June 4

That time of year again. I remember my rage back in 1989. It was the first time I ever watched CNN, and I was glued to the TV set although I knew next to nothing about China at the time. I remember my shock at Bush I’s “punishment” of the dictators with blood on their hands – some all but meaningless sanctions. The man who stood up against the tank, the stranger who entered all of our living rooms and shook the conscience of the world. The moment of hope, when it seemed to so many of us that the students were really going to make a difference and force their corrupt leaders to reform. No one imagined the idealistic young men and women would be greeted with live ammunition, shot dead in the streets like animals.

Nearly 20 years later it seems so far away, so distant. But not at all forgotten. At least not for me. Talking with my Chinese friends in Beijing, it also seems so irrelevant, something they would rather not acknowledge let alone dwell upon. I only really began to understand the Chinese perspective on the tragedy five years ago when I held an extensive conversation with an actual demonstrator. His words sounded so strange to me. He had gone to demonstrate, to actively protest against his government, and now he looks upon the massacre as a practical and necessary business decision. Painful to make at the time but ultimately good for the country. And I believe it’s safe to say that his opinion is in line with that of most young Chinese people today. There is almost a sense of gratitude for what the government did, saving them from the anarchy that consumed Russia in its rush to democratize. Preserving the harmony that allowed the economic miracle to rise to undreamed of height. Surely it was all for the best, and your heart has to go out to the poor officials forced to make such a difficult decision.

I understand his argument, and I understand why my Chinese colleagues across the board tow the line on this topic. Many months ago I gave up hope of having a rational discussion with them on topics like this. The last time I tried was about two weeks ago, when I argued with a beloved colleague about whether Mao had been good for China or bad. When I recited the litany of his sins, which are nearly as bountiful as Hitler’s, I got the tape recorded message that still, he was good for China. You know, seventy percent and all that. At least now I understand why she says that.

If you read my other posts on Tiananmen Square, you’ll know I don’t see the students as angels. Nothing is ever that simple. Nor were the party’s players all devils. Forces inside the party were grating against each other and…well, no sense in restating what most of us know. For me, the bottom line was that the party showed us just how ruthless and obsessed with self-preservation they were, not that there was ever much doubt. And for that, I can never forgive them, even if their own people can. I see what they are doing today, stopping parents who lost children to the Sichuan earthquake from demonstrating, and I remind myself that for all the steps forward, theirs is still an authoritarian government that can easily morph into a totalitarian police state when it feels threatened. The script is so similar; all of our hopes were raised when we saw the relative media transparency the state was allowing in the earthquake’s coverage. It didn’t take long to bring us all back down to earth.

And so we can wring our hands and complain and blog and point out the hypocrisy and the two-facedness and the outright badness. But as long as the Chinese people refuse to call the government to account or even to acknowledge its selfish intentions, like my friend who insists Mao was a net plus for China, meaningful political reform will remain minimal and painfully slow. Some uplifting spurts forward, some painful setbacks. It’s gotten better, as the cliche goes, but let’s not fool ourselves: if a similar threat were to arise now or in the future, those in power would be willing to replay the ‘incident” all over again. Reluctantly, for sure, but in the end it would be “the best thing for China.”

I’m in America for my last vacation before the fall. I know I’ve disappointed a lot of readers with the sparse posting, and no one is more depressed than I am at the inanity of some of the recent comment threads. I simply feel I have no choice. A lot of emails have gone unanswered and a lot of topics I’ve been dying to post about have gone unwritten. That’s the best I can do for now, and it won’t get better until the autumn. Let me just close by saying my work has involved me in the relief efforts for the children displaced and orphaned by the earthquake, and no matter how the government may have infuriate me in recent days, and no matter how frustrated I feel with Chinese friends who refuse to see the world as i do, the rush to help and sacrifice and give has been one of the most inspiring and moving things I’ve ever seen. As usual with China, a flood of contrary emotions collide, from tearful joy at the selflessness and generosity of the people to anger and impatience at the cruelty of some in the government to indignation over the corruption that allowed the schools to crumble. Each of these emotions is equally legitimate, and one does not invalidate the other.

Update: And let’s not forget, the TSM remains the most taboo subject in China. And for good reason.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 116 Comments

There was no deliberate massacre of students. The students had been acting up before the army moved in, the army was attacked, fired in self-defence and things went crazy from there. The army were instructed to clear the square and casualties on both sides resulted – but this is far different from wilful murder. Footage of the ‘tank-man’ actually says it all. The PLA man in the tank actually popped out and tried to talk sense into the ‘tank-man’ – rather than just run him down.

June 4, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Comment

Deng’s decision was a hard one- and one that was strenuously argued over within the party. It was not one taken lightly. There were plenty of negatives either way. In the end Deng took the decision that was bad for his own reputation, bad for some innocent protesters, but good for the long term interests of the country. That is what takes courage.

There was far more deliberation, agonizing within the party on the June 4 actions, than there was by Truman when he decided to drop that atomic bomb. And the price China would have paid in not suppressing the rebellion would have been far far greater, than the price the US would have sustained in not dropping the bomb – which was completely unnecessary.

June 4, 2008 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

Richard, think in terms of the alternative scenario. What would the likely situation of China be today if the movement was not suppressed. Would the sum-total of human suffering caused by the suppression really have outweighed the sum-total of human suffering caused by the ensuing turmoil if the movement had not been suppressed?

The only objective way to judge June 4 is to think terms of Expected Values – sum of individual outcomes x individual probablilities. If outcomes are measured in terms of human suffering (however that is quantified), even killing perhaps 10,000 students could have been well worth it – even if the actual probability of turmoil would have been significant but not great.

June 4, 2008 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

Wayne, we have been through all this before. Read my earlier posts on TSM. I know all sides of the story. I read the Tiananmen Papers. I know there were good people involved and some who were more self-serving. I also know they could have tried tear gas before live ammunition.

June 4, 2008 @ 2:10 pm | Comment

Nicely written, Richard. People tend to see things as black and white when it comes to Tiananmen, whether its siding with the conservative faction of the CCP or the students, calling one side heroes and the other villians when it’s not nearly as simple.

But there was a reason why violent force was used instead of tear gas. The conservative faction wanted to make sure that such protests, which were fairly common throughout the 80s though smaller in scale, would no longer be seen as acceptable while completely destroying the powerbase and legitimacy of the more liberal members of the NPC.

As for what would have happened if violent force was not used, I doubt the CCP would have collapsed. The student movement was limited to students and urban areas who were protesting about ideas that did not connect to that of the peasants or most of the common people. The movement itself was dying out as the tanks and the hot Beijing summer moved in and most of those who remained in the square were new arrivals.

I seriously doubt that the unity and integrity of the Chinese state was not threatened in the same way that the USSR was. There was very little chance that Deng’s influence would have suddenly disappear and Zhao Ziyang would become China’s Yeltsin. But whatever, I mean all this stuff is speculation.

June 4, 2008 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

Richard,

Re: “There is almost a sense of gratitude for what the government did”

What do you mean by “what the government did”? Preventing China from going down the path of Russia? Then YES! The bloodshed? Hell NO! You don’t seem to accept both positions can co-exist within one person. But why not?

Re: “… would rather not acknowledge let alone dwell upon.”

Could this reflect an emotional conflict between an unwillingness to forgive the bloody suppression and the realization that there wasn’t a clearly effective alternative that would result in the country being even better off than it is?

By the way, such emotional conflict helps explain, in part, the strong animosity shown by mainstream Chinese towards the so called oversea democracy activists, which consists of many of the TAM student leaders, who agitated for the confrontation yet mostly slipped away before the real trouble and now are professional anti-China noise makers. There is simply no emotional conflict preventing people from casting blames on those people.

June 4, 2008 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

Well here’s another demonstrator, I was 17, I was there. I was young and stupid, I didnt know what we were against, but I knew what we were for, we hoped China can be a country like America. That notion now is lost after having lived there for 10 yrs. But I will say this, I will never ever forgive what CCP did at that night, no matter what. 永不原谅.

Was that a practical and necessary business decision painful to make at the time but ultimately good for the country? Would China be worse off had that night not happened? I don’t know. I m not smart enough to know, there have been too many factors in the past 20 yrs, probably we will never know for sure, but that’s not the point. The point is, it was a slaughter committed by a country’s millitary against it own people, no matter how much China has gained economically because of that slaughter, it ‘s still a slaughter, that’s a fact written by the bloods and lost hopes of an entire generation, the properity of the whole universe can not change that fact. And I m sure those fuckers who made that decision at that night didnt have China’s wellbeings in the long run in their mind, if there’s anything even remotely related to future it’s CCP’s own future.

I know my opinion is at odd with some of my fellow chineses, they chose to look otherwise because of the everlasting economic booming after that, (personally I have wondered if there’s a GOD they why he rewarded CCP after such an evil deed), they chose to look otherwise also because how disappointing the so called over-sea chinese democracy movment has been, we saw with our eyes how these people sold out their souls, I guess at the end of the day, money is the only one talks.

So that’s where I stand, as “Dumbass of the day(June,4th)” just nominated by another my fellow dumbass, proudly. I know I ‘m not alone, if you could read chinese you would find a lot of them share the same opinion from the internet. And I know one day this wrong will be righted, because human’s history is waiting impatience for the triumph of the insulted people.

June 4, 2008 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

and by the way, to Peanut Butter,

“I missed that one. If the Chinese are getting their information about the US from South Park episodes, I guess we have little to worry about.”

It’s still better than Americans getting their information about US , and the World from Fox News! last time I checked faux news is still the most watched news network in America no? that says a lot, I mean, A LOT about your country. And there’s 8 million noble Americans tune to Michael Savage’ s talkshow every week, yeah you heard it right, Michael Savage! that hateful and twisted soul…

June 4, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

DJ, that “keep us in power or China will disintegrate like Russia” line is a sham. It seems to have worked on you, though. As if history always goes in either one direction or another. No bumps or detours or unexpected bridges, etc. I find that those who embrace the “they saved us from becoming a wild anarchy like Russia did” qualify for the B word (brainwashing), and it’s a clever thing to brainwash people about. They are more than leaders, they are parents or shepherds or helmsmen guiding their young, ignorant but inherently decent flocks toward a better future. Some years later, by 1992, there was no doubt China and its people were indeed heading toward a better future. But I won’t say that getting to that point would only have been possible if the students and their supporters who were unfortunately on the wrong side streets that horrible night were massacred. I sometimes inwardly resist when I hear about brainwashing, as such charges against China and the US strike me as far too loose. In this example, where young, newly reformed Russia is made out to be a Sodom and Gomorra of corruption and crime and lawlessness, and that China would have followed that exact same model had Li Peng not had the machismo to order Open Fire…. Well, it sounds good and it paints a picture young children are very susceptible to. It just makes so much sense. Until you start looking at it more rationally and, most important, from a long-term perspective. Hell, Russia is still corrupt and dangerous, but it is also a much stronger country with a higher standard of living and many, many improvements – it is not hell on earth. And then of course, the key message of fear of the kind of corrupt that engulfed Russia in it early days as a democracy (and to a lesser extent to this day) — well, think about how ironic that is. No country anywhere is as mired in corruption as China. You cannot get corrupter. Read what’s going on in Sichuan province today as roadblocks are put up to protect the bureaucrats who allowed the bad schools to be built and signed their inspection forms. Maybe it makes some Chinese people happy to think they live in a corruption-free land. Only problem is that they don’t, and painting Russia as the bogeyman, the great example of the failure and anarchy and corruption democracy brings – that was a stroke of propaganda genius for which I give the CCP a big red star. The story still has legs and is recited like a script whenever the topic of democracy for China comes up.

Maybe China really isn’t ready for democracy (most developing nations aren’t, with one or two dramatic exceptions). But to create this irrational fear of becoming a second Russia and then to ingrain it so deep in the Chinese psyche, along with Taiwan needing to return to its motherland and the evils of the Dalai Lama – well, it does strike me as brainwashing.

We had it when I went to school in the US, also, but it was different. My 8th-grade teachers showed us in the textbook why pictures of Moscow were always shot on rainy days and everyone looked miserable with their faces down in the rain. They did this to give us a bad impression of Russia and Communism, she told us. Another teacher told us to be wary of the handouts in the cafeteria touting milk as a “miracle food” we should be slurping down 24/7 and then some. These were put out by the dairy lobby, she explaied. We knew there were lobbies and propaganda. I still look back fondly on the cynicism of some of my teachers who in essence told us to ignore the government’s heavy handed nonsense. No, I think the US scores way higher here than in China. We were taught the evils of the KKK, the Jim Crow south, the Yellow Peril and the Red Scare, and the brutal extermination of the American Indians and, finally, human slavery. I hate a lot of things America did. I honestly respect my educational system which, while not perfect, explored these crimes and called them what they were. I admit, I haven’t sat in at any middle school classes in China lately, but from what I’ve heard they re run quite differently from what I just described.

Way too long an asnwer. Hope at least a bit of sense can be gleaned from it. Good night.

June 4, 2008 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

It should be alright to try to understand what happened nineteen years ago. But I see no need to play “reason of state” experts. I suppose that all of us posting and commenting here are individuals, human beings, and expect good governance of those who govern and make such decisions. As Richard said – if Chinese people have no big expectations, it’s their choice (though at least some certainly DO expect something better). I sometimes get the impression that apologists who are not Chinese are more ready to “forgive” the leadership, than some of them might be ready to forgive themselves. And that looks weird to me.
Kudos @ ChinaFronting. But I don’t think that you were stupid. There’s such a thing as “emotional intelligence”, too, and more of it would do us all good. But aren’t the recent boom years only a reward to the CCP? Aren’t they a reward for many people after all? (I know – the shares in these gains aren’t always just, either.)

June 4, 2008 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

correction: “ARE the recent boom years only a reward to the CCP?”

June 4, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Comment

What “viddles” is Granny cook’n up?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/audio/2008/jun/03/guardian.weekly.podcast

June 4, 2008 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

Maybe it all come down to cultural difference in the end. The Chinese suffered over 130 years of anarchy and disorder, and people desired a strong government and an orderly society — something that only the CCP has provided for us in the last century and half.

A government is ultimately responsible to its own people. If its people can forgive, I don’t see what right foreigners have to complain and criticise. One lesson Westerners should learn is to mind your own business.

June 4, 2008 @ 6:37 pm | Comment

Since when has anyone else ever minded theirs? I, for one, recall the Chinese communists having been quite happy to sponsor anti-Western political movements across the globe when it suited them, now that the shoe is on the other foot, they don’t like it? BAAAAW MOAR, lol

June 4, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

At first I somewhat sympathized with the students. Then I noticed that some were growing their hair long and strumming guitars trying to be Bob Dylans. They put up that stupid statue of liberty look-alike and then I knew they were dupes of the US. And I have always had an aversion for hippie scum.

I was once a student myself – but never did grow my hair long or try to think I had the right to dictate to people more experienced than me on how things should be done. I learned respect from my elders from my parents. Those students had no respect for their elders.

So in the end I largely lost interest. The government probably saved millions of lives by the their action. Not to do anything could have resulted in mass chaos. China has had mass chaos from the early 19th Century up until 1976. So in that context the government’s actions that night were understandable – even if not entirely right.

June 4, 2008 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

the Chinese communists having been quite happy to sponsor anti-Western political movements across the globe when it suited them,

The US was worse. They bombed the shit out of Vietnam and sponsored Tibetan terrorists and the Dalai Lama. It was the Cold War you friggin airhead and everyone was doing this sort of thing.

Now it is not the Cold War. China keeps out of the affairs of Western nations. Western nations should reciprocate and respect China’s right to run her own affairs without external interference.

June 4, 2008 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

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Wayne, for some reason I could not post my response to your comments on the previous thread. Your arguments for killing lots of people in 1989 seem to be the same as for killing lots of Falun Gong people so I will just post it here and the two groups seem to parallel in this context.

Wayne, you are so wrong. Your logic is always flawed really badly. You are afraid of bloody insurrection so you support a bloody insurrection to prevent a bloody insurrection? You are afraid of religious groups because they MIGHT do something wrong so you support torturing them to death and brainwashing them to the point that they have to thank the party for the torture? Falun Gong people were no committing any crimes okay. You can’t just start torturing people, lying about them in the state lying machines and killing regular law abiding, nice people just because YOU and Jiang Zemin feel a tickle of fear that some people with beliefs are a threat to stability, it craziness. How would you feel if you were innocent falun Gong guy and you were turned against by the whole country for no reason? Yeah, you people believe whats in the state media and thats your folly, thats why I try to explain to you what I think, cause I never hear the state lying machine so I have a different perspective.

If someone commits a crime they can be punished by law through the legal procedure, that is normal. But why should a people who did nothing wrong be tortured to death? They are not allowed to have lawyers and the state insists that everyone shun them and even the education department is all over this. This is not a normal procedure. The CCP is very corrupt and what it does in unjust what it does is for itself and Jiang Zemin just wanted to have some fun, CCP style. In Germany there is no such persecution happening, the state does not approve of scientology, but they cannot go and torture people irrationally because they dont believe in their stuff. Germany is against the fact that Scientology calls itself a religion but is very sales oriented, so theres a conflict (they also force people to stay and do labour in their businesses I heard). They know that they have no right to persecute someone because of the belief itself.

June 4, 2008 @ 9:14 pm | Comment

I might ad that (I’m not an expert in government) that I think it is a mistake to think that just because the economy improved during Deng Xiaoping time, that it was due to the massacre or due to CCP accomplishment. China’s economy would have grown progressively stable with proper governance starting in 1949 if it had not been for the CCP starving everyone and going crazy with freak propaganda ideals. The CCP set China back so badly at that time and destroyed the country’s cultural heritage, which is far more serious that economic difficulty. So when the CR was seen by the party as something that could not be supported much longer by the people, Deng had to come up with a plan to save the CCP. And what brilliance, the guy figured out that communism sucks and that the economy improving was more important to Chinese people than Maos religion, so he let Maos religion go. Thats what he put and end to the religion that was taking China backwards. So the boom in economy was a natural effect of setting people free from Ma’s economic idiocy, it’s not miraculous, it is done by the peoples work and freedom to work normally.

However, they were only allowed the economic freedom and the social liberalization, they were still not allowed to question the powerhold of the party which was the goal of the party throughout. The freedoms opened up by Deng were to buy off peoples acceptance of party power. Freedom to make money is a human right, it is not something that the party gave to people, it was a serious crimes to do what they had done in forcefully revoking all rights under Mao.

June 4, 2008 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

There is no reason to think that just because there is kindness in government and human rights that there will be chaos, there is a thing called a legal system that punishes criminals, you can still have laws, but just laws and due process. “communists’ are still living in the dark ages where they think that thought freedom and dignity is chaos, its demeaning to you own people to think that way. You can do a lot better than you think, better than the states, better than Germany, you are not crazy animals (without the CCP). Please use a proper legal system instead of medieval dictatorial fear to judge who is good or bad. Much of what the students and all sorts were wishing for during that protest was very sensible and would have been excellent for China. You have sooo many problems in China now and it is all due to going against everything the people suggested at that time, the problems in China are due to the evils of repression and brutal totalitarianism, yeah, like that is so much more ‘harmonious’ than media freedom.

June 4, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

This is the perfect example to show that everything that the CCP has to be pompous about is all due to killing and terrorizing ‘subversive’ opinions. Now you have a country of bullcrap where people think that everyone supports CCP, but actually, they have NO CHOICE! No choice whatsoever, some choose their consciences, but they are kept in places you will never hear about in the STATE OWNED propaganda media. Truthfulness is outlawed in China and you have been so brainwashed that you actually SUPPORT THAT!? You believe that the CCP fantasy of lies is you hope for the future, you learned it in your grade school, you had no choice. You support a fantasy and the fellow Chinese who know the truth are considered to be causing instability, when will you stop hating truth and hating your fellow intelligent Chinese, you only love a fantasy and you are fooled, your country is a big mess cause no one is allowed to contribute real suggestions to improve fundamentally.

June 4, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

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Sharon Stone wondered aloud if the Sichuan disaster was karma for the bad things “China” has done to Tibetans… (she admit she looked stupid and apologized). And Chinese nationalists are up in arms, gone crazy spewing vile at her, firing her with personal insults all over the place (Cultural Revolution style). So I’m just wondering how people can curse her so badly for this kind of meek comment and out the other side of their mouths they are so happy that the CCP murdered so many innocent people in Tiananmen. Those people were more than innocent, they were true patriots, wishing for China to become better. So how can you cheer their deaths and stamp on their bodies in the name of the country being richer for them being murdered and at the same time you can curse Sharon Stone? If those Sichuan children died of murder by CCP so that you could be richer, you would be patriotically lapping up the propaganda and stamping on their bodies right?

The Chinese have never properly gotten over the horror of the CR and 6.4 and still promote murdering Falun Gong, so can you be surprised that some Westerners and others think not so well of China? Think about how Cnationalists feel about the Sharon Stone comments, now think about how Westerners might feel about people like Waynes comments about killing students in Tiananmen, Falun Gong, and CR. So Chinese think it is great glorious and correct to kill kill kill for communism (er whatever) but others should not criticize??? Isnt all this killing and gloating about stability and social harmony the same as any other criminal killing and stealing for the benefits it brings him?

June 4, 2008 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

wow Snow sounds like a angry youth.

“she admit she looked stupid and apologized”
get your fact straight, she didn’t apology …her agent and Dior wrote the sorry letter for her. She REGRET What she said and accuse the hk cable reporter edited her words. Stone ‘‘Let’s get serious here. You guys know me very well. I’m not going to apologize. I’m certainly not going to apologize for something that isn’t real and true — not for face creams.’

“So I’m just wondering how people can curse her so badly for this kind of meek comment”
80,000 ppl die, millions homeless…and you are saying those victims deserve this earthquake. are you suggesting Chinese should just stfu, bend over and take it?

“and out the other side of their mouths they are so happy that the CCP murdered so many innocent people in Tiananmen.”
“HAPPY!?” you got names/links/photos/videos to prove the existence of these ppl.

June 4, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

The nameless elders of the anonymous committee know whats best for the children.

June 4, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

“A government is ultimately responsible to its own people. If its people can forgive, I don’t see what right foreigners have to complain and criticise. One lesson Westerners should learn is to mind your own business.” (ABC)

@ ABC: I don’t think it’s that simple. China is part of an interactive world, and the policies of its leadership influence the rest of the world. I see no reason why Westerners should not judge China’s policies, people, etc. You are judging us, too, right?

June 4, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

What is meant by “biometric I.D.s”?

Is this technology that was banned for export post T.A.M.?

See Ms. Klein’s report:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/audio/2008/jun/03/guardian.weekly.podcasthttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/audio/2008/jun/03/guardian.weekly.podcast

June 4, 2008 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

p.s.: I think you can speak for yourself, ABC. But I don’t think that you can speak for all your compatriots.

June 4, 2008 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

I have no doubt it was a difficult decision for the government, and there’s likely blood on some student’s hands as well. But imagine U.S. 60′s era former students defending the Ohio National Guard’s actions that day at Kent State.

June 4, 2008 @ 11:43 pm | Comment

get your fact straight, she didn’t apology …her agent and Dior wrote the sorry letter for her. She REGRET What she said and accuse the hk cable reporter edited her words. Stone ‘‘Let’s get serious here. You guys know me very well. I’m not going to apologize. I’m certainly not going to apologize for something that isn’t real and true — not for face creams.’

Absolutely no reason why Sharon should apologise. She did nothing wrong. All the Chinese who have been vilifying her online ought to be the ones apologising for their childish behaviour.

June 5, 2008 @ 12:03 am | Comment

I remember still T-Square square. No act of government could be more vile than that one. I remember I documentary about the beginning of the PRC, one young son asked his father why they were so happy by the triumph of CCP, he told him, when you grow up you will know (he was full of hope). And yes in 1989 the son knew…

The CCP was scared witless, afraid of loosing power, seen as the so called “communist” world collapsed around them under its own weight. And yes, they were afraid, very much afraid. And reacted. How they reacted! Not even in the spring of Prage where Russians used tanks to crushed the revolt there, such level of degradation were reached. Not even in Hungary or in the revolt in DDR.
Even when time came for a communist coup in Russian, the army, the very Russian army, directed its tanks against the communist party. A soldier is sworn to defend his people… not a party.
What a difference. No young bodies littered the Red Square then.

Fortunately at least the CCP learn a lesson, and they now have anti-riot police.
An improvement. No more retoric about “that is only for capitalist…”

Feel pity for CH, that incident looms in the minds of may people in CH, sooner or later they will have to face it. No wonder that they still try to repress it. It is a dangerous issue, that could even put in jeopardy the future progress of CH.
The CCP have a lot of corpses in the blackboard, lets see how they handle it.

CH will never rise to the level of other countries, until they face this incident, the same way the German nation faced the holocaust.

June 5, 2008 @ 1:08 am | Comment

thanks Richard.

June 5, 2008 @ 1:50 am | Comment

Rohan,

I hope you’ve seen my latest reply yo you on the “Three Minutes of Silence” thread; (post 80).

I agree with you that a lot of the on-line vilification of Sharon Stone is over the top.

However, suppose that immediately after the Indian earthquake in 2001 which killed tens of thousands of people some international celebrity had got up & suggested that the earthquake was no accident but retributive “karma” – to punish Indians for, let’s say, their human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, or stealing Arunachal Pradesh from the Tibetans.

June 5, 2008 @ 2:53 am | Comment

Rohan,

I hope you’ve seen my latest reply you on the “Three Minutes of Silence” thread; (post 80).

I agree with you that a lot of the on-line vilification of Sharon Stone is over the top.

However, suppose that immediately after the Indian earthquake of 2001 which killed tens of thousands of innocent people some international celebrity had got up & suggested that the earthquake was no accident but retributive “karma” – to punish Indians for, let’s say, their human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, or for stealing Arunachal Pradesh from the Tibetans. The implication being that all those ordinary men, women & children were deservedly killed by God (or Whatever) because simply through being Indian they were implicated in the crimes of their government, their deaths being therefore part of some divine scheme of retributive justice.

Would you not have considered such a suggestion not only mad & stupid but also morally repellant & an insult to the Indian people? And would not a certain degree of criticism (of the person who made that suggestion) have been well merited?

June 5, 2008 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Rohan

Apologies for the one-and-a-half posts. My laptop seems to submit prematurely sometimes.

June 5, 2008 @ 3:33 am | Comment

Rohan is a troll craving for attention.

Pay no attention to a troll.

June 5, 2008 @ 4:23 am | Comment

I was in China on June 4 a few years ago. Do the TV stations still black out reports on the TS incident? I was sort of amused by how the TV goes blank sometimes during news segments, seemingly depending on the topic. But my China experience is more limited than most in this excellent PKD community.

June 5, 2008 @ 4:30 am | Comment

Wayne:

Your comments are terribly offensive and highly erroneous. Making historical comparisons of American History and Politics to China’s smacks of how utterly entrenched your braincells are by propaganda and the media. You want to disregard that, which is understandable, because asking you to acknowledge something that you have believed for so long and from the same source, might even be consciously impossible. You’re conditioned by it–blindly, unconstructivelly, and unabashedly.

Essentially, you lack the skills to–it seems–to dessiminate the truth from fiction–prefering to narrow it down to the adage I heard at times during the 60s: “______ love it or leave; my country right or wrong.”

As long as you believe China that is getting a bum rapped, you’ll make those comparisons, and you’ll defend verbally, and indignantly.

June 5, 2008 @ 4:42 am | Comment

Richard, a very good post. My own opinion is that the road to democratic government is a long and varied one for each nation. As I view the development of Anglo-American democracy, it began when Luther nailed his thesis on the cathedral door, hit another high with the English civil war and the glorious revolution, and emerged a yet imperfect democracy with the American Revolution. Today marks another milestone in its development, but that hardly means we have perfected the process. But, at least we recognize that ours is a continuing process. In the case of Russia and China, both emerged from Autocracy and adopt regimes based upon single party rule, which later degenerated into cults of a single personality. In retrospect, that almost appears pre-ordained. One is reminded of England under Cromwell and the Puritans, or France under Napoleon. I think that the best we can hope for is that China’s adoption of a multi-party system based upon the rule of law and a tradition of peaceful transition take place sometime during the lifetime of at least one of TPD’s contributors.

June 5, 2008 @ 4:53 am | Comment

Corn Dog

Re Rohan, yes, you’re quite right & I see it now. How could I ever have thought even for one moment that anyone could be so unintelligent as to believe what Rohan purports to believe? I actually thought he was trying to make a point, even if a stupid one. My only defence is that I’m new to the Internet, very new to this blog & of a naive & trusting nature.

However, I don’t think he’s the only troll to grace this blog. And there’s a grey area. One man’s troll is another man’s purveyor of provocative comment!

June 5, 2008 @ 6:21 am | Comment

We were taught the evils of the KKK, the Jim Crow south, the Yellow Peril and the Red Scare, and the brutal extermination of the American Indians and, finally, human slavery.

Yet America, collectively, has learned nothing from these lessons.

June 5, 2008 @ 6:57 am | Comment

So I’m just wondering how people can curse her so badly for this kind of meek comment

It’s the freaking internet.

Absolutely no reason why Sharon should apologise. She did nothing wrong. All the Chinese who have been vilifying her online ought to be the ones apologising for their childish behaviour.

You should apologize for being a little deceiver.

June 5, 2008 @ 7:06 am | Comment

Richard,

Interesting interview with the former Tiananmen protester. His opinion is hardly unique; on our blog, we’ve translated a number of “common” sentiments from Chinese chatboards. Every year, 6/4 remains one of the most heated topics of discussion in the Chinese community. And yet, most of this is unavailable to English-readers, who’re left to dwell on standard propaganda pieces. We wanted to help present a more balanced view of what many Chinese believe today.

But I want to add that ChinaFronting isn’t alone, many Chinese who were directly involved (and even many who were not) proclaim they will forever be angry with the government for their roles that night. Like others have said, those of us who weren’t there and didn’t see the blood-shed can never really understand what you saw… so I won’t claim that you’re wrong and pretend I can change your opinion. But at the very least, I hope you’re glad that today’s Chinese government is led by a man who was also on the square (and risked his career to do so).

June 5, 2008 @ 7:11 am | Comment

Reaction to Sharon Stone’s comments was not way over the top.
Jerry Falwell got a similar reaction when he said that America got what was coming to it on Sept 11 due to its moral decadence. I tend to agree with him.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:05 am | Comment

However, suppose that immediately after the Indian earthquake of 2001 which killed tens of thousands of innocent people some international celebrity had got up & suggested that the earthquake was no accident but retributive “karma” – to punish Indians for, let’s say, their human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, or for stealing Arunachal Pradesh from the Tibetans. The implication being that all those ordinary men, women & children were deservedly killed by God (or Whatever) because simply through being Indian they were implicated in the crimes of their government, their deaths being therefore part of some divine scheme of retributive justice. Would you not have considered such a suggestion not only mad & stupid but also morally repellant & an insult to the Indian people? And would not a certain degree of criticism (of the person who made that suggestion) have been well merited?

Bull. I would consider it the right of freedom of speech. You seem to be completely unaware that exactly this has already happened in India, and a long time ago, and by one of the most respected of Indians. I don’t expect you to know the details of Indian history, but if you’re going to make sophomoric conjectures about India, you might at least bother to read the Wikipedia entry on Mahatma Gandhi, which points out that

“On 15 January 1934, an earthquake hit Bihar and caused extensive damage and loss of life. Gandhi maintained this was because of the sin committed by upper caste Hindus by not letting untouchables in their temples”.

So the answer to your suggeestions are no, and no, and I suggest you revise your understanding of how tolerance and free speech operate in a free society in light of that.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:08 am | Comment

Richard: The relevance or not of Russia’s fate, the upshot of not suppressing the movement would have been too horrendous to contemplate.
It was a case of sacrificing a few to save many.
At least the decision was one that was not made lightly.

America killed several hundred thousand completely innocent men, women and children at Hiroshima and Nagasaki to save the lives of their own soldiers (that’s what they say anyway – facts are the bombings were to put the frighteners on the Soviets).

Madeleine Albright said the deaths of over half-a-million Iraqi children was in her own words “worth it,” to bring Saddam to heal.

And Bush and Cheney and Rice obviously think the deaths of a further half-million Iraqis was “worth it” to attain even the current undesirable outcome in Iraq.

So what the Chinese leaders did at Tiananmen was really chickenfeed compared to the above, no matter which way you look at it: the small number of casualties, the relative culpability of the victims (truculent protesters at Tianamen vs innocent Iraqi children), the actual intent of the action (deaths were collateral damage), what they were trying to prevent (turmoil), and the outcome – 20 years of stupendous economic growth resulting in the improvement of untold millions of lives.

Case closed.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Comment

Rohan:

India is hardly a shining light for the Third World. China provides the roadmap to modernization. As I have pointed out in a previous post, using facts and figures, India is a complete basketcase.

In Indian half of all children are malnourished (9% of Chinese children are).

Just on this one statistic alone, the Chinese government is far,far, far and way ahead of the Indian system in terms of its moral authority.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:24 am | Comment

Commemoration of the Victory against Counter-Revolutionary Riots on June 4th, 1989

The cause of the Los Angeles Riot is that someone videotaped a white officer beating a black man named King. This tape was played on TV, and a trial began, and the mainly white jury acquitted the officer. When this news broke out, massive groups of blacks went to the streets, hit on pedestrians, smashed stores. The Republican President George Bush ordered martial law, and moved National guard and the military into the city, and used violent to suppress the riots. Overall 55 people died. One person was shot directy in the head by the military.

The cause of the June-4th Incident was the death of reformist Hu Yaobang. Students surrounded the government compound as well as occupied the Tiananmen Square in Beijing under the name of “anti-corruption”. This happened on April 2.

Now, if this massive and surrounding of top government compound happened in the Nationalist government in the past, the gov’t would’ve opened fire immediately. If it happened in Moscow in USSR, the Soviet Red Army would’ve opened fired immediatley. If it happened outside the White House, the guardsmen would be ordered to open fire as well.

But in China, the government only wrote an Editorial on April 26 named <>. There has never been any government in history that acted so tamely than the Chinese government on this issue. What other government would have responded with a simple newspaper editorial to such dangerous and illegal behavior? If I were the Chinese government, I would have lost my patience, and smashed the rioters so severely that they dare not make a breathing noise. Fortunately, the Chinese government was not as vicious as I am, and it is quite clear how restrained and gentle and civil the Chinese government was.

But unfortunately, the students did not appreciate the govenment’s gentle heart, and wanted to legitimize an illegal act of surrounding government compound by the tens of thousands, and some “student leaders” wanted to leave themselves a “legacy” and fame. So they went a step further, and started hunger strikes and started to camp out on the public Tiananmen Square, increasing the size and hostility of the movement. The government was forced to make concessions again and again, and restrained from acting too rashly against the students, and took steps to satisfy the students’ needs. They met with students representatives, and even allowed that meeting to be carried by CCTV. But the students still refused to concede, and so the government had no choice but to grudgingly give a martial law order to keep the city from paralyzing. But the martial law was not carried out too seriously, because the government did not want to intimidate the students too much and simply wanted to give them an easy way out.

There’s a saying that “if you give someone some cookies, he’ll want some milk.” The students clearly did not appreciate the kindness, gentleness, and love of the government, and instead increased their size of the movement.

At the end, the government had no choice but to open some fires, and drive away the riots. The end result is that 200 or so people were killed, many of whom were indeed innocent pedestrians. How sad a tragedy it is.

Without the success suppression, China would not have the economic development and social stability it enjoys today, and certainly would not be considered a real competitor and player in the international stage. And the Chinese people today overseas would not been feeling so dignified and respected today due to their own nation’s economic performance.

Finally, I want to shout: “June 4th! Good Kill! Good Economic Development!”. Of course you may feel offended, so if I can delete that last slogan if you want me to.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:29 am | Comment

@Wayne

Regardless of who is a model for what, a point in which I have no interest and on which you are free to expatiate to your heart’s content we, ie. the world, ie. most of America, Europe and Asia, live to a varying but real degree in free societies. You Chinese can just carry on living in a goose-stepping society of totalitarian screaming freakheads and being an alternative model for Africa, but leave Sharon Stone alone. She is a citizen of a free society, not of China or of whichever retarded third world countries want to take Maoism as their model.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Comment

Rohan:
Other free countries in Asia – like your India?

What does freedom mean if half of your children are underfed, if half your women can’t even read?

And Rohan, we care naught for what Americans and Europeans think. We are not all white-man’s slave like you.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Math: I agree with most of what you have said.

Never in human history were so few killed to save and uplift so many

June 5, 2008 @ 8:38 am | Comment

@Wayne

You seem to persist in the misapprehension that I care what you think about India, or that I give a flying featherstonehaugh whether you or Zimbabwe want to treat India as a model, or any other such baloney. Truth is, you clowns in China have effectively declared yourselves apart from the free world; fine; do as you wish; have your own Olympics along with Sierra Leone and Syria; burn Sharon Stone in effigy over there for all anyone cares. I’m only pointing out that out here in the real world, the free world, which is to say everywhere from Japan to Brazil, Sharon Stone did nothing wrong, and nobody here should treat her as though she did.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:43 am | Comment

Originally copied from tiexue.net

In Shenzhen, in a small coffee shop by the road, I was meeting an Indian from our client company, on a business trip to China. I started my first conversation with an Indian. Indian asked me: “Why don’t you ask for a receipt for your coffee?”

I, confused, said, “I can’t reimburse it, why receipt”?

Indian proudly said, “When our company sends us on business trips, all meals are reimbursed”

He’s from the TATA company in India, working as a software programmer for TATA. TATA is one the biggest company in India, leader in automobile and steel.

He started to proudly show me his employee ID. And said, “In my company in India, I can take this ID and face a scanner, and all doors would open for me.”

I said, “We can do the same here.”

India coughed a bit, and asked me, “Do you know TATA?” I said yes I do, it’s a big company.

He looked very proud, and said, “Is your company a big one?”

I said, “It’s not so big. Only average in China. China has about 12 cell phone companies. Our is just an average-sized one”

He felt surprised for the first time, “China has 12 cell phone companies? I always thought there are only 1 to 2 companies in China capable of producing cell phones.”

I replied, “Our company is not so big. We only sold 10,000,000 phones last year.”

When Indian heard the figure 10,000,000, I noticed a big change in the color and texture of his face. His left eye twitched a little bit.

I then continued, “Hmm, yes. Last month, our company just sold half a million CDMA phones in India.”

Indian was shocked again, said, “half a million. That’s a big number. How many cell phone users in China?”

I replied, “China has China Mobile, and it has about 200,000,000 customers in China. Another one is called China Telecom, and it has about 100,000,000 customers.”

Indian looked he was about to faint, and said, “Oh my god.”, his voice a bit unstable.

I continued, “Usually for a Chinese, he buys a new cell phone every 1-2 years.”

Indian still could not believe his ears and thought I was lying. So he asked, “In China, can a software engineer make 150 dollars a month?”

I said, 150 dollars? That’s about how much they can earn in 1 week.

Then at the end of that day, he did something amazing.

He took out a CD, and came to my laptop, and asked, “Can your laptop support CD ROM?”

I thought to myself, “This is the level of an employee of India’s biggest software company?”

I lent him my USB harddrive. But his old IBM laptop did not support USB ports…

Then we went to our hotel, and in our hotel, I connected online using wireless. I then opened a friend’s MSN Spaces site, and showed Indian a few pictures of the city of Wu Xi. I told him, this is my hometown.

Indian was psychologically wounded, looked at the pictures, and said, “This is the most developed city in China, right?”.

I told him mercilessly, “No. There are a few hundred cities like this in China. Wu Xi is a very average one.”

Indian said, “Oh.”

I said, “Can I see some pictures of Indian cities”?

He stated shifting his eyes, and touched his face, and coughed, and said “Tonight is too late. I am kind of tired, let’s sleep first.”

June 5, 2008 @ 8:54 am | Comment

Math: Further to your observations here is proof of the backwardness of ‘democratic’ India compared to ‘totalitarian’ (in Rohan’s words) China. Article is by an Indian.

http://in.rediff.com/money/2005/sep/27china.htm

What more proof do you need that nations who worship the ballot box (a form of idolatory) are hopeless at delivering real prosperity.

June 5, 2008 @ 9:01 am | Comment

Rohan: I can tell by the tenor of your messages you are getting very very frustrated. It must feel bad to see the foundations of your own world view collapsing all around you on this messageboard.

China’s success vs India’s failure. China: 10 ‘Democracy:’ 0

Case closed.

June 5, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Comment

Great, the fenqing are onto the usual internet spam artist tactic of proof by non sequitur. No arguments on the issues under discussion, so let’s provide some arguments on a question nobody is interested in, which for this evening is: who has a bigger wiener, India or China? Not an argument I’m interested in participating, or relevant to this blog, or to people with brains. Go away, read real news from the real world, and come back when you have a clue, or something intersting to say. In the meantime you can read this, since you’re so interested in Indian mobile phone markets. http://tinyurl.com/6blvnk

June 5, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Comment

@Wayne

This message board has a floating population … a few months ago it had a number of interesting commenters, including the Chinese ones… which is what keeps, or kept people interested. Now that all that’s left is twerps like you, the messageboard is certainly collapsing all around us. But that’s no big deal. Next time you’re in India be sure to ask about the Hindu/Buddhist doctrine of impermanence. It has some relevance to online forums. Over time, all such forums develop a preponderance of idiots, until all that’s left is Waynes and Ferins, howling happily at each other. Have fun.

June 5, 2008 @ 9:19 am | Comment

Wayne wrote: “China: 10 ‘Democracy:’ 0″

This remark regarding the desirability of despotism vs democracy reminds me of the joke about the Chinese bloke who found himself mistakenly thrown into the city jail together with a “big fella”.

Big Fella: “So tell me, do you wanna be da husband, or da wife?”

Chinese bloke: “Why I say, I’d rather prefer to be the husband, thank you.”

Big Fella: “Then come on ova here and suck your wife’s cxxxck.”

Jed Shu Shu

June 5, 2008 @ 9:22 am | Comment

Wayne wrote: “China: 10 ‘Democracy:’ 0″

This remark regarding the desirability of despotism vs democracy reminds me of that scene from the movie Deliverance. (“He sure got a purdy mouth, don’t he?”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ6lizS3fzM&feature=related

June 5, 2008 @ 9:31 am | Comment

Wayne, you’re not stupid, but your argument about the massacre and how it “saved” millions (from what, exactly?) is. Bottom line is that whether the students were totally wrong and misguided, the killing did not need to take place. Read my interview with the demonstrator, and see how in Shanghai Zhu Rongji ended the demonstrations without bloodshed. The square was emptying, people were heading home. No one was saved by the murders. You have painted a false scenario: either thousands of people had to be murdered, or China would have been destroyed. This is to the letter what the CCP teaches, and you parrot it in perfect pitch. As I said, you are obviously intelligent, but this further underscores the point I try t make in this post, about how people I know and respect amaze me when they go onto automatic pilot and recite party dogma.

June 5, 2008 @ 9:55 am | Comment

Tang Buxi, thanks for the link – there is some excellent stuff there. There’s also some very predictable stuff, some of it bordering on self-parody. This was the line that stuck out for me:

As far as the deaths and injuries suffered during martial law, since this was the first time the Chinese government in its post-reform period had to face this sort of national incident, making mistakes during the handling process is understandable.

Mistakes in the handling process. We are talking about people’s lives, not bottles of cooking oil. Rather astonishing, how monolithic the mindset on this issue is.

June 5, 2008 @ 10:09 am | Comment

So this Indian guy and this Chinese guy were comparing the sizes of their thumb drives? What a romantic metaphor — thanks for sharing, Math.

June 5, 2008 @ 10:28 am | Comment

Next time you’re in India be sure to ask about the Hindu/Buddhist doctrine of impermanence.

I’ll enjoy the curry and the women. But don’t give a fat rat’s ass for those Indian origin religions – the emotional life of a piece of rock -what you call ‘enlightenment’ I do not find compelling.

June 5, 2008 @ 10:37 am | Comment

[...] Peking Duck: a very moderate post. [...]

June 5, 2008 @ 12:27 pm | Pingback

Great post, the first I read on your site, thanks to pfelelep.

@Wayne : I can’t believe you guy, but then I can’t believe most trolls.

“At first I somewhat sympathized with the students. Then I noticed that some were growing their hair long [...] I have always had an aversion for hippie scum.[...] Those students had no respect for their elders.[...] in that context the government’s actions that night were understandable[...]”

If one was to read this post quickly, one might think you’d condone shooting guitar-playing long-haired students (the scourge of the civilised world). If one was to pause and re-read, one might think this short post is basically a miniature rant, so the logic is not *in* the post, but self-contained in the mind of the poster.

Sorry guys, just had to let it out of my system.

June 5, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

[...] general sensitive subject – Brendan OKane (h/t ChinaLawBlog), SydneyMorningHerald, Hypocrisy.com, PekingDuck (h/t Kai Pan). Spread the word: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can [...]

June 5, 2008 @ 3:14 pm | Pingback

Wayne is posting from …

A) USA
B) UK
C) Canada
D) Down under

My guess is D). Anybody else? And then let’s do a poll on Math! What mobile phone company in China is he working for?

June 5, 2008 @ 4:33 pm | Comment

Pif: I remember distinctly some students with their hair down, strumming the guitar, trying to look like Bob Dylan. Then there was that ridiculous “statue of liberty” imitation.

The aim of these students was to replicate the American system in China. This would have disastrous consequences for all Chinese people.

That would have been like a red-rag to a bull to those older generation revolutionaries – courageous, dedicated men who struggled their entire lives for the dignity and well-being of the Chinese people.

Long hair, playing the guitar, moaning like a dog on heat into a microphone are in themselves are not capital offences.
But Asians who do this type of thing represent something that is spiritually speaking quite disgusting.

They did not deserve death. But neither do they deserve my sympathy.

June 5, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

Has anybody ever proposed a better solution in that kind of situation!

June 5, 2008 @ 6:28 pm | Comment

Cui Jian ROCKS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8UPST1ZKSw&feature=related

June 5, 2008 @ 6:58 pm | Comment

I think my first guess was wrong. Wayne’s aversion to long-haired students and Bob Dylan make it seem more likely that he is a right-wing Republican from USA.

June 5, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

swoo: Has anybody ever proposed a better solution in that kind of situation!

Yes, many times:

Tear gas
Rubber bullets
Nothing at all – the students had almost entirely left the square and the crowds were breaking up when the shootings started

That’s what makes this such a tragedy.There was simply no need.

Pif, thanks for that wonderful take-down of Wayne, whose response is impossibly lame. Bob Dylan imitators, unattractive replica of the statue of liberty – of course they had to be killed.

June 5, 2008 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

@Richard – see how in Shanghai Zhu Rongji ended the demonstrations without bloodshed. The square was emptying, people were heading home.

The comparison is spurious. The mass demonstration in Shanghai was nowhere nearly as chaotic and violent as that in Beijing.

The Statue of Liberty looklike that the demonstrators in Beijing put up there has got to be the biggest joke of all. Like many, I listened to VOA religiously in those days to get myself accustomed to American freedom and democracy as much as I could. But I sure didn’t hear a lick about Yellow Peril and rampant discrimination against Chinese throughout the U.S. history from the VOA propaganda.

I bet those hotblooded students in Tian’anmen Square didn’t know there existed something called Chinese Exclusion Act, which is the only chapter in the 15 chapters in Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) that is completely focused on a specific nationality or ethnic group, the Chinaman, that is.

June 5, 2008 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

Right, Bob. Kill them all.

I know the demonstrations in Shanghai weren’t the same as in Beijing. That doesn’t mean the only alternative was murder. You sound like the prototypical fenqing who inevitably invokes the either/or scenario: either blood is shed, or China will be destroyed. It had to be done for the sake of harmony. Well sorry, but blood didn’t need to be shed, and China wouldn’t have been destroyed if the government took a more humane stance.

I love the way you bring up America and make it sound as though it’s a hotbed of anti-Chinese racism, citing the Yellow Peril of how many years ago Sure there’s racism in America. But the Chinese there have thrived (as they do anywhere they go where they are allowed basic freedoms) just as my own relatives have (all Jews, also the victims of racism in America and elsewhere). There is a lot more to America than just racism. And in spite of its racism, a black man can run for president and a Jewish man can run for vice president and a black woman can be named secretary of state. So blanket generalities against America as a racist nation are meaningless. Stupid, too.

One important question for you, Bob: You refer to the Yellow Peril and denigrate America and sound quite rabid on the topic. If it is such a hellish place, how come you’re posting from Cincinnati, Ohio?

June 5, 2008 @ 11:33 pm | Comment

Richard, non-lethal anti-riot apparati such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and high-pressure water canon would have definitely been the weapon of choice had they been available to PRC state machinery. But the fact is China didn’t have those goodies, neither the police were ever trained to cope with the extreme situation like that.

June 5, 2008 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

Bob, are you going to answer my question about how you can rage against America while typing away in Ohio?

June 5, 2008 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

Hmm, did my mentioning of Yellow Peril somehow touch a nerve? Is it such a “taboo subject” you (or VOA for that matter) are paranoically trying to avoid at all cost? Richard, if you are so indignant about China, what makes you go China to earn your greenbacks?

To bring American’s past is relevant because it casts the legitimate doubt on dogmatic belief that democracy and freedom (note the selectiveness of the freedom) are the ultimate cure-all remedy.

June 5, 2008 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

No Bob, you didn’t touch a nerve. Did my mentioning you were posting from Ohio touch a nerve?

I am not indignant about China. Read this blog carefully. I dislike a lot about the government, and I also admit they do some things very well. I am indignant about Tiananmen Square, just as I am about the mess America has made in the Middle East. That doesn’t mean I hate America or hate China.

Still haven’t answered my question about why you’re living in America while slamming it as a racist country. I must have really touched a nerve….

June 6, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Comment

Richard, it looks to me you are in denial of the blatant sanctimoniousness exhibited by the typical westerners. I clearly recognize the U.S. has righted itself in the course of history, for the most part, but to reject the notion that the U.S. had long been a racist country is awfully ridiculous. To answer your curiosity, I am offering mine, what does my posting location have anything to do with the topic at hand?

June 6, 2008 @ 12:23 am | Comment

Bob, I am thinking you’re a troll. Who rejected the notion that America has been a racist country? I want you to provide the quote and the comment number. Here are my own words on the subject:

Sure there’s racism in America. But the Chinese there have thrived (as they do anywhere they go where they are allowed basic freedoms) just as my own relatives have (all Jews, also the victims of racism in America and elsewhere). There is a lot more to America than just racism. And in spite of its racism, a black man can run for president and a Jewish man can run for vice president and a black woman can be named secretary of state. So blanket generalities against America as a racist nation are meaningless. Stupid, too.

I acknowledge the racism, both past and present. I have no idea what you are talking about when you write, ” to reject the notion that the U.S. had long been a racist country is awfully ridiculous.” Again, what are you referring to?

June 6, 2008 @ 12:28 am | Comment

@Bob

“Richard, it looks to me you are in denial of the blatant sanctimoniousness exhibited by the typical westerners.”

Your name is Bob and you are from Cincinnati, Ohio. And you seem to have your information of recent Chinese history from China Daily. For all I know you could be a sanctimonious westerner.

“I clearly recognize the U.S. has righted itself in the course of history, for the most part, but to reject the notion that the U.S. had long been a racist country is awfully ridiculous.”

What is a racist country? A country where racism exists? That would be pretty much every country on this planet. A country with a history of ethnic conflicts, human rights violations and discrimination? Most countries on this planet, I would say. A country where, in spite of racial discrimination, a man whose father was born on a different continent has a realistic chance to become president and a man who was born on a different continent himself can become governor? That would be the USA.

“To answer your curiosity, I am offering mine, what does my posting location have anything to do with the topic at hand?”

The funny thing is that almost all the trolls who try to gloss over the crimes committed by members of the CCP and justify them by pointing out that the USA are the evil incarnate, almost all those trolls are residing in the USA. Except for those who are living in Canada or New South Wales, that is.

June 6, 2008 @ 2:35 am | Comment

I think alot of Chinese Americans should deserve angry to be here. There was one governor, Gary Locke from Oregon who made the Democrat’s response to GWB’s 2003 State of the Union Address. Of course, he received death threats and the ‘why don’t you go back to your own country’ response. There are some who fled from China because of political persecution. Them and their ABC descendants find the same kind of prejudice here because their country do not like China. When they want to seek a democratically elected office like any other regular American, they are jeered and booed like Gary Locke. Yet more than 3 million of these Chinese Americans are unable to do so. They can’t be part of the government here or there, so what’s the point.

June 6, 2008 @ 3:48 am | Comment

Seems to me Richard and mor are intent on crucifying Bob for an accurate and insightful point. If he didn’t touch a nerve, I don’t understand the reaction.

Bob’s point is simple: the democratic mechanism still enabled a century of slavery, and then another century of institutionalized racism. So, therefore, it’s not a cure-all to a society’s problems.

I have no idea where hatred of the US, where his geographic location came into play.

June 6, 2008 @ 3:57 am | Comment

And let me add another word. Bob mentioned that the protests in Shanghai were not as furious or red hot as those in Beijing. This is a statement of fact. (Shanghai is lucky though; violent mobs killed/looted/burned their way through a number of inland cities.) Beijing had a more difficult problem as it was the heart of the movement, it had attracted the most extreme, most passionate of student protesters nation wide.

To Richard, making this point is equivalent to saying “kill them all”. Who’s the fenqing here?

June 6, 2008 @ 4:00 am | Comment

What better way to self-expose the bigotry and intolerance to different (albeit somewhat pungent) opinions than the posts above, by the self-proclaimed freedom warriors? LOL

Richard and mor, my situation is not much different from those of your foreign residents out there trying to get a piece of pie in China. 彼此彼此, got it?

Sorry to disappoint you, I don’t get my news from China Daily and Xinhua, but rather a variety of internet sources. I am fully aware of PRC propaganda, to which I’ve long been immune. I consider myself experienced in quite a bit of the “best” of the two worlds.

Richard, despite your forced admission of racism in the U.S., you sounded extremely defensive and touchy on the subject of Yellow Peril. Your characterization of my opinions manifests an unspoken subconsciousness.

The demonstrators at Tian’anmen Square took comfort in the frenzy support the outside world threw at them, and grew bolder with each of their moves and demands, apparently unaware of the fact (or at least the possibility) that the show of intense care was largely driven by the self-interests, not the virtuous altruism, of those countries. The motto of hating the government (on grounds of incompatible ideological and political differences) not the people is not a very good excuse, in light of the Yellow Peril that historically had zilch to do with Communism, but everything to do with race and nationality. If those student demonstrators had stepped back a little and tried to realize the motivation behind the gleeful obsession by the westerners at the total chaos in China, they would have mostly likely sought a better alternative to deal with government official’s corruption and lack of openness in China.

June 6, 2008 @ 4:17 am | Comment

@Buxi, well said.

@Richard, this post of yours is, as usual, informative and meaningful, but it is also a rant (and I use the term in a non-negative manner). Your responses to the comments in this thread seem to be driven by emotions a bit more than usual. It is as if you are having a heated argument over a glass half full or half empty. “How could they remain silent? Or worse yet, take the position that it is half full? Can’t they see it is so obviously half empty?!” I don’t see how these two types of views can not co-exist. So what’s wrong if people prefer to see it as half full? And what is your reaction to the decidedly half (or three quarter) full oriented opinion piece in the WSJ by Gruce Gilley?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121252350348242359.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

As for your argument with Bob, is it really proper for you to use your access to his logged information that way? I mean, I have read in this blog some truly nasty and despicable comments coming from some people and I don’t recall their personal information being used against them in the open.

June 6, 2008 @ 4:29 am | Comment

@Tang Buxi

“Seems to me Richard and mor are intent on crucifying Bob for an accurate and insightful point. If he didn’t touch a nerve, I don’t understand the reaction.”

Nobody wants to crucify Bob or anybody else. What is Bob’s “accurate and insightful point”? I really would like to know. Yeah, he really touched a nerve when he suggested that the students deserved to be shot because they put up a fake “statue of liberty”. Maybe you would understand the reaction, if your son got shot at a demonstration.

“Bob’s point is simple: the democratic mechanism still enabled a century of slavery, and then another century of institutionalized racism. So, therefore, it’s not a cure-all to a society’s problems.”

Nobody ever said that democracy is a cure-all to a society’s problems. What’s your point? Why did you choose to live in a democratic society?

“I have no idea where hatred of the US, where his geographic location came into play.”

Would you like to live in a place that you hate? Why would you live in a country that is evil, if you can go back to your home country which is a worker’s paradise?

June 6, 2008 @ 7:50 am | Comment

Mor: Europeans ie white people swarmed all over the planet in the 19th and 20th centuries, stealing land and plundering the resources of people all over the world.
Because of past imperialism, the West today still controls a vastly disproportionate amount of the world’s resources.
China was a rich nation with the largest GDP in the world before 1840. Then the British came with the infamous Opium Wars and drained China of vast amounts of silver.
Then the French came, then the Americans came, the Germans, the Russians, the Japanese.

And tremendous upheaval came to China, wars, famine, revolution, massacres followed – and so many Chinese went all over the world to seek better living conditions.

Chinese people just because they live in America don’t have to bow down and scrape and say thank you white man for tolerating my presence.
Coloured people have every right to seek riches in the West. Afterall whites at the point of a gun streamed wealth from the East into the West.
And those present in the West have every right, indeed a duty to point out racism in those countries.
And they also have the right to point out the hypocrisy of the West when it bullies China, a country plundered by the West in the past.

People like Richard criticize America – no one says to him “why are you living here?”
People like Bob criticize America – and Mor says “Go back to China!”

So it is obvious that whites belong and have a right to the world’s wealth. But Chinese do not – according to the law of MOR.

June 6, 2008 @ 8:24 am | Comment

DJ, saying what city or country someone is posting from is not giving away any secrets, especially when all you know about this person is that his name is, maybe, “Bob.” If this can cause harm, embarrassment or any kind of issue at all for “Bob” please tell me how. I’m waiting.

CCT, I’m not “crucifying” “Bob.” I guess I touched a nerve with you, seeing how you are reacting. He called America a racist country and talks about it like it’s hell on earth and he’s posting from Cincinnati, Ohio. Yes, I am definitely crucifying him. Yes, I definitely “touched a nerve.”

Now that Bob has succeeded in derailing the thread, I’m closing it down. I request we stick to the topic going forward.

June 6, 2008 @ 1:03 pm | Comment

Okay, I was really mad at some of the comments yesterday but wil re-open this thread provided we stick to the subject.

June 6, 2008 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

@Bob

“What better way to self-expose the bigotry and intolerance to different (albeit somewhat pungent) opinions than the posts above, by the self-proclaimed freedom warriors? LOL”

I’m not a freedom warrior, I’m just a troll with too much time on my hands. If you express “somewhat pungent” opinions, you’ll get “somewhat pungent” replies.

“Richard and mor, my situation is not much different from those of your foreign residents out there trying to get a piece of pie in China. 彼此彼此, got it?”

Yeah, I got it. See above!

“Sorry to disappoint you, I don’t get my news from China Daily and Xinhua, but rather a variety of internet sources. I am fully aware of PRC propaganda, to which I’ve long been immune. I consider myself experienced in quite a bit of the “best” of the two worlds.”

That’s the great thing about living in a free country. You can have the best of the two worlds.

“Richard, despite your forced admission of racism in the U.S., you sounded extremely defensive and touchy on the subject of Yellow Peril. Your characterization of my opinions manifests an unspoken subconsciousness.”

What forced admission? Richard criticizes the crimes and failures of the American government as much as those of the Chinese government. Always has.

“The demonstrators at Tian’anmen Square took comfort in the frenzy support the outside world threw at them, and grew bolder with each of their moves and demands, apparently unaware of the fact (or at least the possibility) that the show of intense care was largely driven by the self-interests, not the virtuous altruism, of those countries. The motto of hating the government (on grounds of incompatible ideological and political differences) not the people is not a very good excuse, in light of the Yellow Peril that historically had zilch to do with Communism, but everything to do with race and nationality. If those student demonstrators had stepped back a little and tried to realize the motivation behind the gleeful obsession by the westerners at the total chaos in China, they would have mostly likely sought a better alternative to deal with government official’s corruption and lack of openness in China.”

The old conspiracy theory: Every genuine movement of the people against the government has to be driven by evil outside forces. What better alternative is there than a peaceful demonstration? And what happened when the demonstrators stepped back a little? They were shot in their backs.

June 6, 2008 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

test: comments closed?

June 7, 2008 @ 1:05 am | Comment

Rohan

You wrote

“Bull. I would consider it the right of freedom of speech. You seem to be completely unaware that exactly this has already happened in India, and a long time ago, and by one of the most respected of Indians. I don’t expect you to know the details of Indian history, but if you’re going to make sophomoric conjectures about India, you might at least bother to read the Wikipedia entry on Mahatma Gandhi, which points out that

““On 15 January 1934, an earthquake hit Bihar and caused extensive damage and loss of life. Gandhi maintained this was because of the sin committed by upper caste Hindus by not letting untouchables in their temples”.

“So the answer to your suggeestions are no, and no, and I suggest you revise your understanding of how tolerance and free speech operate in a free society in light of that.”

Rohan, you have completely misunderstood me. What on earth has this got to do with “the right of freedom of speech”? Some seriously muddled thinking from you here, I’m afraid.

Reread what I wrote. Where did I say that Sharon Stone should not be allowed to say what she said? Where I disagreed with you was on your opinion that she “did nothing wrong”. It doesn’t follow, just because she had a right to say what she did, that she was therefore right to say what she did. Do you see the difference that an article makes? In my opinion, what Sharon Stone did was wrong, even though I think she had a right to do it.

Similarly the Chinese netizens have the right to criticise Sharon Stone for her statements: that too is freedom of speech, isn’t it? How then can you say: “All the Chinese who have been vilifying her online ought to be the ones apologising for their childish behaviour”? If, as you say, there is “absolutely no reason why Sharon should apologise”, why is there a reason why her Chinese critics should apologise? Do you see that you have utterly contradicted yourself?

Unless, of course, all you’re really saying is that you sympathise with what Sharon Stone said – perhaps you even believe in that “bad karma” mumbo jumbo? – & that this is why you believe that she did nothing wrong & has no reason to apologise. But you can’t justify the nature & content of what she said merely by defending her right, which I’m not disputing, to say it.

Sharon Stone’s “freedom of speech” is therefore not the issue here. However, it may be an issue for some of her more vitriolic on-line critics, who would seem to wish to deny her that freedom. Indeed, this is one of the main reasons why I wrote in my last post (addressed to you): “I agree with you that a lot of the on-line vilification of Sharon Stone is over the top.”

In light of the above I hope that you will allow me to suggest, gently & with respect, that you give thought to revising your own “understanding of how tolerance and free speech operate in a free society”.

June 7, 2008 @ 9:15 am | Comment

June 4th was a watershed in the shifting of the Party’s power base from the peasantry to the growing urban middle class. After the violent crack down, the Party proceeded to co-opt the troublesome ‘intellectual’ class with the urban economic reforms of the nineties and shifted away from the peasant focussed rural reforms of the eighties. The urban middle class minority has a stake in maintaining the current authoritarian business-friendly regime and shares in the spoils of the economic exploitation of the politically weak peasant majority.

June 7, 2008 @ 11:27 am | Comment

@Wayne : I’m sorry if I made you think I inteded to discuss with you (more than by posting in the same comments). I don’t want to and will not, but the least I can do is tell you and the other readers why – mostly because I think I can express it clearly, and I’m so in love with myself I won’t spare you the rant.

It is not because we obviously disagree on a lot of points, it is neither because of the tendancy to rant I see in your posts. There are two main reasons.

The first one is, to me, a gaping hole in your logic. You seem to entertain then notion that despotism (or tyrany, or ploutocracy, or whatever, let’s assume for the sake of argument they’re synonyms and that I don’t misunderstand your general point), can be more useful and desirable than democracy. Examples discussed here and there abound, but there is a much simpler and fundamental point I want to make here : if despotism is to be chosen for a nation because it seems ” objectively ” better, who gets to choose exactly? On what criteria is the form of governement imposed (its pure essence, in the case at hand!) on a nation? That would be by those who have power (again, the criteria of powers and the means by which it is obtained are irrelevant), those that can ask themselves the question and actually choose.

This means that only their opinion, in the general interest, is relevant. That means, if you don’t have power, your opinion, in * this * point of view specifically, is irrelevant. Basically, on this website, your authority is exactly the same as mine or as anybody’s: none, you’re a chump. We all are, here, which is absolutely fine by me, but it means that according to this view, your opinion doesn’t matter. That is the fundamental logic flaw is see. Your own view discards your own view as irrelevant; by choosing this opinion, you deny your own legitimacy to express it. Bummer.

The second one is what I believe to be an irreconciliable ideological divide, and derives from the first one : if sometimes democracy is to be preferred, the underlying notion is that democracy is a right that has to be earned (and thus awarded by those in power – or taken by force, but that is another debate I don’t want to go into either. I will not sidetrack myself, at least I hope).

That is, a given nation or a given nation’s people has to be deemed worthy of exercising their political freedom. Now, how do you prevent this? By saying they are not worthy. Why? Either because of their essence (culturalism, racism, whatever, and I assume you don’t walk this road, as most people I’ve met who seem to think this way) or because of their inexperience in exercising said fredom. You know you’ve heard it : women’s right to vote, freedom of the slaves, etc etc, they of course all need guidance from more experienced people…

But that is a circular reasoning. Either you assume people * can * exercise their political freedom, including their freedom to make mistakes and hopefully correct them, or you don’t. If you deny them the right to exercise it by saying that they are too inexperienced, you deny them the right to practice it and become worthy of it. Checkmate. That is an act of faith, purely speaking, an ideological divide that can’t be crossed : you basically believe in people, or you don’t

That doesn’t imply absolute freedom without any duty for any individual, don’t get me wrong, juste the political freedom, the right to try to build your own society.

I know it seems ridiculous to write so much just to explain I won’t discuss with you, but basically, that is why I think any discussion between us is bound to be sterile.

And when you say “long hair”, I think more of John Lennon (or Marilyn Manson, to stray further) than Bob Dylan, unless you think the ’65 Beatles have long hair. You see? The gap is too wide, we can’t discuss.

June 7, 2008 @ 8:25 pm | Comment

The first one is, to me, a gaping hole in your logic. You seem to entertain then notion that despotism (or tyrany, or ploutocracy, or whatever, let’s assume for the sake of argument they’re synonyms and that I don’t misunderstand your general point), can be more useful and desirable than democracy.

I assume by democracy you mean one many one vote. If this is the case I think there is plenty of empirical evidence to suggest the most rapid way to modernize a poor backward country is responsible authoritarian government first, with gradual liberalization as conditions improve and a stable and numerically strong middle class evolves.

So in this respect, authoritarianism is definitely more ‘useful and desirable’ than democracy. Where would you prefer you children to be raised Pif – ‘democratic’ India or ‘communist’ China?

And if democracy is the most efficient way to achieve clearly defined, relatively short term goals, under dire exigencies, then surely the military would implement democracy, where the privates get to vote for the generals. But even a dreamer like you would admit that this would lead to chaos. There is no institution more authoritarian than the military.

Are there any major corporations which run as a democracy? I think not – you do as you are told or leave. And if there is a system of collective decision making, it is rarely the case where the assembly line worker gets to decide on who the CEO will be.

Surely if democracy was the most profitable and efficient way to run an organization then ever Fortune 500 company would have implemented such a system long ago.

So definitely – under some circumstances, what you call ‘despotism’ is more useful and desirable than democracy.

June 7, 2008 @ 9:31 pm | Comment

And when you say “long hair”, I think more of John Lennon (or Marilyn Manson, to stray further) than Bob Dylan, unless you think the ‘65 Beatles have long hair. You see? The gap is too wide, we can’t discuss.

Who cares? All vermin.

And yes the gap is too wide. That is why I will not bother replying to the rest of your twaddle.

June 7, 2008 @ 10:07 pm | Comment

“So definitely – under some circumstances, what you call ‘despotism’ is more useful and desirable than democracy.”

Especially when you yourself have the privilege of living in the USA or another English-speaking democracy.

“Who cares? All vermin.”

Now where are all those outraged voices I hear screaming every time kebab boy “goes to far”?

“And yes the gap is too wide. That is why I will not bother replying to the rest of your twaddle.”

Why don’t you just admit that Pif took your whole argumentation apart and you don’t know what to say anymore, you pathetic little troll?

June 7, 2008 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

Wayne is going to be banned as a troll.

June 7, 2008 @ 11:33 pm | Comment

test comment

June 8, 2008 @ 12:49 am | Comment

mor, I only banned nanhe once, for about a week. Wayne’s comment is far worse and I won’t tolerate it. He’s out. If he wants to come back in a few months I’ll let him, maybe – but he will have to be a lot nicer and less of a troll. The vermin remark tells me he is just here to antagonize and not to contribute.

June 8, 2008 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Richard, the remark above was directed at certain commenters who cry foul every time somebody makes what they perceive as anti-Chinese comments, but obviously don’t mind the kind of language trolls like Wayne use.

June 8, 2008 @ 1:27 am | Comment

can be more useful and desirable than democracy.

America certainly believes this, because they killed Patrice Lumumba, deposed Salvador Allende, and supported Rhee, Jiang, and Papa Doc usually against the will of their “electorates”.

In Korea they are still digging up mass graves from the immediate post-war era. So do you hate America or do you love fascism and murder?

June 8, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

Speak of the devil …

June 8, 2008 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

OK, I’ll admit my post was a troll trap, but I’m not ashamed, since you’d have to be a troll to get caught.

Still, I did not expect wayne to jump into it headfirst, even if it proves my point about the possiblity of a real discussion. But hey, it’s nothing new, how many times have you seen guys like Wayne, ‘specially on the net? How often have they surprised you by being just a little more than the stubborn kind they seem bound to be? But who knows, that happens, from time to time.

In France we are – kinda – reminiscing May ’68. If you don’t know exactly what it’s about, I won’t bring you up to date now, it’s just that I’ve learned one thing : in a town (not Paris), the prefect was ready to order shooting at the demonstrators – who basicallly wanted to turn the university into a, well, free-love f*ckfest. De Gaulle told him not to (before sneaking in Germany to ask for military help just in case…), still the uptight bastard was waiting for the straw to break the camel’s back. Well, good news, nobody was shot, and France didn’t plummet back into the Bronze Age either.

The thing is, there are always guys like this, who will step up and protect what they believe in, which is the right to shoot people for not behaving the way they should. Order before justice – and some knid of subconscious comment on their virility, IMHO.

Let’s just hope we stop putting them in position where they can make this sort of decisions.

June 9, 2008 @ 5:22 pm | Comment

Also, I think what bothers Richard – and it certainly bothers me, is that these robotic answers (“they were right in protecting China from chaos”) are a posteriori judgments, and as such, they are simply the victor’s version.

Let’s say Mao never succeeded in gaining power, then every repressive action against his movement would be justified. After all, wasn’t he about to bring chaos to China? Yet from this chaos stemmed a new order, like it or not. Let’s say the Beijing students took over and became bloodthirsty despots, their version would be: “yes, we did shed blood because of the ruthlessness of our adversaries, but in the end, we prevailed and bestowed order on this great country. This temporary chaos was the price to pay to move forward”.

With this logic, you can switch the subjects to your heart’s content, the resulting phrases will all sound alike: this is the same logic. Vae victis.

June 9, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

There is simply no logic in arguing for the government’s actions in this case, as anyone who is not transfixed by state power can realize. Those who want to rationalize the Tiananmen Massacre are no different from the Red Guards of the past in that they allow ideology to override common sense and even basic human compassion.
If the Chinese government were to reverse the verdict on tiananmen (which will of course never happen under current conditions), would any of these people still be arguing in support of the government’s actions? Of course not. They are simply being led on by despots with the people’s blood on their hands.

June 10, 2008 @ 11:33 pm | Comment

I worked with a Political Science graduate from Beijing University who was riding his bike around Tianamen to check the situation out. He told me he supported the military action as the proper response by the legal authorities and his argument was that anarchy would have prevailed otherwise. He based his insights on the idea of warlordism. He felt Tianamen was a provocation to bring down the CCP and plunge the nation into civil war.
Now Eric Hoffer in his book “The Ordeal of Change” mentions that the most dangerous moment for a totalitarian system is the moment it begins to reform. It becomes very difficult he says for that system to go part way or change back to brutality and so revolution from within breaks out. Deng had to ally himself more tightly with the PLA to crush the rebellion and I suspect China is like the United States a hybrid state of military/civilian rule.

June 11, 2008 @ 12:20 pm | Comment

If you want to know the truth about events in recent Chinese history, be sure to ask a Political Science graduate from Beijing University. I guess that’s what Yang Rui does, too.

June 11, 2008 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

The same people who are most outraged by Sharon stone’s comments are also the quickest to turn around and rationalize the cold-blooded killing of their countrymen.

June 11, 2008 @ 11:45 pm | Comment

There is still a lot of ignorance about the causes of the 1989 demonstrations. Ignorance about soaring inflation and cuts to student subsidies. Ignorance about corruption. Ignorance about banners reading “We want the Communist Party to lead us CORRECTLY.”

* Hu Yaobang’s death was a trigger, nothing more.

* The Goddess of Democracy was suggested by a Western journalist (“You need some sort of symbol, like the Statute of Liberty. Something to galvanize the media.”)

* Democracy was a late, and minor demand by the protesters.

June 12, 2008 @ 9:07 am | Comment

Who was the Western journalist? Phil Cunningham?

June 12, 2008 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

@Pete,

I do not know what you are talking about regarding Gary Locke. First off, he was governor of Washington State, not Oregon. I lived in Washington during his election and during his tenure and I never once heard a single anti-Chinese comment made about him or even about such a comment. Not saying such comments were not made, but to make it seem they were prevalent is unfair. I will also note that there have been many Chinese-American (and Korean-American and Phillipino-American politicians) in this area. In fact, one old-time one just died, Ruby Chow. Richard is right that there is some racism in the United States but unless you define a racist country as one where there is some racism, I take great issue with all those who call the US a racist country.

I am not going to deny past incidents (slavery, segregation, mistreatment of Native Americans that continues to this day, the Japanese internment, mistreatment of Chinese, etc.), but we are constantly improving and I am proud (but not satisfied) of where we are today.

But the US is not the issue here and attempts to make it so are just a diversion. June 4 stands on its own and certainly any US history or US present should be and is irrelevant on how we judge June 4.

June 13, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Comment

[...] I clicked on the link this morning to my recent post on June 4, I was surprised when the page failed to load properly. It stopped loading after the first 15 [...]

June 16, 2008 @ 8:33 am | Pingback

[...] memorials, and other essays and thoughts can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and [...]

July 9, 2008 @ 11:32 am | Pingback

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