by the Chinese government, at least by the world. The Tiananmen Square protest gave the rest of the world an ideal look into China as an overbearing government that does not work to meet the needs and wants of its people. What started out as a simple gathering of individuals to mourn the loss of a well-respected leader and share ideals for a greater country resulted in a tragic experience for the people of China and the world over. The overall protest represented apprehension towards the government on a group scale whereas "tank man" was the apprehension of a sole individual. Hu Yaobang would be sorry that his death created such a disaster but would be happy to know that the common people stood up to the big bully that was the Chinese government.
Captured by Western photographers watching nearby, this confrontation on June 5, 1989 became an icon for the fight for freedom around the world. Just as the cameras rolled on that day, veteran filmmaker Anthony Thomas returns to China 17 years later to recall the importance of this defiance. In the search for “The Tank Man” Thomas draws on interviews with Chinese and Western eyewitnesses and recounts the amazing events that preceded the resistance and the massacre of ordinary people in Tiananmen Square. In the weeks leading up to the massacre, students protested over the hardships, government corruption and 40 year’s under repression communist government rule. Soon attitudes hardened and tens of millions openly demonstrated against the country’s military surrounding Tiananmen Square. “The move from student uprising to a worker uprising is what really scared the Chinese Government.” – Jim Laurie, Former ABC Foreign Correspondent. The protesters including Navy personnel, doctors, wives and children all took to the streets to seek reform not revolution. As the army closed in from four different military districts in China, order was given to clear Tiananmen Square by 6.00am on June 4. Tens of thousands of people were arrested, unknown numbers died from shootings, more were later executed and some still remain in prison. “If you have ever seen security people man-handle a Chinese citizen, they are really brutal.” – Jan Wong, the Global and Mail, Toronto. Years down the track students of Beijing University have no recollection or understanding when shown a photograph of “The Tank Man”. The embarrassment for the government to have shed so many lives led to strict censorship of the media, limiting the evidence even in overseas-owned online resources. “Leading US companies such as Yahoo, Cisco, Google and Microsoft have compromised both the integrity of their product and their duties as responsible corporate citizens.” - Rep. Christopher Smith, New Jersey. Since the heroic stand of “The Tank Man” China has changed beyond recognition. The identity and fate of “The Tank Man’ still remains a mystery but the symbolism he represents has provided enduring power for man kind - http://video.google.ca/videoplay?

As the tanks neared the Beijing Hotel, the lone young man walked toward the middle of the avenue waving his jacket and shopping bag to stop the tanks. I kept shooting in anticipation of what I felt was his certain doom. But to my amazement, the lead tank stopped, then tried to move around him. But the young man cut it off again. Finally, the PSB (Public Security Bureau) grabbed him and ran away with him. Stuart and I looked at each other somewhat in disbelief at what we had just seen and photographed.
I think his action captured peoples' hearts everywhere, and when the moment came, his character defined the moment, rather than the moment defining him. He made the image. I was just one of the photographers. And I felt honored to be there.
The thing is, Tank Commander is far more dangerous than Tank Man. Tank Man can simply be shot; most seem to believe that Tank Man was later executed, far out of sight of the international media. The regime survives if Tank Man dies, even if the death of Tank Man isn't the optimal outcome. The regime dies, however, if Tank Commander refuses to run over Tank Man. Eisenstein used the Odessa Steps to demonstrate the corruption of the Czarist regime, but the regime didn't die until the soldiers refused to shoot the demonstrators. The successor regime didn't die until Boris Yeltsin climbed on a tank in August 1991. While there's some mystery as to the fate of Tank Man, I don't doubt that the CCP found Tank Commander and put a bullet in the back of his head at the first opportunity.

Most people in the western world remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre this way:
1) Students protest for democracy in Beijing, China, in June of 1989.
2) Chinese government sends troops and tanks to Tiananmen Square.
3) Student protesters are brutally massacred
In essence, this is a fairly accurate depiction of what happened around Tiananmen Square, but the situation was much longer-lasting and more chaotic than this outline suggests.
The protests actually started in April of 1989, as public demonstrations of mourning for former Communist Party Secretary General Hu Yaobang.
A high government official's funeral seems like an unlikely spark for pro-democracy demonstrations and chaos. Nonetheless, by the time the Tiananmen Square Protests and Massacre were over less than two months later, 250 to 7,000 people lay dead.
What really happened that spring in Beijing? Background to Tiananmen
By the 1980s, the leaders of China's Communist Party knew that classical Maoism had failed. Mao Zedong's policy of rapid industrialization and collectivization of land, the "Great Leap Forward," had killed tens of millions of people by starvation.
The country then descended into the terror and anarchy of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), an orgy of violence and destruction that saw teenaged Red Guards humiliate, torture, murder and sometimes even cannibalize hundreds of thousands or millions of their compatriots. Irreplaceable cultural heirlooms were destroyed; traditional Chinese arts and religion were all but extinguished.
China's leadership knew that they had to make changes in order to remain in power, but what reforms should they make? The Communist Party leaders split between those who advocated drastic reforms, including a move toward capitalist economic policies and greater personal freedoms for Chinese citizens, versus those who favored careful tinkering with the command economy and continued strict control of the population.
Meanwhile, with the leadership unsure of which direction to take, the Chinese people hovered in a no-man's land between fear of the authoritarian state, and the desire to speak out for reform. The government-instigated tragedies of the previous two decades left them hungry for change, but aware that the iron fist of Beijing's leadership was always ready to smash down opposition. China's people waited to see which way the wind would blow.
The Spark - Memorial for Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang was a reformist, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1980 to 1987. He advocated rehabilitation of people persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, greater autonomy for Tibet, rapprochement with Japan, and social and economic reform. As a result, he was forced out of office by the hardliners in January of 1987, and made to offer humiliating public "self-criticisms" for his allegedly bourgeois ideas.
One of the charges leveled against Hu was that he had encouraged (or at least allowed) wide-spread student protests in late 1986. As General Secretary, he refused to crack down on such protests, believing that dissent by the intelligentsia should be tolerated by the Communist government.
Hu Yaobang died of a heart attack not long after his ouster and disgrace, on April 15, 1989.
Official media made just brief mention of Hu's death, and the government at first did not plan to give him a state funeral. In reaction, university students from across Beijing marched on Tiananmen Square, shouting acceptable, government-approved slogans, and calling for the rehabilitation of Hu's reputation.
Bowing to this pressure, the government decided to accord Hu a state funeral after all. However, government officials on April 19 refused to receive a delegation of student petitioners, who patiently waited to speak with someone for three days at the Great Hall of the People. This would prove to be the government's first big mistake.
Hu's subdued memorial service took place on April 22, and was greeted by huge student demonstrations involving about 100,000 people. Hardliners within the government were extremely uneasy about the protests, but General Secretary Zhao Ziyang believed that the students would disperse once the funeral ceremonies were over. Zhao was so confident that he took a week-long trip to North Korea for a summit meeting.
The students, however, were enraged that the government had refused to receive their petition, and emboldened by the meek reaction to their protests. After all, the Party had refrained from cracking down on them thus far, and had even caved in to their demands for a proper funeral for Hu Yaobang. They continued to protest, and their slogans strayed further and further from the approved texts.
Events Begin to Spin Out of Control
With Zhao Ziyang out of the country, hardliners in the government such as Li Peng took the opportunity to bend the ear of the powerful leader of the Party Elders, Deng Xiaoping. Deng was known as a reformer himself, supportive of market reforms and greater openness, but the hardliners exaggerated the threat posed by the students. Li Peng even told Deng that the protesters were hostile to him personally, and were calling for his ouster and the downfall of the Communist government. (This accusation was a fabrication.)
Clearly worried, Deng Xiaoping decided to denounce the demonstrations in an editorial published in the April 26th People's Daily. He called the protests dongluan (meaning "turmoil" or "rioting") by a "tiny minority." These highly emotive terms were associated with the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution. Rather than tamping down the students' fervor, Deng's editorial further inflamed it. The government had just made its second grave mistake.
Not unreasonably, the students felt that they could not end the protest if it was labeled dongluan, for fear that they would be prosecuted. Some 50,000 of them continued to press the case that patriotismmotivated them, not hooliganism. Until the government stepped back from that characterization, the students could not leave Tiananmen Square.
But the government too was trapped by the editorial. Deng Xiaoping had staked his reputation, and that of the government, on getting the students to back down. Who would blink first?
The Tiananmen Square Massacre
The morning of June 3, 1989, the 27th and 28th divisions of the People's Liberation Army moved into Tiananmen Square on foot and in tanks, firing tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. They had been ordered not to shoot the protesters; indeed, most of them did not carry firearms.
The leadership selected these divisions because they were from distant provinces; local PLA troops were considered untrustworthy as potential supporters of the protests.
Not only the student protesters, but tens of thousands of workers and ordinary citizens of Beijing joined together to repel the Army. They used burned-out buses to create barricades, threw rocks and bricks at the soldiers, and even burned some tank crews alive inside their tanks. Thus, the first casualties of the Tiananmen Square Incident were actually soldiers.
The student protest leadership now faced a difficult decision. Should they evacuate the Square before further blood could be shed, or hold their ground? In the end, many of them decided to remain.
That night, around 10:30 pm, the PLA returned to the area around Tiananmen with rifles, bayonets fixed. The tanks rumbled down the street, firing indiscriminately.
Students shouted "Why are you killing us?" to the soldiers, many of whom were about the same age as the protesters. Rickshaw drivers and bicyclists darted through the melee, rescuing the wounded and taking them to hospitals. In the chaos, a number of non-protesters were killed as well.
Contrary to popular belief, the bulk of the violence took place in the neighborhoods all around Tiananmen Square, rather than in the Square itself.
Throughout the night of June 3 and early hours of June 4, the troops beat, bayoneted, and shot protesters. Tanks drove straight into crowds, crushing people and bicycles under their treads. By 6 a.m. on June 4th, 1989, the streets around Tiananmen Square had been cleared.
"Tank Man" or the "Unknown Rebel"
The city lapsed into shock during June 4, with just the occasional volley of gunfire breaking the stillness. Parents of missing students pushed their way to the protest area, seeking their sons and daughters, only to be warned off and then shot in the back as they fled from the soldiers. Doctors and ambulance drivers who tried to enter the area to help the wounded were also shot down in cold blood by the PLA.
Beijing seemed utterly subdued the morning of June 5. However, as foreign journalists and photographers, including Jeff Widener of the AP, watched from their hotel balconies as a column of tanks trundled up Chang'an Avenue (the Avenue of Eternal Peace), an amazing thing happened.
A young man in a white shirt and black pants, with shopping bags in each hand, stepped out into the street and stopped the tanks. The lead tank tried to swerve around him, but he jumped in front of it again.
Everyone watched in horrified fascination, afraid that the tank driver would lose patience and drive over the man. At one point, the man even climbed up onto the tank and spoke to the soldiers inside, reportedly asking them, "Why are you here? You have caused nothing but misery."
After several minutes of this defiant dance, two more men rushed up to the Tank Man and hustled him away. His fate is unknown.
However, still images and video of his brave act were captured by the western press members nearby, and smuggled out for the world to see. Widener and several other photographers hid the film in the tanks of their hotel toilets, to save it from searches by the Chinese security forces.
Ironically, the story and the image of the Tank Man's act of defiance had the greatest immediate effect thousands of miles away, in Eastern Europe. Inspired in part by his courageous example, people across the Soviet bloc poured into the streets. In 1990, beginning with the Baltic states, the republics of the Soviet Empire began to break away. The USSR collapsed.
Nobody knows how many people died in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The official Chinese government figure is 241, but this is almost certainly a drastic undercount. Between soldiers, protesters and civilians, it seems likely that anywhere from 800 to 4,000 people were killed. The Chinese Red Cross initially put the toll at 2,600, based on counts from local hospitals, but then quickly retracted that statement under intense government pressure.
Some witnesses also stated that the PLA carted away many bodies; they would not have been included in a hospital count.
The Aftermath of Tiananmen 1989
The protesters who survived the Tiananmen Square Incident met a variety of fates. Some, particularly the student leaders, were given relatively light jail terms (less than 10 years). Many of the professors and other professionals who joined in were simply black-listed, unable to find jobs. A large number of the workers and provincial people were executed; exact figures, as usual, are unknown.

Chinese journalists who had published reports sympathetic to the protesters also found themselves purged and unemployed. Some of the most famous were sentenced to multi-year prison terms.
As for the Chinese government, June 4, 1989 was a watershed moment. Reformists within the Communist Party of China were stripped of power and reassigned to ceremonial roles. Former Premier Zhao Ziyang was never rehabilitated, and spent his final 15 years under house arrest. Shanghai's mayor, Jiang Zemin, who had moved quickly to quell protests in that city, replaced Zhao as the Party's General Secretary.
Since that time, political agitation has been extremely muted in China. The government and the majority of citizens alike have focused on economic reform and prosperity, rather than political reform. Because the Tiananmen Square Massacre is a taboo subject, most Chinese under the age of 25 have never even heard about it. Websites that mention the "June 4 Incident" are blocked in China.
Even decades later, the people and the government of China have not dealt with this momentous and tragic incident. The memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre festers under the surface of everyday life for those old enough to recall it. Someday, the Chinese government will have to face this piece of its history.
Hu Yaobang was often viewed as the leader most inclined to reform after the death of Mao Zedong. He considered Mao’s ideas impractical for modern China, a belief which did not endear him towards his colleagues. He had become the people’s champion when he refused to put down student demonstrations in the 1986 student movement. His death prompted the Tian An Men Square protests.
Some people would argue, though, that it was not the loss of his voice that prompted the protests. By the time of his death, he had very little influence in the Party. He was a political has-been and no one expected the reaction that his death prompted. Some said that he only served as a catalyst for the reform movement.

Hu was born in Hunan province in 1915. At the age of 14, he ran away from home and joined the communist party and was one of the youngest participants of the Long March. Later, he became a political officer under Deng Xiaoping in the military. At the founding of the CCP in 1949, he followed Deng to Beijing. From this point on, Hu spent his career in Deng’s shadow, working as his protégé. In 1966, Hu was purged with Deng as a capitalist roadster. When Deng was reinstated in 1973 and then purged again in 1976, Hu shared his fate.

Hu truly rose to power after the implementation of Deng’s Four Modernizations. Under Deng’s protection, he became General Secretary of the party in 1980, then became Party Chairman in 1981, replacing Hua Guofeng as the leader of the People’s Republic of China. Then, in 1987, he was forced to take responsibility for the student protests of the previous year. He resigned from his position as Chairman, but remained a member of the Politburo until his death in 1989. On April 15, 1989, he suffered from a heart attack during a Politburo meeting. He was taken to the hospital, but never recovered.

Thousands of people gathered across the country to commemorate Hu's legacy. Although his eagerness for modernization sometimes bordered on impracticality - he at one time suggested that the Chinese stop using chopsticks to prevent the spread of disease - many people feared that his death would mean the end of social reforms. His death led students to call for conversation between themselves and the government, which escalated to the April-May sit in at the Square when their protestests went unanswered.
On the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, a look back at the liberalizing government official whose death and funeral fomented the roiling dissatisfaction of Chinese students over seven weeks that culminated in the massacre of over 2,600 people by the People’s Liberation Army on June 4, 1989.
Hu Yaobang died on April 15, 1989 after a massive heart attack. Two years earlier, he was ousted from the party leadership for his excessive liberalism. He assumed the role of Party Chairman in 1981 and acted as a close associate of Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the Communist Party of China. Deng, whose economic reforms opened up China’s economy and set the country on the course of making the 21st century its own, was less interested in social reforms. Hu was. By normalizing relations with ethnic groups affected by the cultural revolution of 1959, Hu was seen as a reformer. He pushed for lesser intrusion into the affairs of Tibet, reigning in the settlement of Han Chinese into the region and directing more central funds into the autonomous administration of Tibet. Tolerance and empathy were his hallmark as a leader, as was his relationship to the Chinese intelligentsia. Those qualities were also the reason for his ouster.
Seventeen years later, veteran filmmaker Antony Thomas goes to China in search of "The Tank Man." Who was he? What was his fate? And what does he mean for a China that today has become a global economic powerhouse? Drawing on interviews with Chinese and Western eyewitnesses, Thomas recounts the amazing events of the spring of 1989, when a student protest that began in Tiananmen Square, the symbolic central space of the nation, spread throughout much of the rest of China. Several weeks later, when the government sent in the army to end the demonstrations, the citizens of Beijing poured into the streets in support of the students. "You had a million people on the street, minimum. ... That was unprecedented, definitely in modern Chinese post-revolutionary history," says John Pomfret, who was in Beijing at the time, reporting for the Associated Press. The demonstrations ended in a massacre on the night of June 3-4, when the government sent the troops into the city with orders to clear Tiananmen Square. Eyewitnesses recount what happened -- from the first shots fired in the city's outskirts, to the students' withdrawal from the square in the early hours of June 4, to the Tank Man's courageous stand the following day.

From there, Thomas looks at what the Tank Man's life might be like in today's China. China observers and scholars, including Orville Schell, talk about the turning point the nationwide unrest of 1989 represented. "After the massacre of 1989, [Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping] in effect said, 'We will not stop economic reform; [but] we will, in effect, halt political reform.'" Almost two decades later, the educated elite who led the protests of 1989 have benefited handsomely from China's rapid economic growth, but many Chinese workers still face brutal working conditions and low wages. "A lot of factories do not even have one day off," says labor expert Dr. Anita Chan who has been researching working conditions inside China for 15 years. "That means seven days a week, 13 hours a day."
In fact, some experts see the emergence of two Chinas: one modern, wealthy and urban; the other rural, poor and disenfranchised. There is evidence that unrest among workers and peasants is growing; in 2005, there were more than 87,000 "civil disturbances" in the country. "China is on a knife's edge," says Dr. Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch. "If we in the West are not aware of this, the leaders in Beijing are very much so, and this is their top concern. They know that the stability is very fragile." The Chinese government has responded to this threat by cracking down on dissent, and on the media. The regime has managed to erase the Tank Man's image, famous throughout the world, from Chinese memory. Thomas shows the iconic picture to undergraduates at Beijing University, the nerve center of the 1989 protests; none of them recognize it. Central to the regime's struggle to control information is its filtering of the Internet, a complex undertaking that raises serious issues about the role of Western IT companies in China's censorship strategy.
In the face of official silence about 1989 and the Tank Man, the program concludes with Thomas' quest to find out what became of the Tank Man and who he was. In the end, his identity remains a mystery, but the symbolism of his act of defiance continues to have power. "That story ... is not getting weaker because of time. Because we don't know who he is, it's actually getting stronger," says Xiao Qiang of the China Internet Project at the University of California at Berkeley. "In the long frame of history ... human freedom, courage, dignity will stay and prevail, and that's what that picture will testify [to] forever."

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...Gloabal Leadership: Grey Zone Paper Tiananmen Square Protests 1989 Chirs Niu 1454792 March 30, 2012 Box: 145 Industrial revolutions and economic reforms were the key drivers for Western societies to start the march towards democracy. The world’s most populated country, China, led by its historical figure Deng Xiaoping, started economic reform in the late 70s. Ten years of reform changed the country revolutionarily, making a once unenlightened and closed society prosperous and promising. The then current democratic atmosphere of the world heavily influenced the Chinese intelligent individuals, especially educated youth from state universities, during the late 80s. Nevertheless, the one party dominated socialist nation, which lived on its complete political control since independence in 1949, had not yet prepared to commence political reform that would eventually lead to democracy (CNN). In the early summer of 1989, astonishing sequences of events broke out and drew the entire world’s attention. This memorable event is known as the June 4th Event or Tiananmen Square Protests 1989. The Chinese government, unlike many democratic ones, uses authoritarian powers to facilitate political aspirations, from which the actions defined by the Communist Party as representing people’s rights and interests. Nevertheless, when students, workers and citizens marched on the streets all over China, the government chose to protect its own interests rather than those of the people’s...

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The June Forth Massacre

...China Pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong will be used as an example of this type of social movement. To begin with, here is the history of the movement. The China Pro-democracy movement is the largest- scale and longest-lasting demonstration in China. It started on 15th April, 1989 when the former general secretary of the Chinese committee secretariat Hu Yaobang suddenly died of a heart attack. The death of Hu not only brought the calling for vindication of Hu’s legacy but also the discussion of other political and social issues among the public especially the young intelligence group. Afterwards the university students used non-violent ways such as sit-in, the student’s strike and hunger strike to urge the government make changes in China .They listed some suggestions(“Seven demands“)including democratic reformation, a vindication of Hu and other five points for the government. However, the government did not take the suggestions into consideration and accused the students as extremely small segments of opportunists overthrowing the Communist Party and the political system. Finally the government declared the martial law and cleared the Tiananmen Square by killing protestors. The Tiananmen Square Protest was ended after the June Forth Massacre. Hong Kong plays an important role on the movement as...

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Tank Man

...Leonte Degraffenreid October 15, 2013 Engl 111 Professor Drake Tank Man On June 5, 1989 an unknown man from Beijing stood in front of a column of military tanks. This was the day the Chinese military had suppressed the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by force. This photograph was taken by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press. This picture is considered one of the iconic images of the 20th century. But there has been a repurposed image of the tank man that has yellow ducks instead of military tanks. The rubber duck has become very popular in Hong Kong Harbor. The author of this photo is unknown. It was published on June 5, 2013 on the Chinese micro blogging website Weibo, and has received so much attention that Chinese authorities have banned the term “big yellow duck”. What has not been told is that the government in china still does everything to keep the event in mystery, pretending it never happened. Looking at both of these pictures there has been a meaning change to the photo “Tank Man” because there was a switch of military tanks and rubber ducks. In both photo there is similarities and differences. In the Jeff Wiedener Photo “Tank Man”, there is a man who was protesting at Tiananmen Square while the military where going down the street. This unknown man, some saying his name is Wang Weilin, walked in the middle of the street and stopped in front of a line of military tanks. In a result of that these tanks had stop and tried to move around him and he......

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Media Literacy

...to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of a wide range of messages using image, language, and sound (Center for Media Literacy). By becoming media literate, it is hope that we will have a better understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our diverse culture. To showcase the importance of media literacy, analyses of news and commercial media are presented and discussed. News media are responsible for presenting current news and events to the public. An essential component of this category of media is photojournalism. However, questions are raised whether photojournalism is still essential to news media. One photograph that will reinforce the ever critical role of photography in news media is “China. Beijing, Tiananmen Square...

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Tianemen Square

...Tiananmen Square Conflict 241 people dead, and 7,000 wounded those were the numbers given by the Chinese government after the violence during the Tiananmen Square conflict in 1989. A more modern example of when a government turns its troops on protesters can be compared to the youth revolt in France in 2006. In France there were students protesting a labor bill that they believed to be unfair and in the case of the Tiananmen square conflict students and residents both protested because they believed their government to be unfair as well not following the Chinese Constitution. There are a few factors that could have contributed such as cultural, economical, or political ones. The main reason that many believe to be what led to the protests is the death of Hu Yaobang. Hu was the general secretary of the Communist party of China. He was considered controversial because he believed that the government should become more western in there policies and was a supporter of democracy. When Hu Yaobang suddenly died of a heart attack on 15 April 1989,students began to organize on the 16 of April. Millions of people joined the march making it as said by the article China-Conflict at Tiananmen Square: “ the greatest challenge to the communist state in China since the 1949 revolution”. The protests lasted for seven weeks until June 3 when the army moved into the area shooting random protesters. Outside governments were horrified but what had happened. UK Prime Minister Margaret......

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A Men and Andijksd

...A Gentler China: A special report; 4 Years after Tiananmen, The Hard Line Is Cracking By : Khadija Mukhtar Published: June 3, 1994 BEIJING, May 29— nearly four years have passed since the Communist hard-liners sent tanks to Tiananmen Square, filling the morgues with the broken bodies of young fighters for democracy and casting a repressive nightfall across the country. Now a dawn of sorts has gradually broken across China. While thousands of "counterrevolutionaries" remain behind bars, often subject to beatings and humiliation, on the whole the repression seems to be easing. China is in some respects putting the hard-line era behind it and returning to the way it was before the Tiananmen crackdown. In Hiding for Years One young scholar wanted by the police for his role in the democracy movement spent several years in hiding, trying desperately to flee the country. Last year he decided that escape was impossible, so he returned to Beijing and sorrowfully turned himself in to the police. "Frankly," a police official told him dismissively, before sending him home again, "we don't want you anymore." Fear has diminished, though certainly not vanished. Cultural restrictions have relaxed, allowing newspapers and magazines to write about issues like pollution and homosexuality. Thousands of political prisoners arrested after Tiananmen have been released, and most are allowed to leave China. Political study classes are out, and talk radio is in. One human face of these......

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China and the Tian'Anmen Bloodshed of June 1989

...“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not to fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also duffer a defeat...” (Giles, 1910) Ancient Chinese military general, Sun Tzu made this well-known statement. In relation to foreign policy analysis, it is important to consider about the best of one’s strengths and weaknesses. After all, we’re humans and it is in our nature and interest to want the best for ourselves. Humans are greedy and self absorbed. National leaders want to try to maximise national welfare or develop eventual benefits in a system where there are a growing number of states that want to increase control on an international scale, as well as to uphold their own interests. So that when it comes to decision-making, lawmakers are able to take advantage of this knowledge in order to make more effective policy decisions. The aim of the text is to establish the idea that decision making made by national bureaucracies, leaders and individual members of the government body has the capability to influence and impact decision making upon other international decision making systems. Sometimes, decisions are made for the best although it does cause misunderstandings and inconveniences. It is important to understand and accept the cultural and historical reasons of another state as to why they decide to make particular decisions. These decisions can draw meanings and can be used to make sense of......

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Google in China

...Internet censorship Increasingly, Chinese and Tibetan citizens both inside and outside areas of Chinese Government control are seeking information through the internet and other forms of online media.  The speed and bredth of information access which these mediums allow is a huge threat to the Chinese Government as they attempt to maintain propagandist views of 'sensitive issues' such as human rights, the Tinananmen Square massacre and Tibet.  As such, the Chinese Government goes to great lengths to control the internet and to limit the amount of information its citizens are able to uncover. On 13 January 2010, Google announced that it would consider pulling out of China after it emerged that hackers had been attempting to access the Gmail accounts of human rights activists. Google instead decided to drop the web filters imposed on Google searches by the Chinese government, leading to content which had previously been censored suddenly being made available to web users in China. Google users in China reported that content such as images of the Tiananmen Square massacre were suddenly available using a Google images search.  In March 2010, Google began...

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June Fourth

...that ended the large-scale, peaceful protests in Beijing and other cities that spring and early summer. Considered it as political disturbance It is impossible to understand today’s China and its relationship with the world without understanding the spring of 1989: the legacy of june fourth movement and how it affected today’s Chinese governance and foreign relations. Fear of another national movement, affecting social harmony and stability Today’s China: Politically more oppressive and closed atmosphere: “Neo-authoritarian” rule, relative social stability e.g. Effective state censorship has turned the vast majority of Chinese youth into "amnesiacs", while their parents and others of their generation keep silent about the recent past. Young generation are still ignorant about the event. According to Lim Louisa’s research and experiment, many young best-educated students could not recognize the iconic image of Tiananmen-Tank Man. A vast majority doubted the validity of the photo. e.g. high-school textbooks excluded this incident. Even some history textbooks-> claimed the imperialist Western world was trying to make socialist countries abandon the socialist route. e.g. detention of Tiananmen Mothers such as Ding Zilin and her husband , Zhang Xianling, cctv monitoring them. Each year, on the “sensitive day” of June 4, they send dozens of police, in uniform as well as in plain clothes, to guard the periphery of Tiananmen Square and prevent “troublemakers” from......

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Peoples Republic of China

...People’s Republic of China The People’s Republic of China: Who is in Charge SOC 315 Cross-Cultural Perspectives Instructor: Randall Norris June 21, 2012 People’s Republic of China My paper will focus on the People’s Republic of China. I will explain how the Communist Party of China came into power. While researching the Chinese Government I found the biggest problem is the government itself is based on a lie. The supreme ruling body that elects officials and makes laws is nothing more than a figure head with over 2000 members. Real power lies not with elected officials but with members of the communist party, many of whom are not in the public eye or are retired. A country would have to have been beaten down and kicked to allow this type of government to take root. In China’s case that is exactly what happened. To understand how The People’s Republic of China, or the PRC, came into power we must first look at the “Century of Humiliation”. This was a period that started with the first Opium War and continued until the end of WWII. Over this period the Chinese suffered at the hands of other countries (Mislan 2012). The Chinese were exploited by the British looking for a way into Chinese trade they offered up a highly addictive Narcotic. When the Emperor finally banned the importation of Opium half the country was addicted (Brook 2000). The British with the help of corrupted Chinese government officials won the war...

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Socialism Is Great

...“Socialism is Great!” A Worker’s Memoir of the New China Lijia Zhang Brittany Hall The 1980s is a decade where economic and political changes bewilder China. China received self-inflicted sufferings from the Culture Revolution, which continues to linger there today, even though China is now the most powerful economic engine in the world. These economic changes that China is facing are stretching the model of a Communist command economy towards a new model of a market economy and thrusting for individual freedom. In 1980, Lijia Zhang was just 16 years old when her mother dragged her out of school and brought her to work at Liming Machinery Factory that produced missiles designed to reach the United States of America. Around that time unemployment was rather very high, there was that temperate policy which aloud children to inherit their parents job if they retired. So her 43 year old mother took advantage of that policy, seeing as their family was very poor obviously. Her mother thought that if she didn’t take advantage of the policy now, that the policy would disappear. Because of that policy Lijia’s plans to ever attend college was vanished and belittled her dreams of writing and being a journalist. Her mother blamed her husband, who was mostly absent since he had gotten into political trouble in the 1950s, for his reckless fondness for books and ideas. This book is a journey about sexual and political awakening. Lijia transforms from a normal well behaved Chinese......

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Google in China

...many USA and multinational companies. But Chinese government had censorship demand to Google that created some problems with opening Google search engine in China. * In 2002 Google was blocked in China. It all happened because of Chinese culture and maybe of political views. Co-founder of Google Sergey Brin began to read a dozen books to know this country. And then Google was restored for unknown reasons but Chinese users faced another problem – censorship. Chinese government very aggressively began to censor Google’s search results. Google censored some historical moments, political topics such as democratic reform, Taiwanese independence, the banned Falun Gong movement and references to the notorious Tiananmen Square massacre of democratic protestors that occurred in 1989. After that the human rights activists protested against Google. Their argument was that Google abandoned it principals in order to make higher profits. * Explanation of implication of issues and problem for affected parties is simple. Google wanted to operate in China due to its economy and market potential and don’t wanted to lag behind of its opponents Yahoo and MSN. And Chinese government due to its political views wanted to censor and maybe control all searching results in the country. Possible solutions. To operate in China, Google firstly had to know more about China. About its culture and politics. Chinese political regime restricts most of things that are allowed in other countries......

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Google in China

...Case Study: “Google in China” University of Phoenix-MGT/448 November 28, 2011 Case Study: “Google in China” This case study will review and address Google’s entry into China. The following topics will be addressed: legal, cultural, and ethical challenges experienced by Google. This case study will also examine the role of China’s government in Google’s decision to operate globally in China as well as the strategic and operational challenges faced by the management team of Goggle with their decision to operate in China. In an effort to enter business in China and gain access to the world’s largest country, Google began offering a Chinese language service in 2000 from operations in the United States. In 2002, the Google site was blocked by the Chinese government and users were redirected to another site (Hill, 2009). Two weeks later, service was restored with no apparent reason or understanding of why the block initially took place or why it was restored. After the Google site was accessible by Chinese users again, politically sensitive sites were still not accessible, which implied the Chinese government was censoring certain sites. Google realized the need to establish operations in China, which finally occurred in 2005, despite challenges and criticism. Challenges Faced by Google There were many legal, cultural, and ethical challenges facing Google when the decision was made to provide services to China. When Google entered China, locations and hosted servers...

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A Story of History

...a2008 GP Paper 2 AQ 12 Anna Banatvala thinks an understanding of history is essential, whereas Lee Min Yen thinks history has no value. How important is an understanding of history for you and your society, and how far has your view been challenged or confirmed by these two passages? The importance of an understanding of history is severely weakened in countries where the history is distorted. Hence, my view has been largely confirmed by Lee Min Yen , the author of passage 2. Banatvala asserts that since similar causes produce similar results, the benefit of history is that it can teach us how to avoid our ancestors’ mistakes and emulate their successes. While it seems logically correct that we can learn from our past, the author has made a sweeping assumption about human character. If people are eager and able to avert their forefathers’ failures and repeat their successes, this may be plausible. However, in reality, people are influenced by a multitude of factors and circumstances that they have no control over. For instance, in my society, China has an undisrupted history of more than 5000 years and the causes and effects that account for a government’s success and failure are studied extensively. Undoubtedly, corruption was one of the primary factors that caused a dynasty to fail. Yet, in today’s China, corruption is still prevalent, if not more. Although many government officials are aware of the adverse impact of corruption, they are either unwilling or unable...

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