A great first-hand account of the bloody TS crackdown

I hope everyone interested in the Tiananmen Square Massacre will visit Daai Tou Lam’s excellent site to read his post on an eyewitness account of one William Hinton, author of The Great Reversal: The Privitization of China – 1978-1989. There is a lot to learn here, especially in the wake of revisionist efforts to downplay the horrors of June 3-4. People were mown down. Innocents perished.

Whether these murders took place in the square or on the surrounding streets is irrelevant. There was indeed a massacre. And that’s no myth.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Yes, there was a massacre. I don’t think any honest, ethical person can deny that.

I must disagree with what you said, though:

“Whether these murders took place in the square or on the surrounding streets is irrelevant.”

I think is important that we arm ourselves with the details — I would dearly love to see if anyone has taken all the eyewitness testimonies and tried to piece together a comprehensive look at all the events that were happening that night. The details of what happened that night are relevant, because they provide us with the capacity to generate nuanced arguments that cannot be easily refuted or torn apart on our own factual inaccuracies.

If they try to revise history, to erase this with lies, we need to have all the facts — the big picture, if you will — to argue against them. Truth must be our weapon against them.

June 7, 2004 @ 1:12 am | Comment

I didn’t make myself clear. Of course we should be very specific about the details. There was another discussion going on about whether we had a right to call it “the Tiananmen Square massacre” if the killings happened on the streets and not inside the square. I had that argument in mind when I wrote the sentence you are pointing out. Accurtacy in history is extremely important and we always need to know exactly what happened, to the best extent that we can.

June 7, 2004 @ 10:00 am | Comment

Ah. My apologies, Richard. I didn’t catch the context.

I think, regarding whether we can call it the Tiananmen Square Massacre if most of the killings happened elsewhere… Perhaps we still can. It strikes me that Tiananmen was the symbolic heart of this event: the students at the Square, the symbol of resistance generated by these people gathered there. It is a name that generates an immediate visual impression: that famous square, the tanks and the brave man who stood in front of a tank…

Or perhaps it should be the Beijing Massacre, though by now the name Tiananmen has taken on such evocative power that I really don’t think changing the name would work.

Still, by whatever name we call it, it was still a massacre. It was still a crime.

June 7, 2004 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

I think it’s too late to rename it, considering it’s already indexed in so many books and, of course, on the Web search engines. Beijing Massacre is too vague; everyone on the streets around the square at the time were there because of the Tiananmen Square protests. Thus, “Tiananmen Square Massacre,” while perhaps not a perfect descriptor, is not inappropriate.

Still, by whatever name we call it, it was still a massacre. It was still a crime.

Well said.

June 7, 2004 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

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