Tiananmen Square (again?)

I know, it’s been over-discussed and picked over. But China Daily actually has an op-ed piece today on the subject, and it begs for comment. It’s rare to see any mention of this topic at all in the Chinese media, but it’s depressing (though not surprising) to see a story that is totally one-sided.

The gist of it is that the massacre is all a big myth, concocted by a Western press that lies its head off. Everyone’s lying about it. Reporters who I know personally are lying about it. The only ones telling the truth is the government.

Tiananmen remains the classic example of the shallowness and bias in most Western media reporting, and of governmental black information operations seeking to control those media.

The usual Western media conspiracy, always out to harm China.

The editorial’s “argument” is that they found “some reporters in the square at the time” who said they saw no massacre, and that’s good enough for them, despite a mountain of evidence. Case closed.

This is weasly, because as everyone knows by now there was no massacre inside the square, as was first reported during “the fog of war.” Sometimes an uninformed journalist continues to refer to a massacre inside the square, and that is sloppiness. That there were shootings and deaths on side streets and other parts of town on June 4 — in other words, a massacre — is a matter of fact, just as it’s a matter of fact that an angry crowd killed a handful of soldiers. What is not known is how many were killed, but even if it was just a few it’s still a massacre. (My country had its own massacre, Kent State, in which four students were killed. A massacre is a massacre.)

I won’t labor the point with my own interpretation. Instead, let’s just go to some eyewitnesses.

First, Chinese author Ma Jian writes of his interview with a man who was in the crowd who had his arm crushed by a tank and is now an amputee.

“It happened right here,” he told me, “just by these white railings. A tank charged down Changan Avenue, and sprayed tear gas into the air. There was a big crowd of us. We were coughing and choking. We rushed on to the pavement, and I was squashed back against these railings. A girl dropped to her knees. I was grasping the railings with one hand to stop myself falling and with the other I offered her a handkerchief and told her to use it as a mask. Just as I was leaning over to hand it to her, another tank roared up and careered into us. Thirteen people were crushed to death but I only lost my arm. The tank commander knew exactly what he was doing.” He stared down at the patch of asphalt at his feet and then glanced nervously at the police vans parked on the other side of the road. It was rush hour; cars and taxis were streaming past us.

What a terrifying experience, I said, gripping the white railings.

“Yes, it was,” he replied quite calmly. “But I wasn’t truly afraid until I saw Deng Xiaoping on television, telling the martial law troops: ‘Foreigners say that we opened fire, and that I admit, but to claim that army tanks drove over unarmed citizens, that is a disgraceful slur.’ My scalp tightened. I was a living witness to the truth. What if one day they came to get me? … For two years I never dared go out at night, I never spoke about what happened. Policemen came to interrogate me almost every day, but none of us ever mentioned the tanks. Every anniversary of 4 June, the police would come to my house with pillows and mattresses and sleep on my bedroom floor. Just to stop me speaking to foreign journalists.”

Timothy Brook, who received a Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard University and taught in Shanghai:

The first rounds of fire catch everybody by surprise. The people in the streets don’t expect this to happen. There are a couple of hospitals right near Muxidi, and the casualties start showing up within 10 or 15 minutes of the first round of gunfire. The casualties run very high because people didn’t expect to be shot at with live ammunition. When they start firing, people say, “Oh, it’s rubber bullets.” Even after it becomes clear, even after they realize that the army is going to go ahead at any cost, people still pour into the streets. This is the amazing thing: People were just so angry, so furious at what was happening in their city that they were not going to step back and let the army do what it was doing. This is why the casualties from Muxidi on east towards Tiananmen Square were so high. This is the major military confrontation of the evening.

Self-described former Maoist and reporter for the Globe and Mail Jan Wong (same link as above):

That Saturday night the army started coming in … the city, and so the people rushed out again. This was becoming a regular occurrence: Every time people said, “The army’s coming,” everybody would rush out and stop them. And they rushed out this time, except the army shot them, and so they started running down the alleyways.

People in [the Muxidi] apartment buildings could hear all this. It was summertime and the windows were open, so they heard the gunfire; they heard people screaming; and they saw the soldiers shooting at people. They would lean out their windows and scream at the soldiers and curse them and throw things. I had that feeling myself. I wanted to throw things out the window of the Beijing Hotel because you just felt anger: “Why are you doing this to the people?” …

What they did was they just raked the buildings with their gunfire, and they were shooting people. People were being killed in their own kitchens because these bullets were very lethal. … They just shot at them because they were trying to get into the city. They had been ordered to take Tiananmen, and they were going to get there no matter what it took.

From Dr. Jiang Yanyong, the whistleblower who blew the cover of the conspiracy to convince the world there was no SARS in Beijing, and who was later harassed for his efforts:

I was chief of the department of general surgery on June 4, 1989. On the night of June 3, I heard repeated broadcasts urging people to stay off the streets. At about 10 p.m., I was in my apartment when I heard the sound of continuous gunfire from the north. Several minutes later, my pager beeped. It was the emergency room calling me, and I rushed over. What I found was unimaginable–on the floor and the tables of the emergency room were seven young people, their faces and bodies covered with blood. Two of them were later confirmed dead by EKG. My head buzzed and I nearly passed out. I had been a surgeon for more than 30 years. I had treated wounded soldiers before, while on the medical team of the PLA railway corps that built the Chengdu-Kunming Railway. But their injuries resulted from unavoidable accidents during the construction process, while before my eyes, in Beijing, the magnificent capital of China, lying in front of me, were our own people, killed by our people’s army, with weapons supplied by the people.

Even eyewitness Philip Cunningham, who often supports the CCP, wrote of that day,

The Tiananmen demonstrations were crushed, cruelly, breaking the implicit pact that the People’s Liberation Army would never turn its guns on the people and burying student activism for many years to come, but not before inspiring millions in China and around the world to push for reform and change, heralding the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The editorial repeats all the cliches of the deniers. Referring to a book by Philip Cunningham, it says:

It quotes one of the student leaders, Chai Ling, as having said that creating a “sea of blood” might be the only way to shake the government. If frustrated students leaving the square carried out those petrol bomb attacks on troops, then the anger of the government becomes a lot more understandable. But I doubt whether any of those responsible for the original phony story will get round to details like that.

There were some attacks on troops, and that hasn’t been denied. But most of the demonstrators leaving the square did so peacefully. Most of the shooting was not in response to petrol bomb attacks. And one foolish and out-of-context quote from Chai Ling does not make for an excuse for a massacre. Blogger Xu Eberlein, one of my favorites, adds some nuance:

Reading excerpts of the newly published Tiananmen Moon by Philip Cunningham, the very journalist who interviewed Chai Ling 20 years ago, made me feel that Chai Ling might have been more innocent than some have thought. Although her idea of using bloodshed to arouse people was hardly a moral one, she appeared to be sincere and serious about the student movement and was indignant toward some other selfish power-thirsty student leaders. As such, I’d like to believe the young Chai Ling twenty years ago was a humanly imperfect idealist, as young activists are. If she sometimes took herself too importantly, it was largely because of the situation: being young and the leader of a mass movement can carry anyone away.

I can go on and on with more testimony from reporters and Chinese citizens who were all there and whose stories are strikingly similar. I can cite the Tiananmen Mothers. There is no shortage of proof. And this isn’t about whether the students were right or wrong, or whether there was or wasn’t violence on both sides. There remain many unanswered questions about June 4, and there’s no doubt blame on all sides. And there’s no doubt that in the confusion and violence there were contradictory stories that got large public play (just as we saw after the killing of Bin Laden). Fog of war. There are myths, such as reports of a massacre inside the square. But the fact remains, many peaceful citizens who had left the square were fired upon in back alleys and many died. Hundreds? A thousand? We’ll never know, but the CCP, which keeps meticulous records, does know.

It’s good that China Daily is at least discussing the subject. A pity it’s the same old China-as-victim, Western-media-as-villain nonsense.

June 4th may not mean much to most Chinese today, and even those who were directly involved have moved on, and some would rather just forget about it. I understand that. But truth is truth, history is history, facts are facts. The CD editorial is another effort to bury the truth and cast all the blame on foreign media. This is an easy out, and is used whenever China has something to hide. Claiming all the media are lying seems kind of crazy. It’s a conspiracy theory, as nutty as claims by some that China is conspiring to take over the world. Do they really believe all the reporters and eyewitnesses colluded to mislead the world? Only China would make a claim like that.

Update: Gotta love this line from the comments:

The Chinese press is truely independent from the truth and our wise leaders make sure that there is no wrong or incorrect information in the news. This is the correct and scientific way with Chinese characteristics. And it makes me proud to be a Chinese.

I am assuming this is parody. At least I hope it is.

______________

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: 84 Comments

One FQ meme that seems to have raised its ugly head on various boards is the conflation of the erroneous notion in some quarters that students were gunned down inside the square with the idea that the whole massacre was a fabrication. Very anti-CNN.

Maybe the Japanese far-right is correct and China faked the Nanjing Massacre?

July 15, 2011 @ 1:39 am | Comment

@Slim – Going to say it first time and last time: the Nanjing massacre happened, I get the joke, but even the stupid stuff you see coming from CD is no reason to laugh about it.

@Richard – My country also had a relatively recent massacre within its borders: Bloody Sunday was nothing but a tragedy, but at least that is recognised now.

As for what for the evidence, well if, the footage Kate Adie’s BBC cameraman in the crowd took during the shooting, and at the hospital after Kate Adie had been wounded was not enough to convince anyone that a massacre had taken place, nothing will. Strangely enough, the anti-Chinese, racist, biased BBC also had a famous reporter, John Simpson, who reported on the destruction of a PLA armoured personnel carrier at the square. 8 years old, I remember watching both of these videos vividly.

July 15, 2011 @ 5:58 am | Comment

FOARP, I don’t think Slim is laughing at the Nanjing Massacre, which all of us acknowledge happened and was one of the great misdeeds of the 20th century. I think he’s saying that there’s a two-faced attitude toward the revision of history.

Interesting about the BBC; in the editorial, CD singles them out for starting the myth of a massacre within the confines of TS.

I watched it all unfold on CNN, the very first year my house had cable TV. I remember seeing the Tank Man video over and over again, the wheeling out of the Goddess of Democracy, the columns of tanks…. I didn’t really know what China was back then. It’s a pity that that was the first impression China made on the modern world, having been hermetically sealed for so many decades prior. And what an impression it was, as vivid today as 22 years ago.

July 15, 2011 @ 6:26 am | Comment

I don’t think an article in a Ccp organ that disavows the event as a “myth” can be seen as any progress. The article may mention it by name, but basically says it never happened, with the usual ” china is the victim” accoutrements. That’s no more than par for the course.

There is no point even disparaging the article. The article seeks to suggest that the event never occurred. The natural response is to offer evidence that the event did occur. But to what end? The willful blindness of the Ccp is what it is.

The comment you highlighted is brilliant. ” independent of the truth”. And ” the scientific way with Chinese characteristics” is basically anti-science, said in such a way that the censors may not notice.

July 15, 2011 @ 6:30 am | Comment

The article may mention it by name, but basically says it never happened

More importantly, is there even a Chinese version of the article? If not, it’s not going to reach many people, even if there was a silver lining there.

July 15, 2011 @ 6:43 am | Comment

@Richard – Same for me. It was the first time I had even thought about China as separate to India and Japan. Up until then, for me, the world included Britain, the US, Russia, Germany (because of “‘Allo ‘Allo” and a myriad other war films and TV series), South Africa (which my friends and I talked about at school), India (curry), Japan, and France.

July 15, 2011 @ 7:15 am | Comment

Most people who died outside the square were rioters, while most people in the square were students. That is why it is important to make a distinction.

July 15, 2011 @ 8:10 am | Comment

Thank you for bringing together all those quotes. Even though I have read similar ones before, maybe the same ones, it is always striking to see so many together. And it makes it all the more distressing that the Chinese English media is twisting the facts so successfully.

@Richard, you say “It’s a pity that that was the first impression China made on the modern world,” but I think it’s a fitting impression. The issue today is that China is marginally successfuly in painting a totally different picture of progress and “harmony,” while ruthlessly covering up any other events that will look like another Tiananmen. They are very aware what Tiananmen looked like to the rest of the world–too much truth got out. It’s a pity that so many in the West do not see the Chinese government for what it really is these days.

July 15, 2011 @ 9:11 am | Comment

I am not persuaded one way or the other concerning the Tiananmen “incident”
Still I think it is useful to look at the original article referred to by ChinaDaily
It was written by a fairly progressive intellectual, Gregory Clark, for Japan Times.
The article in English is on his web site http://www.gregoryclark.net
Having never heard of Mr Clark, I read through some of his writing.
From what I could see, he is not only very intelligent, but also well informed.
Mr Clark writes that information from Wikileaks gives us a different picture concerning Tiananmen.

“The recent WikiLeaks release of cables from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing has helped finally to kill the myth of an alleged massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3-4, 1989.”

The article does not tell us what the Wikileaks revealed that proves black reporting concerning Tiananmen, nor does it speak to the complete repression of information by the “scientific” Chinese press. I am not even convinced that the CCP knows all that happened during those days surrounding the Tiananmen “incident”
But the fact that the CCP has repressed information and discussion, certainly makes them look guilty.

Finally I prefer to refer to it as an “incident” because it is part of an ongoing “discussion” between The Chinese People and the CCP. The number of such “incidents” continues to rise. This to me points to a loss of faith in the CCP by more and more of The Chinese People. How this will play out in the future is hard to say. It seems like there is much turmoil throughout the world. Why should China be any different.

yamabuki Zhou

July 15, 2011 @ 9:33 am | Comment

@slim has an excellent point about the rape of Nanjing, even if it didn’t come in the best form. I have researched the events in Nanjing through numerous first hand accounts, and from primary sources. Fog of war led to mis-reporting, and some pictures were misappropriated, and stories from one location were tied with another. It would be ludicrous to claim that because of mis-reporting that the rape did not happen. The evidence is overwhelming.
Japanese nationalists also use figures that only include casualties within the city walls for their definition Nanjing, and a very limited time frame. It is disgusting when the Japanese try to obscure facts about what happened here, and it is no less disgusting when the Party does it to try and cloud what happened in Tiananmen square.

July 15, 2011 @ 10:01 am | Comment

Timothy Brook teaches at the University of British Columbia, and lives in Vancouver BC. Good post, though.

July 15, 2011 @ 10:10 am | Comment

[...] editorial attributing the Tiananmen Square massacre to foreign media fabrication. Richard provides an excellent rebuttal at The Peking Duck, just in case anyone for even a second felt inclined to question what actually [...]

July 15, 2011 @ 10:14 am | Pingback

Anon, thanks for the correction. He did teach at Shanghai Normal, and I thought he was still there.

Nice comment, Tom.

Yamabuki: It seems like there is much turmoil throughout the world. Why should China be any different.

True. But the fact that there is turmoil in the world doesn’t excuse China’s obfuscation of the truth and its reckless accusations against Western media. Just as it doesn’t excuse what America has been doing in Iraq for 8 years.

Sci: Most people who died outside the square were rioters, while most people in the square were students.

I don’t think it’s that simple. Many people leaving the square were attacked in the back alleys around it. It’s a serious over-simplification to claim that those shot were “rioters.” Some certainly were. A lot were ordinary innocent human beings. Read the quotes in my post.

July 15, 2011 @ 10:47 am | Comment

@yamabuki Zhou
There is no conversation “between” the Chinese people and the CCP. There isn’t even acknowledgment that anyone who criticizes the CCP could be anything other than a puppet for Western Imperialist powers.

The “there was no massacre inside the square” trope is pretty ridiculous. Does it actually matter whether China gunned down its citizens inside the square or outside of it? Does it matter whether the tanks crushed civilians inside the square or out of it?

There is a lot of turmoil in the world, but for some reason China is being treated with unusual respect and deference for a country that still employs extrajudicial means, censorship, and military force to silence dissidence. Why should Arab dictatorships be a target, but China is “the future”? This is why it’s important to talk about China.

July 15, 2011 @ 11:36 am | Comment

I agree with Tatiana – and I believe that the mention of the Massacre indicates the CCP’s intention to include June 4, 1989 into official recent history, as something very minor.

The English-language media may just be a testing field here. Sooner or later, they may try the same approach the actual Chinese media, i. e. the Chinese-language media, just as they have recently acknowledged, and affirmed, the way the CCP is censoring news and information.

From their perspective, an article like CD’s stands for something like a “strengthened resilience” against “Western cultural hegemonism”. That’s probably an indication for “change”, but not an encouraging one.

July 15, 2011 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

Finally I prefer to refer to it as an “incident” because it is part of an ongoing “discussion” between The Chinese People and the CCP.

Yamabuki, wouldn’t you agree, though, that it’s pretty hard to have a discussion with your government if they keep trying to shut down the avenues of discussion and reserve the right to brand anyone who contradicts the government’s position in too public and/or vigorous a fashion as being a troublemaker/criminal?

July 15, 2011 @ 5:23 pm | Comment

A massacre occurred. Jan Wong and other were there, and recorded it. I also believe that some of the students holding the square were “acting out.” But acting out is not a capital crime.

There is a documentary by Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton, Gate of Heavenly Peace, which contains footage of the interview with Chai Ling. (The movie stirred some controversy because of its portrayal of her and other students, but it is still valuable.)

If you have a strong stomach you can Google Image search “Tiananmen Square Massacre” (except if you live in China). These images are graphic and permanent, and will become part of the official Chinese history if/when censorship declines.

July 16, 2011 @ 1:46 am | Comment

FOARP
John Simpson, who reported on the destruction of a PLA armoured personnel carrier at the square. 8 years old

Which was no doubt buried by the Western press, either that or something was lost in translation as the vast majority of Western audiences think the CCP steamrolled the students and killed at least 100,000+. I’m sure if you asked 100 random Britons or Americans how many died at Tiananmen they would exaggerate the death tolls by a factor of at least 10, and be surprised (if not outright deny it) when you tell them many soldiers died as well.

Tatiana
It’s a pity that so many in the West do not see the Chinese government for what it really is these days.

Yes, it’s a pity that the West doesn’t see the Chinese government for what it is – the single most progressive, benevolent government in human history by simple metrics (lives saved, advancement in various fields like technology and economics). Sounds like exaggeration, but when compared to all governments of the world throughout history that I know of, none can or will ever compare to China preventing tens of millions of deaths a year from disease, exposure, starvation and warfare. Then again “least bad (major) government” at this point is really not saying much.

Richard
But the fact that there is turmoil in the world doesn’t excuse China’s obfuscation of the truth and its reckless accusations against Western media.

“Reckless accusations”? So you really think that between the CCP and the Western press, the CCP is more to blame for pandering non-facts and outrageous lies and slander? So you mean when the Western press accused China of organ harvesting (debunked by Harry Wu), sterilizing Tibetans (debunked by Doctors without Borders) laid blame on China for the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict (debunked by declassified CIA documents) without ever issuing any corrections, the CCP’s propaganda arm is the more guilty of “obfuscation”? How about “70 million killed” by Mao? Since you are someone who works for the Western press itself, I am not surprised that you blindly take their side, selectively delete posts that convincingly counter your claims (while letting effective red herrings like HX and Math post as much as they please).

“The Western Press” has consistently exaggerated, taken things out of proportion, slandered and outright lied about China (among other things) and has done so consistently since *before* the CCP came into power. Even if there are a few kernels of truth told by one odd reporter out of tens if not hundreds, the facts and reasoned articles are overshadowed in volume and page volume/megabits/expenditure i.e sheer output of yellow journalism.

If the Western press truly is so evenhanded and clearheaded about China issues, then why is the average Westerner completely clueless about how China works? Lets assume they are completely unbiased – then what explains the sensationalism that distorts just about every other topic from swine flu to Tahrir Square protests to the Gulf Oil Spill to “missing white girl” hysterias?

Tell me do you really think the Western press is flawless, or better yet, more credible than China Daily? China Daily is essentially a government mouthpiece – people know it’s propaganda. ‘The Western press’ spends billions marketing itself as (or deludes itself into thinking it is) impartial – maybe it’s time to scale back the internal censorship and politics, amoral profit-whoring and pandering among the dominant market-share newsmedia conglomerates so it actually is.

Tom
It is disgusting when the Japanese try to obscure facts about what happened here, and it is no less disgusting when the Party does it to try and cloud what happened in Tiananmen square.

I’ll tell you what is disgusting, using the Nanjing card to try to shamelessly browbeat Chinese into denouncing their own state in discussions from Tibet to Sudan to Tiananmen to WW2 (from this blog only). Nanjing is not analogous to Tiananmen whatsoever. First of all the death toll at Nanjing was in the hundreds of thousands in the context of years of warfare that ultimately killed millions of apolitical, non-hostile civilians all over China. Tiananmen was preceded by a millions strong protests which was quickly escalating into chaos in a time period when Western-back revolutions were taking place all over the ‘Communist world’.

Even then it’s an “internal issue” to be resolved among Chinese. Neither Tiananmen nor Nanjing happened so opportunistic Westerners could use them as a cudgel to beat the CCP over the head with for all of eternity.

That brings me to another salient point – what is the “cut off” date for atrocities, because apparently the Chinese are supposed to remember Tiananmen and the GLF forever and just conveniently forget the Eight Nations Alliance, Japanese Invasions, Opium Wars etc. The West is all pure and good now, ignoring the neo-colonialism, financial terrorism and outright imperialist adventures in the Middle East of course!

I suppose since the resentment for 17+ million civilian casualties of the Japanese invasion has ‘rightfully’ degraded to 0 (with a few worthless apologies thrown in) over 60 years, lets say we should forgive roughly 250,000 murders a year. Using this Western logic, the CCP owes it to Chinese dissenters and ‘democracy activists’ to kill another five million of them – on the principles of Western political perfection.

Christopher Luna
There isn’t even acknowledgment that anyone who criticizes the CCP could be anything other than a puppet for Western Imperialist powers.

No thanks to the many of them who are indeed puppets. It would be much easier to talk to them if the West weren’t so eager to “topple” the “Chinese regime”.

There is a lot of turmoil in the world, but for some reason China is being treated with unusual respect and deference

Thanks for the laugh.

for a country that still employs extrajudicial means, censorship, and military force to silence dissidence.

Sounds just like some unnamed Western-backed dictatorships that were recently overthrown by popular uprisings.

Why should Arab dictatorships be a target, but China is “the future”?

… which leads nicely into this question. Yes, why should Arab dictatorships be a target? A target for billions in European and American aid, free military hardware, and total and unequivocal support? I won’t be an ass and just give my honest answer – it’s because China is too big and too strong for the West to buy or destroy. There is also the profit motive, and the fact that the CCP is objectively superior to not only all of these Arab governments (Western backed or not), it is also objectively superior to the governments of every developing country in the history of humankind.

This is why it’s important to talk about China.

Talking is secondary to objective debate. The (mainstream, market dominant) Western press is simply not capable of the latter, despite all the cash they dump into convincing us otherwise.

Raj
it’s pretty hard to have a discussion with your government

Period. Not even half of democratic governments give a shit about the interests of the common man, if you disagree then prove it – why are India and America’s governments (1,500,000,000 people ‘thriving’ under democracy) such disgraceful failures?

jcb
I also believe that some of the students holding the square were “acting out.

If by “students” and “acting out” you mean unknown agents rioting and murdering soldiers, then you’re right. The CCP negotiated with student leaders for days and the vast majority of them left peacefully.

July 16, 2011 @ 6:18 am | Comment

@ Okay cookie monster, you have convinced this doubter with your history lesson. Now, how about explaining why the Japanese women’s soccer team are steaming towards a world cup and not China.Picking up soft power points by the squillions. I’ve just hit China Daily’s sports section and found….um.. total silence.

Off topic I know.

July 16, 2011 @ 7:21 am | Comment

Angry, nasty Ferin, as crazed and ideological as always. Of course, he’s writing this from his fur-lined toilet seat in the USA, the country he hates so much.

July 16, 2011 @ 7:21 am | Comment

Cookie M. “it’s a pity that the West doesn’t see the Chinese government for what it is – the single most progressive, benevolent government in human history by simple metrics”

Oh my god. Richard, why do you let this troll comment here?

July 16, 2011 @ 7:37 am | Comment

If nothing wrong happened, why censor it?

July 16, 2011 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Wei, he hasn’t broken any rules, obnoxious and misguided as he may be. His nasty tone might get him banned (again).

Anyone who gets sucked into his narrative about the CCP please do your homework. This is the exact same thing Cookie (aka Ferin aka Merp) does in every thread, and there is no rationalizing with him. Note his nonsense that Americans believe 100,000 students were murdered in the TSM, and his switching the topic from China to the evils of the US. Same old same old.

And you know what, Ferin? This post isn’t about whether the CCp is good or bad. It’s about one thing: the denial of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, period. You can go on all day about how great they are. My post is about a China Daily editorial that denies the massacre and blames the foreign media for reporting that there was a massacre. That’s all. Whether the CCP is the greatest thing since the rubber band is irrelevant to this conversation, because no one is arguing about that either way (except you). It’s about denial of a factual event. Some rioters did awful things, fewer died than initially reported, myths were created in the fog of war. All that taken into account, China is still denying a massacre. I don’t deny Kent State or My Lai, and when they’re discussed I don’t get jingoistic and rant about how wonderful the US Constitution is, because it’s irrelevant to that conversation.

Good question, Eco.

July 16, 2011 @ 7:58 am | Comment

The National Security Archive’s papers on Tiananmen Square, summarized and published by George Washington University, are well worth reading.

July 16, 2011 @ 10:22 am | Comment

But Richard, if you take “comparisons” away from what’s-his-face, that leaves him with almost nothing at all. The “comparison” is nearly akin to oxygen for the guy. Just look at #18…without the penchant for “comparisons”, he’d be down to about 6 points.

And then you’re asking him to stay on point?!? I don’t think he was trained or programmed to speak with relevance AND without comparisons. Not possible. Maybe some future recruits will be able to do better.

July 16, 2011 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

O/T:

Looks like Obama will be meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House. Fellow Nobel-laureates having tea. Should be fun times watching the usual suspects blow an aneurysm.

July 16, 2011 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

I appreciate Richard’s moderation skills. However, be honest, this is a retread piece and thread. The CCP narrative has moved forward and I suspect the trains and economy will bugger the whole narrative.

July 16, 2011 @ 2:47 pm | Comment

Apologies. Misguided metaphor. I meant sodomised.

July 16, 2011 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

Guys, it’s Ferin, I mean, what do you expect.

As for the report from John Simpson, you can see it here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8070970.stm

And Kate Adie’s report can be seen here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8045838.stm

But then I guess all the women and old people you see shot in the hospital in the second video were shot by the students, and the whole thing was cooked up in a studio in London anyway . . .

July 16, 2011 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

Last night I watched Kate Adie’s documentary from a few years ago when she went back to Beijing – I’d missed it first time around. The stories of people being hunted down in the back alleys were rather unpleasant.

July 16, 2011 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

Glad to see that Ferin (or whoever) has gotten it all off his chest.

July 16, 2011 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

Kate Adie’s documentary (Kate Adie returns to Tiananmen Square) is on Youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYT0J0QX0Ys

July 17, 2011 @ 8:50 am | Comment

On Freedom and Resources

Recently, Jackie Chen said in public that “I believe that we Chinese need to be controlled, we cannot be too free, otherwise the society will be too chaotic”. This statement of course received heavy critcism from any rightists and intellecutals. Their main critcism is that they think that some freedoms such as freedom of religion, speech, news, are considered “basic human right”, and cannot be violated.

This post wants to say that all freedoms, regardless of type, are correlated with resources. Generally speaking, more resources will result in more freedoms, and vice versa. Freedoms will increase as resources increase, and vice versa. This simply cannot be helped. If resources are completed depleted, then freedoms will be completely eliminated.

Let’s first talk about breathing. We all agree that “freely breathing the air on the earth” is a “non-debatable” human right. But where is this freedom based on? Well, this freedom is based on nothing but the resource of air on earth. We have so much air on earth that we do not need to ration it, and do no need to discuss how to distribute air to everyone. If air is not so abundant, then it could be a different story….

For example, if one day we moved to Mars, and the air on Mars is too thin to be breathed. So there are factories built on Mars to produce breathable air, and the resultant air is distributed in bottles. Under this situation, air becomes a product, and there’ll be companies competing to produce air. Some air is high quality that only rich people can afford to buy. The low quality air will cause great damage to people’s health and will shorten people’s lives by 20 years, but they are cheap, so the poor people can only buy those air to breathe. Under this scenario, “breathing air freely” is no longer a “sacred” human right. It comes an economic question of “air distribution”

Now let’s talk about the resources behind a type freedom most rightists are excited about: freedom of speech. Let me first divide freedom of speech into two parts: 1) Producing sound with one’s vocal cord 2) Writing things down on paper.

Let’s first talk about producing sounds: if you are living in a mountain alone, then you can produce as much sound for as long as you want, because in the mountain the sound will not travel far enough to affect others. But if you are in a movie theater, then the sounds you produce will definitely affect others. Why? That’s because sound waves interfere with eath other in the air. In other words, the space of the medium (in this case, air) determines the abundance of your resource. The space inside a theater is devoted to transmitting the sound from the movie, and is shared by everyone in the theater. If you speak loudly, then you are disrupting that shared space, and therefore it’s equal to damaging public property. Therefore, this is also a case of “resource distribution”. Same scenario applies to living in a dorm with many roommates, it limits your “freedom to make any sound you want”.

Now, what about press freedom? Well, press freedom is even more dependent on resources, it depends on money, on the staff you can hire, on your broadcasting equipment, on your news room, on your buildings, on the quality of your microphone, etc etc etc.

Now, you may ask, “Ok, but what about freedom of ideas? Freedom of mind? Don’t tell me freedom of ideas and mind is also dependent on resources!” Well, I’m sorry to dissapoint you, but freedom of ideas very much depends on resources. You use your brain to come up with ideas, right? Are brain cells not a type of resource? Brain is just a type of computer for yourself. If you use your brain to think about this thing, then you won’t have time to think about that thing. If you are forced to think about what to wear tomorrow, you will not have time to solve the math problem for tomorrow, and vice versa. So of course freedom of ideas is also a “resource distribution” problem.

If a social group has enough power to bombard a type of idea/product to the society, and it forces people to think about that ideas/product all the time, it’ll basically occupy the brain resource of the people, and cause great misuse of the brain of the people. This can be called Propaganda. Propaganda is just a way to occupy the brain resouces of others and cause them to misuse it. There are many famous examples of propaganda in the world, such as CNN, Voice of America, BBC, Microsoft, etc.

Now, we come to freedom of religion. That of course depends on resources as well. No one is born to have a certain faith. And there are those who have no faith for their entire lives. And those who switch faith 50 times during their lives. It takes time to accept a type of faith. It’s impossible for you to believe in Communism after only talking to a Communist for 2 minutes. It takes a certain amount of information for someone to accept a certain faith. When someone is young, it takes approximately 500Mb of information feeding from a certain faith for him to accept it. So basically whichever faith group has more money to send massive information to people will have a higher chance of getting believers. So the reason Christianity is so powerful today is simply because Christianity has enough money to bombard others with information and occupy and interfere with their brain resources.

Now, some people believe that “freedom of faith is a basic human right”. But this sentence is very illogical. If there’s freedom of fatih, the can my faith be “No freedom to believe in any religion”. That is, it is against my faith believe in any religion. Should you respect that? If faith is such a sacred thing, then if there’s a country that is based on the faith of “no religion”, then can that country attack a Christian-based country to defend the faith of “no religion”? Is the faith of “no religion” equally sacred as the faith of “Christianity”, under the principles of freedom of faith? That illogicity has never been answered by people.

The above basically says that all types of freedom are correlated with the abundance of resources. Resouces can also be called wealth. So, freedom is positively correlated with wealth. All human activities attempt to increase wealth, because increased wealth leads to increased freedom. But people’s reproductive abilities are very high, this causes the society to become very crowded, and that leads to a reduction in resources, which in turn leads to a reduction in freedom. This simply cannot be helped. In other words, the more crowded a society is, the more likely people will interfere with each other when they practice their freedoms. And as a result, such crowded societies need the support of public services and public policy making. For example, roads: a non-crowded society does not need road management, and does not need red-green lights. But a crowded society needs road management, traffic police, etc etc.

Is freedom important? Well yes it is. But if all we do is propagandizing about the benefits of freedom without researching the correlated question of “resource distribution”, then this type of propaganda is very unhealthy to society.

July 18, 2011 @ 4:12 am | Comment

@Math: Your comments truly are the best. Whenever I see your name in the comment section, I expect a moment of pure bliss. Keep them coming!

“Now, some people believe that “freedom of faith is a basic human right”. But this sentence is very illogical. If there’s freedom of fatih, the can my faith be “No freedom to believe in any religion”. That is, it is against my faith believe in any religion. Should you respect that? If faith is such a sacred thing, then if there’s a country that is based on the faith of “no religion”, then can that country attack a Christian-based country to defend the faith of “no religion”? Is the faith of “no religion” equally sacred as the faith of “Christianity”, under the principles of freedom of faith? That illogicity has never been answered by people.”

Wow, you’re on to something here. This has never been answered by “people.” Here you have your basis for a meteoric career as a philosopher. Since no one ever thought about this, you’ve made a contribution to the thinking of mankind!

“Is freedom important? Well yes it is. But if all we do is propagandizing about the benefits of freedom without researching the correlated question of “resource distribution”, then this type of propaganda is very unhealthy to society.”

Don’t worry about it. Propaganda, like freedom, needs resources, and resources are scarce. Also, to be free from propaganda might be freedom, but remember that some people might want propaganda and then you have the same problem you described with religion above (I’m quick to catch up on ideas).

July 18, 2011 @ 9:16 am | Comment

The 6/4 Tiananmen “incident” seems to be a defining moment in modern Chinese History. Perhaps the CCP has begun to realize that refusing to partake in the dialog defining that part of Chinese history, leaves its opponents to have their say with no rebuttal.

The records seem to indicate that the “massacre” occured outside Tiananmen. (See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/8555896/Wikileaks-Tiananmen-cables.html ) It also seems to have been more of a battle than a massacre. Reports of civilians attacking government forces, as well as the possibility of rebellious soldiers attacking other soldiers, cannot be discounted.

Still the topic concerns the present CCP’s attempt to discredit the “Tiananmen massacre” as being bogus. This seems to be a part of a change in strategy by the CCP. For many years the CCP was content to repress all media coverage of anti-CCP expression. In recent years we have seen the rise of a growing number of individuals (possibly sponsored by the CCP) who seek to debunk attacks on the CCP. The China Daily article could be a further attempt to rewrite history, in addition to the policy of repression of CCP opponents.

On a side note, I should clarify my use of the word “discussion” in my original response. The “discussions” I was referring to, were those “incidents” that have been occurring in growing numbers by the Chinese People who have protested, corruption, greed and other abuses by CCP members, as well as dissatisfaction with the actions and policies of the CCP. These “incidents” are, to my view, indictments of the CCP by the Chinese people. I believe that for the CCP to survive it must find a way to diffuse all this anger. In my opinion, just relying on economic progress, repression of dissatisfaction, and now attempts to rewrite history, are not good enough to secure the CCP’s long term viability.

yamabuki Zhou

July 18, 2011 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

Math, you’ve been posting that comment since 2009. Please, your audience demands new material, you can’t keep coasting on your Greatest Hits…

July 18, 2011 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

@WKL – Sad to say, that one is a cut/paste from 2009:

http://www.pekingduck.org/2009/06/the-tiananmen-taboo/#comment-87274

And it’s not even the first time he’s cut/pasted that one for us:

http://www.pekingduck.org/2010/03/chinas-soft-power-and-the-rape-of-us-history-textbooks/#comment-107060

The Jackie Chan quote was a dead giveaway.

@Richard – This seems to be happening more often than not nowadays. On most blogs this kind of cutting and pasting of comments is regarded as spamming.

July 18, 2011 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

@FOARP: I should have known better. Given math’s history of cutting and pasting, and the Jackie Chan quote as you say, it obviously belongs to an earlier topic. No idea why he chooses to recycle it now.

July 18, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

To FOARP:
that’s impressive detective work. THe guy is posting the same thing for the third time. How lame is that?!? Oh, to be a CCP apologist and have no sense of shame…must be kinda nice.

I was going to do a line by line evisceration, starting with his supposed premise that “freedom” is proportional to “resources”. But Math is simply being too pathetic here to bother with.

July 18, 2011 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

“If a social group has enough power to bombard a type of idea/product to the society, and it forces people to think about that ideas/product all the time, it’ll basically occupy the brain resource of the people, and cause great misuse of the brain of the people.”

Math just made a great argument for why he should be banned :)

July 18, 2011 @ 2:30 pm | Comment

Lack of oxygen is an emergency. Individual freedom’s are a matter of rule of law, not of resources. All Math’s cut ‘n paste stuff involving Jackie tells me that this argument will need to move to Mars before it could (possibly) make sense.

No idea why he chooses to recycle it now.
For the better atmosphere, Wukailong. If a point in an argument insults China, logic must not matter.

July 18, 2011 @ 3:14 pm | Comment

I’m also going to say this – I’m pretty sure that what Maths* has been cutting and pasting for us these years are actually translations of articles originally written in Chinese by someone who may or may not be himself. Look at the essay – the awkward phrasing in several parts has the look of someone having to find a translation for something which they do not know the English for, rather than just the writing of someone with poor English. The Jackie Chan quote, for example, was usually translated as:

“I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”

Even the title, whilst it sounds awkward in English, is alliterative in Chinese. My only problem is that, search as I might, there are always so many alternate translations that it is impossible to be sure if I am searching correctly – maybe one of you might have better luck?

At any rate, Richard, isn’t it high time that you told Math to stop copying and pasting old comments? If he wants to give us old material, wouldn’t he be better off just posting a link?

*I refuse to use the US spelling

July 18, 2011 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

” . . . told Maths . . . ”

Death To Yankee Imperialism!

July 18, 2011 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

At any rate, Richard, isn’t it high time that you told Math to stop copying and pasting old comments?

I do feel that cutting and pasting from old comments shows disrespect for the actual value of debate. But then, it also characterizes “Math’s” set of motivations. Let it be… it’s instructive in its own ways. But I’ll certainly do searches for future comments of his.

July 18, 2011 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

Without nationalists commenting on blogs like these, it’d be so easy to forget about the weirdness of it all. . .

July 18, 2011 @ 8:04 pm | Comment

I’m just seeing this. I usually allow Math to comment simply for comic relief but will watch out for his cutting and pasting.

July 19, 2011 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Richard, your post was great, but the comments are mostly boring – hijacked by few people. A pity.

July 19, 2011 @ 12:45 am | Comment

You won’t convince Jason. Remember the Falun Gong thread? He’ll just drone on and on and won’t give a centimeter.

Dogbody
, I tend to agree. Math’s comments are harmless even if they’re spam and they strike me as amusing. I’ll play it by ear.

July 19, 2011 @ 2:19 am | Comment

@Christopher Luna: The “there was no massacre inside the square” trope is pretty ridiculous. Does it actually matter whether China gunned down its citizens inside the square or outside of it? Does it matter whether the tanks crushed civilians inside the square or out of it?

Actually it does matter. Jay Mathews said it best, “consider what is lost by not giving an accurate account of what happened, and what such sloppiness says to Chinese who are trying to improve their press organs by studying ours. The problem is not so much putting the murders in the wrong place, but suggesting that most of the victims were students.”

July 19, 2011 @ 4:11 pm | Comment

For many activists, it seems to be important that most of the massacre took place within the square – and for many apologists, it seems to be important that it happend mostly outside of it. Many on each side have the history books on their mind, as is tradition – just as it mattered to Deng Xiaoping that “no tanks rolled over people”.
“If tanks were used to roll over people, this would have created a confusion between right and wrong among the people nationwide.” It would confuse the people – therefore, it didn’t happen at all.

To account for the events as accurately as possible is important. But I don’t share Jay Matthew’s concern. He’s too focused on what the West might owe China – even if in a way the CCP may not be fond of. The Western press sided with one camp of Chinese historians who were as eager to build a narrative, as the CCP was to build a wall of silence.
An accurate press is in our interest. What is in the Chinese peoples’ interest is for the Chinese to decide. If flaws in Western press coverage makes them reject the principle of freedom of the press, they’d reject it anyway.

I’ll keep referring to that day in history as the Tian An Men Massacre – that’s where the “incident” began, and that’s what even the “incident” is named after. Once Beijing opens the archives, and once the eyewitnesses can speak out freely, I’ll take another look.

July 19, 2011 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

For the sake of newcomers, you should leave Math’s comments up, Richard, even if they are old ones. Kids deserve a chance to read classics from the past (it’s not like we expect the Rolling Stones to keep creating new hits). I think we can all agree that Math, unlike Merp, Pug or Red Star who are just pricks, really took bat-shittery to a new level.

July 19, 2011 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

@Jason – I have no argument with people saying that the massacre should be accurately described, my problem is with those who try to make out that because the majority of people killed were not killed in the square, then the massacre did not happen. I also have a problem with those saying that because some of the people in the square fought back after the army entered the square, then it was not a massacre.

Read the history of any great historical event and you will find seemingly conflicting accounts.

As an example, during the Falklands war, on several occasions Argentinean pilots swore that they had seen their comrades hit and sink British ships when in fact nothing of the sort had happened. These men were not lying, but merely had made the wrong interpretation of rapidly moving events. The same happened with dozens of British sailors claiming to have seen aircraft shot down which they had actually failed to hit – once again, they were not lying, but were merely deceived by the evidence of their eyes.

However, after the conflict, once all the reports and records were gathered, there was a striking agreement as to what had happened. Differences in reports could all easily be explained as heat-of-the-moment misinterpretations, or over-optimistic interpretation of known data (like the several Argentinian claims to have sunk HMS Invincible).

Similarly, there is a striking agreement between those eye-witnesses in and around the square and the journalist’s description of events. They both describe gunfire from the army. They both describe the people killed as unarmed. They both describe the majority of those shot as ordinary citizens.

Watch John Simpson’s report above – all of it can be seen quite clearly – you see the army enter the square, and then afterwards you see and hear heavy gunfire – whether from the square or from the area around the square it is impossible to tell from his vantage point. Watch Kate Adie’s report – all those in the hospital are civilians, most of them appear to be ordinary citizens, she states quite clearly that the gunfire she saw was in the area around the square.

Then watch the eye-witness accounts. They appear in the main to have been ordinary civilians. They describe being pursued down the alleyways by soldiers firing live ammunition. They describe tanks running over civilians – something that there is also photographic evidence of.

From all the evidence available this was a massacre.

July 19, 2011 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

Jason, a simple question to you (once you’ve read FOARP’s post). Do you deny that civilians were massacred by the PLA or Chinese paramilitary forces in BEIJING?

July 19, 2011 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

@Raj
The “inside or outside” the Square garbage is the only thing that trolls like Jason could cling on to felt better about themselves for every single year since 1989. Just give it to him as a consolation candy.

July 20, 2011 @ 1:30 am | Comment

Apologies if anybody here mistakenly thought I was joking about Nanking.

July 20, 2011 @ 8:36 am | Comment

@Jason, a simple question to you (once you’ve read FOARP’s post). Do you deny that civilians were massacred by the PLA or Chinese paramilitary forces in BEIJING?

Why would you think I would deny that protestors were killed by PLA? I have always stand that this massacre happened but not in Tiananamen Square.

@The “inside or outside” the Square garbage is the only thing that trolls like Jason could cling on to felt better about themselves for every single year since 1989.

@sshole. (Sorry about the language, Richard)

July 20, 2011 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

“I have always stand that this massacre happened but not in Tiananamen Square.”

I guess what people are failing to see is the relevance of this in the grand scheme of things.

It matters greatly that people were killed that night, but whether they were killed on the square or within the few square miles around it is not so important, although it is something that has been clarified in reporting.

Much the same goes for the identity of those killed -as far as I am concerned the fact that it was ordinary people rather than students who were killed is important mainly in that it indicates the general level of support the students had, and the indiscriminate nature of the army’s crackdown.

July 20, 2011 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

I have read essays by Ding Zilin documenting people who were killed in the square- hence, those who say that there was no blood shed on the square are not being honest. Sure, “Tiananmen Massacre” might be something of a misnomer, but I wouldn’t cast doubt on Nanjing just because some killings took place outside of the city limits- as they did, of course, in the areas between Yangzhou and Nanjing. But I’m not about to write an article called the Myth of Nanjing because logically this makes no sense- no matter where killings occured.
ANyway, I can’t find the names of people killed in the square, as I don’t have Ding’s books with me at the moment- because I’m in China, of course. Speaking of which…
I think that in order to clarify this entire affair, and to make sure that there are no more misunderstandings, China should allow open discussion of the events of 1989! That would make it easier to clear things up. But I’m not holding my breath….

July 20, 2011 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

If a massacre didn’t happened on the exact place where it was said to have happened, the massacre didn’t happened at all!

No matter if the massacre occurred 10 meters (+/- 1cm) beyond that location….

Like if we said that the jews were gassified in small buildings outside the concentration camp, therefore… there were no death concentration camps at all!!

July 20, 2011 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

Tangentially off-topic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Changchun

Civilian starvation

Large numbers of civilians starved in the siege; estimates range from 150,000[4] to 330,000[1]. The besieging Communist forces allowed Nationalist soldiers to leave, but forcibly prevented civilians from doing so, hoping to pressure General Zheng Dongguo, leader of the Nationalist forces, into surrender.
The incident was reported in a book published by the People’s Liberation Army Publishing House in August 1989, two months after the Tiananmen Square incident. White Snow, Red Blood, by Lieutenant Colonel Zhang Zhenglu, stated that 150,000 civilians starved to death during the siege, and that civilians attempting to leave the city were turned back to put pressure on the KMT garrison’s food supply. Lt. Col. Zhang opined that the Chinese Revolution was “not worth the cost.”, and praised Lin Biao’s military skills as superior to Mao Zedong’s[4].

July 20, 2011 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

China Is Wordless on Traumas of Communists’ Rise (The New York Times)

http://tinyurl.com/3tslz3j

“They only know the propaganda,” he said. “Maybe if they know how horrible war is, they can try to avoid it in the future.”

July 20, 2011 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

@Ecodelta – On the other hand, the Allies besieged both Germany and, even more so, Japan, causing many deaths through starvation. This, as well as the fire-bombing of cities, the demolition of dams, the bombing and strafing of civilian cars, was done both to sap the fighting power of the Axis, and to destroy their will to fight.

As I’ve said with Chiang Kai-Shek’s demolition of the Hua Yuan Kou dams (which I would liken to Operation Chastise ) so I’ll also say about the siege of Changchun – it was a terrible act, but justifiable under the conditions of total war reigning at the time.

July 21, 2011 @ 1:19 am | Comment

@Jason

Even if retards know that your “argument” wasn’t even worth the fecal waste that comes right through the back orifice because the main point for June 4 was that a cold blooded regime turned its guns and tanks against its own citizens. #59 has just called your bluff.

July 21, 2011 @ 1:40 am | Comment

@SP123 – Actually, on this thread, Jason, who is not necessarily the same Jason as the one we are familiar with, has not denied the massacre occurred. I think it is fair to question the motives of people who do make this kind of criticism, but I think your criticism is over-the-top and un-necessary

July 21, 2011 @ 1:45 am | Comment

FOARP, I agree that sp’s comment is a bit harsh. His point may be correct, but the way he says it is, as you say, over the top.

By the way, it IS the same Jason from the Falun Gong thread. I can see that from the backend control panel.

July 21, 2011 @ 1:56 am | Comment

It’s good to control ones emotions and language. But to be fair, to call sp an sshole is over the top, too.

July 21, 2011 @ 2:10 am | Comment

@FOARP

Justrecently in #66 has done a perfect job in explaining why i used those words on Jason.

Of course, Jason did not deny the massacre. But what’s his motive to move the discussion to whether the massacre took place inside or outside the Square on that fateful night/early morning 22 years ago? It’s a blatant, downright despicable attempt to create a red herring to distract from the real issue: The CCP has committed outright murder, whether inside or outside the Square.

July 21, 2011 @ 2:18 am | Comment

Gotta agree with SP here. This is a very familiar tactic I’ve seen trolls use on thisand other sites to derail threads on the TSM. No one is falling for it.

July 21, 2011 @ 2:54 am | Comment

Do not agree with you foarp. A civil war is different from a war against a foreign enemy.

And a people’s army using civil population as weapon?

In our civil war, in the Ebro offensive, there were atempts to surrender enemy units through starvation. Mostly failed. When a commander asked the reason, a soldier answered. I can kill my brother in a fight, but I will never allow him to starve to death.

What the red army did was totally despicable and can no compare with other acts done in WWII. It is very different, even rather aseptic, to fire bomb a city feom 6000m high or blockade a coutry to starvation, but to send starving people back to a death by hunger…. At gunpoint. Your own people.
..

A reason to send the officer to he’ll, or shot him if he insist in that barbarity.

July 21, 2011 @ 3:27 am | Comment

If he has not yet been mentioned –there is the courageous Fang Zheng, an elite runner whose legs were crushed by a tank on June 3-4. His story is fairly well documented on the internet, and a few years ago he was fitted with donated prosthetics in the U.S., which generated more news coverage of what happened to him in 1989, and later (how, for example, the Chinese govt prevented him from participating in the 2008 Paralympics because of the “sensitive nature” of his disability.

http://www.64memo.com/d/Default.aspx?tabid=71&language=en-US

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/20-years-tiananmen-square-fang-zheng-dances-democracy/story?id=8771789

July 21, 2011 @ 9:45 am | Comment

Have I been blocked/blanked? Confused :(

July 21, 2011 @ 11:59 am | Comment

@ecodelta – The firing on civilians I do not condone. But it must be said – had the KMT commander surrendered sooner, the deaths would have been avoided – this was the entire point of the siege. Once the siege was over the Communists did not persist in trying to kill the population of the city (except in as much as they sought to eliminate ‘class enemies’ in every city they captured).

July 21, 2011 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

Had the “people’s liberation army” allowed civilians to evacuate the city, the deaths would have been avoided…

July 21, 2011 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

The fascination with the precise location where the killings occurred is, on some level, pointless. Sure, historical/factual accuracy is important. So reporters should aspire to attain that level of accuracy, and early reports of the event were lacking in this regard. But in this case, is the key aspect of the event the exact location, or the event itself? Clearly, it is the latter. So technically, TAM massacre is a bit of a misnomer…but then so is the Boston Marathon, which actually starts in Hopkinton MA. But the “Hopkinton to Boston Marathon” is needlessly verbose, just as the “neighbouring streets outside TAM massacre” is needlessly verbose.

July 21, 2011 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

The Boston Marathon is a myth.

July 21, 2011 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

… as is the section of Kansas City that’s in Missourri.

July 21, 2011 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

This long within-or-without-Tiananmen thread may not be deemed desirable, but it’s probably good that it has been thoroughly discussed here. As the issue is indeed frequently brought up not for the sake of accuracy, but to create distractions, I’ll link here every time I’m getting involved into discussions with similar characteristics.

The discussion isn’t necessarily pointless, Cheung (#73), but if they need to be discussed, I believe the point Tatiana made much earlier (#8), and possibly my own earlier points (#15, about the possible intentions of the English-language article; #50, about the competing historians) would need to be discussed, too.

July 21, 2011 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

@Kevinnolongerinpudong –
As is the London marathon, and in fact, London itself, most of which is outside the official City of London. Same goes for the Tour De France which often goes outside France.

In fact, most of history hasn’t happened – which, thinking about it, is just as well.

July 21, 2011 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

I think we’ve made our point pretty well.

Annie, no you’re not blocked.

July 22, 2011 @ 12:38 am | Comment

Just to make the point clearer, I forwarded the Boston Marathon scoop to the lovely China Daily. Really hoping they’ll follow up on it… those shady Westerners seem to engage in this type of misinformation quite often- as FOARP demonstrated with his knowledge about marathons in the other waiguo, Europe!
If the foreigners can’t get their own marathons straight, what hope is there for them grasping massacres with chinese characteristics?
Just really have to hope their silly misunderstandings won’t stand in the way of an eventual application for a Guinness Record for “most civilians killed in capital by own army in one night!”

July 22, 2011 @ 3:14 am | Comment

To Kevin,

“westerners” are definitely factually challenged when it comes to locations…especially in sports, it seems. As further examples, the Phoenix Coyotes (hockey) actually play their home games in Glendale. The New York Jets and New York Giants (football) both play their home games in Giants Stadium, which happens to be in East Rutherford, New Jersey. But they tend to be more accurate when it comes to social upheaval events. For instance, Kent State happened on Kent State campus. The LA riots happened in LA. So yeah, absolutely China Daily can question the existence of the event itself simply based on the location inaccuracy as supplied by western media, since they had previously shown themselves to be fairly accurate when it comes to other social upheaval events. I mean, just look at their logic. Western media can be accurate with factual details when reporting social unrest. So when some facts were inaccurate wrt their TAM reporting, it must mean that the entirety of that reporting was inaccurate as well. It’s top shelf stuff.

July 22, 2011 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

All very true. But remember – exact location doesn’t only matter to the CCP when it comes to Tian An Men (the place of many previous patriotic manifestations, but to the Democrats, too. While I can’t really prove my point, I find it easy to believe that the Western press was more inclined to follow the democrats’, than the CCP narrative. The latter became rather absent shortly after the events, and until very recently, anyway.

July 22, 2011 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

[...] are some great sites I like to read and they discuss some important issues. Interestingly, the site Peking Duck recently spoke of an example of the censorship and of rewriting history. I thought it was an [...]

July 22, 2011 @ 11:20 pm | Pingback

To be fair, the Boston marathon does end in Boston, the City of London is actually in London, and the Tour de France always goes through France.

If you’re looking for a true misnomer, you should rather go with something like the world-famous Paris-Dakar rally, which has been taking place for some time now in… Chile and Argentina.

Another misnomer would be “The People’s” Republic of China :)

July 27, 2011 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

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