This is absolutely extraordinary. A friend just tweeted it, asking, “So, is the Washington Post website going to be blocked in China?” I’ll be stunned if it’s not. We all know China can be quite tolerant of news on Western sites, as long as it’s in English, knowing you can never galvanize the masses if you’re not speaking in their language. Thus, this will almost inevitably be harmonized. And if not, it’ll be unprecedented.
Go there while you can if you want to hear Zhao dictating a portion of his story on cassette before it was smuggled out and published. Controversial stuff, too, as Zhao challenges the decision to crack down on what had been orderly if chaotic and messy demonstrations. Money quote:
Of course, whenever there are large numbers of people involved, there will always be some tiny minority within the crowd who might want to attack the PLA. It was a chaotic situation. It is perfectly possible that some hooligans took advantage of the situation to make trouble, but how can these actions be attributed to the majority of the citizens and students? By now, the answer to this question should be clear.
And it is clear, to everyone who has a mind. There were some disgusting acts of violence perpetrated by some enraged participants as the soldiers advanced. And sympathy must go to the soldiers who were attacked, as it must go to the vast majority of demonstrators who were killed or injured, who were peaceful and orderly. More on this later.
About the site: I know, it’s been quiet. And we have a big anniversary coming up, and I’ve been seeing some atrocious revisionist stuff over here on the Internets about that date that just begs to be fisked. Zhao’s memoir couldn’t have come out at a better time (coincidence, right?); itcertainly helps blast apart some of the more audacious claims I’ve been seeing. More to come.
Update: Be sure to see Granite Studio’s amusing response to the memoirs.
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.