Archive for April, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – Hu Yaobang’s Funeral

« An explanation of this 1989 series

» Previous post in this series


Main Link: 八九天安门事件大记 (Major Daily Events, Tiananmen 1989), by Wu Renhua.

Saturday, April 22, 1989

At ten a.m., the officially arranged mourning ceremony for Hu Yaobang in the Great Hall of the People is held. State chairman Yang Shangkun (杨尚昆) chairs the ceremony, CCP general secretary Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳) delivers the eulogy. Fifteen minutes before the ceremony, Deng Xiaoping has arrived, and Zhao Ziyang, Li Peng, Wan Li, Qiao Shi and other leaders are also arriving. Beijing’s communist leaders have turned out in full strength.

There is news that Hu Yaobang’s family has refused to let the central advisory commission vice director Bo Yibo (薄一波) and central commission for discipline inspection of the CCP deputy secretary Wang Heshou (王鹤寿) attend the ceremony. Bo and Wang had been stricken by the “61 Traitors” case. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, Hu Yaobang, then the CCP central committee organization department ‘s director, had overturned the verdicts against them despite facing strong pressure [not to do so], but at the end of 1986, when Hu Yaobang was removed as secretary general, Bo and Wang, ungratefully (忘恩负义), were the main villains [people who worked against Hu]. At about 11.40 a.m., the ceremony ends, and Qiao Shi, Hu Qili, Song Ping, and head of the party’s general affairs secretariat Wen Jiabao (温家宝), with Hu Yaobang’s wife Li Zhao (李昭), accompany Hu’s coffin to Babaoshan crematorium. Babaoshan Cemetery is some 15 kilometers from Tian An Men Square, people crowd along Chang An Lu and on the buildings next to it, many wave to the car. Hu Yaobang’s son Hu Deping (胡德平) puts his two hands in front of his chest, expressing his thanks to the crowds in a traditional way. Some three-thousand police and military are deployed at Tian An Men Square and Chang An East Road.

Li Peng notes in his “June-4 diary”*) that Beijing police representatives talked with students’ delegates at 3 a.m. and asked them to move eastward on the square, so that the cars at the eastern gate of the Great Hall of the People could get through, and that the students agreed.

A request by the students to dispatch delegates to attend the mourning ceremony was declined. Yuan Zhiming (远志明), a co-author of the “River Elegy” documentary movie, and other writers and authors are on Tian An Men Square, too.

At ten, as the live broadcast announces the beginning of the ceremony, tens of thousands of students fall silent, and stand as a mark of respect. They sing along the national anthem, some are in tears, and the atmosphere is solemn and respectful. Students on Chang An Street (West) who hadn’t been able to enter the square are wearing black armbands, white flowers, and raise banners with inscriptions like “Hu Yaobang, Beijing University mourns you” and “the University of Political Science and Law pays its respect”.

Tens of thousands hope to accompany Hu Yaobang on his last path. As they learn that the car with the coffin has already left, they become excited and angry. Three demands are made in a petition:
(1) that the car with the coffin drives once around the square, (2) a dialogue with Li Peng, and (3) open coverage of the students’ mourning activities on this day.

At 12.50, Beijing University students Guo Haifeng (郭海峰), Zhang Zhiyong (张智勇), and University of Political Science and Law student Zhou Yongjun (周勇军), holding the petition [Correction, May 2: the previously written seven-point petition, in fact], kneel on the entrance stairs of the Great Hall of the People, and for a long time, there is no response. Tens of thousands of students and onlookers express deep sympathies, and once in a while, shouts are heard. A great number of military police and PLA troops encircle the entrance area, and the square is full of people. Among the comments among the crowd, there are lines such as “this is what the officials’ fear has turned into” (当官的怕学生怕成这样). The crowd begins to mock the troops, some students and other people begin moving forward, and frictions with the officers on duty occur. The pushes, back and forth, lasts for about fifteen minutes.

Nobody emerges from the hall to take the petition, which angers the students, and University of Political Science and Law, Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), hits his own head with the megaphone he carries until blood runs across his face.

Taiwan TV coverage

Taiwan TV coverage, April 22, 1989 (click picture for video).

After 13.50, more than ten-thousand students from Beijing University, University of Political Science and Law, Bei Hang University, People’s University etc. disperse in an organized way to return to their universities. According to a leading student from Beijing University, the students’ representatives haven’t been met, and nobody was prepared for a dialog with them. To maintain the students’ safety and the national situation, they had decided to return to the university strikes.

Apart from the Beijing municipality military police on duty around the Great Hall of the People, the 13th regiment of the 3rd Capital Garrison had been dispatched to the scene. During the 1989 movement, there will be three times for them to enter Beijing, and after June-4, the central military commission will be awarded a Collective Merit Citation Class One (集体一等功).

A growing number of posters emerges on the campuses, reacting to the events of the day, emphasizing the need to work out strategies and to find effective ways of organizing petitioning, and statements like “Today’s China is too dirty, and this is the time for a great clean-up”.

Li Peng’s “June-4 diary”:

This morning, a serious clash occured in Xi’an. Criminal elements pounded the provincial government compound, the procuratorate, and the court building. Cars, garages and oil depots were arsoned and a clothing shop on a main street looted. The Shaanxi provincial party committee sent a telegram to the central government: Shaanxi police isn’t sufficient, we request support from the center. Four-thousand PLA troops are going to assist Xi’an.

To be continued, probably on Saturday.

Continued here »



*) I heard about the “diary” in 2010, but I don’t know if that document can be considered authentic.



» April 22, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 22, 2012
» Cultural Revolutions, Great and Small, April 1, 2012


Monday, April 30, 2012

The Uyghur Human Rights Project

The BoZhu Interviews series is sagging at the moment – then again, I don’t mind, as it doesn’t hurt to have the one with former Deutsche Welle journalist Wang Fengbo at the top of the feed there.

But I would want to ask Henryk Szadziewski for an interview, if he hadn’t just been interviewed anyway – and if all important questions, as far as I can see, hadn’t been asked already.

Meantime, I’ll remain busy with issues of Chinese soft power, and Wu Renhua‘s memories of the Tian An Men 1989 Movement.

Szadziewski’s blog is Uyghurnomics, and Xinjiang Source interviewed him in his capacity as the Uyghur Human Rights Project‘s project manager.

The interview (and a link to Xinjiang Source) can be found here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – Asserting Authority

« An explanation of this 1989 series

« Previous post in this series


Main Link: 八九天安门事件大记 (Major Daily Events, Tiananmen 1989), by Wu Renhua.

Friday, June 21, 1989

The authorities feel humiliated by the petitioning students at Xinhua Gate. “People’s Daily” publishes an editorial titled “How we Shall mourn Comrade Hu Yaobang”, and a Xinhua newsagency journalist’s report is titled “Several Hundred Crowd around Xinhua Gate and Create Trouble”. Many university students in Beijing believe that these comments and reports aren’t seeking the truth in the facts and that they are hard to accept.

People’s Daily’s editorial says that a small number of people act the mourners, but do in fact level illegal activities against the party and the government, and even brazenly pounded Xinhua Gate. There was no way to allow this. Whoever used the mourning of Comrade Hu Yaobang to level vandalism at the party and the government would become a historic criminal. Those of them who insisted on having their own ways would reap what they had sowed.

In the morning, University of Political Science and Law students call for a student strike. A responsible at the university informs about that three students who had taken part in mourning activities on Tian An Men Square on the evening of April 19. At about 11.30 p.m. they were about to return to the campus and encountered a large number of military police on the southern side of the Great Hall of the People. Wang Zhiyong (王志勇, see previous post) had been beaten unconscious with leather belts, and the Beijing Hospital No. 3 (北医三院) had confirmed lacerations on his head, light cerebral concussions, and eye injuries.

The strike notice demands
(1) two days of strike, on April 21 and 22 to protest the illegal police behavior;
(2) demands that the government severely punish the perpetrators1)
(3) the police must, in its report, publicly apologize for this kind of behavior, and report in accordance with the facts
(4) if item (2) and (3) are not replied to by April 23 at 5 p.m., further action will gradually be taken.

Strikes at Beijing University begin before noon, some students at the entrances to the rooms dissuade classmates from attending lessons, and a strike notice is written on some blackboards. Beijing University Student Steering Committee publishes a strike notice.

At about twelve, students at the University of Political Science and Law campus burn Xinhua newsagency’s “Safeguarding Social Stability is the Current Big Picture” and “People’s Daily’s” editorial. Small bottles are smashed2).

In the afternoon, fifty students from Tianjin arrived at Beijing University as scheduled [see previous post], as a petition delegation.

At Beijing University, Wu’erkaixi‘s  (ئۆركەش دۆلەت / 吾尔开希•多莱特) notice emerges:
(1) scrap the (official) Students’ Union’s and Postgraduates’ Union’s responsibilities;
(2) participate in the Beijing Universities’ Provisional Students’ Association;
(3) from April 22, the entire university announce a student strike and a stop to all examinations;
(4) at ten p.m., all universities take a pledge at Beijing University, and all students, without fail, must participate, prepare bread and drinks to express appreciation for fellow students from (other) universities.

In the afternoon, Chen Ku-ying (陈鼓应 / 陳鼓應), a guest professor for philosophy from Taiwan, and 143 more professors and scholars sign and publish an open letter (“Teachers’ Urgent Call”) to the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, calling for maintaining the principle of consultations and dialogue, and the restoration and development of the Three Forms of Broad-Mindedness (三宽: 宽松、宽宏、宽厚). Violence against students should not be allowed.

At about 6 p.m., an open letter to the party’s central committee, the state council, and the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee emerges at Beijing University. It is signed by Bao Zunxin (包遵信), Bei Dao (北岛), Su Xiaokang (苏晓康) and 47 more authors and states that the students’ mourning activities’ demands are positive and constructive, and that healing the popular feelings (收拾民心) and weathering the crisis together would be a fundamentally wise policy.

Beijing Municipal government publishes a notice saying that because of the mourning ceremony for Hu Yaobang at the Great Hall of the People, Tian An Men Square needed to be evacuated by dawn, and that cars and pedestrians will not be allowed to enter the square. In fact, this is a measure to prevent the students from gathering there and to participate in the mourning ceremony. All universities in Beijing decide to let the students assemble on the square during the preceding evening, i. e. today evening.

After 8 p.m., some 40,000 students are on their way, from one university after another. It is the first united demonstration by all universities in Beijing.

The masses, in their tens of thousands, applaud the demonstrators from the roadsides. The students, their spirits high, call slogans like “Long live the people!”, “long live understanding!”, and “What are we doing? We are speaking the truth!” Hot water and cups provided by the public, along the roads.

The demonstration is tightly organized. Also along the roads, students screen the demonstration on the road from outsiders slipping in. At 22.40, the first students arrive on Tian An Men Square, and by 1.30 a.m., everyone is there. Around midnight, the numbers are somewhere between 200,000 and – according to some reports – 400,000 students and onlookers. Every university has dispatched overseers.

In the evening, a student, Zhen Songyu (甄颂育), rushes in and asks us (Wu Renhua, Liu Su and Chen Xiaoping) to help getting order into messy demonstration preparations. I’m taking to the demonstrators’ front rows, Chen Xiaoping walks behind the formation, and Liu Su keeps us connected. Late at night, Wang Juntao (王军涛), to be classified by the authorities as a vicious manipulator (literally: “black hand”, 黑手) after the end of the movement, and Zhang Lun (张伦), who has just returned from Yan’an, appear among our  University of Political Science and Law demonstrators, seeking for me. I’m meeting Zhang Lun, from Beijing University, for the first time.

In the afternoon, after reading reports from the education commission, Beijing municipal government, the public-security ministry, Xinhua, and other departments, party secretary general Zhao Ziyang makes a phonecall to politbureau member and the national education commission’s director Li Tieying (李铁映) with a proposal to keep communication with all universities and to make sure that effective measures are taken to maintain guidance and to prevent conflicts (contradictions, 矛盾) from intensifying. In the afternoon, Zhao also has discussions with permanent politbureau member Hu Qili and the secretariat of the Communist Party Central Committee secretary and politbureau member Rui Xingwen. Zhao says that the news and public opinion should emphasize some correct things, and while affirming that the students are patriotic, the importance of social stability also needs to be pointed out, and intensified contradictions be prevented.

Permanent politbureau member and chief state councillor Li Peng (李鹏), after reading the public-security ministry’s “Concerning some illegal organizations emerging at Universities” report, adds a comment to the original document: “Comrade Tieying [Li Tieying, see previous paragraph], this issue must be closely watched, and immediately be communicated to the universities in question, to curb this in accordance with the law.”

Li Peng notes in his “June-4 diary”3) that

This evening at seven, Zhao Ziyang held a standing committee meeting and discussed the wording of the eulogy for Comrade Hu Yaobang. It gives high appraisal to the life of Comrade Hu Yaobang, but according to Comrade Xiaoping’s [i. e. Deng Xiaoping] advice, it doesn’t give Comrade Yaobang the title of a great Marxist. At eight p.m., 50,000 students, in the name of taking part in the mourning ceremony for Hu Yaobang, have entered Tian An Men Square – in advance – to make sure that the measures that had been taken to keep them out next day can not be put into practice. In the evening, I kept watching the developments from [my] Zhongnanhai office. Comrade Qiao Shi, in direct command of the scene, [says that] the measures to keep the square clear cannot be carried out.

Continued here »



1) the dominant translation would be murderersxiongshou (凶手), the term used in the strike notice quote, is basically a stronger word than just perpetrators.
2) see footnote 2 there. The smashing of little bottles, however, was most probably targeted at Deng Xiaoping.
3) I heard about the “diary” in 2010, but I don’t know if that document can be considered authentic.



» April 21, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 21, 2012
» Detective Li’s Diary, June 30, 2010


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sovereign Debt Crisis, hence no Conflicts of Interest

Huanqiu Shibao, April 23

French Pesidential Nominees play the China Card, Sarkozy says he Pays Close Attention to Tibetan Issue  (法总统竞选打出中国牌 萨科齐称关注西藏问题)

From our France, Germany, Britain, U.S., Russia correspondents

Huanqiu Shibao reports that an anti-Chinese overseas exile Tibetan website reported on April 21 that during the April 22 presidential elections, Dalai supporters and French paper “Nouvel Observateur” addressed the Tibetan issue. From ten nominees, nine affirmed that they would meet with the Dalai. The report says that Sarkozy told the “Nouvel Observateur that “he frequently addressed the Tibet issue in talks with Chinese leaders”, and that “Tibet is an important topic for the French people, and for me”. Hollande said that the Dalai was a “respected religious personality, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and he abandoned all political roles. Therefore, I have no reason to refuse a meeting with him”.


A Chinese person living abroad told “Huanqiu Shibao” on April 22 that some countries in Europe have not abandoned “democratic” etc. issues as means of pressure on China, and provocative intentions. However, under the current difficult economic difficulties, some comparatively reasonable politicians could exercise some restraint. China’s tough stance could leave some politicians with no choice but to face the realities. If they were provocative, they would certainly have to pay a price.


Beijing Normal University Political Science and International Relations department deputy director Zhang Shengjun told “Huanqiu Shibao” that these presidential elections wouldn’t change French China policies on the whole. Chinese-French relations didn’t show great conflicts of interests, and all of Europe was actively seeking cooperation with China to solve the European sovereign debt crisis.


Le Nouvel Observateur, April 17, 2012

Dalai Lama – what the Candidates say (Ce qu’en disent les candidats)

Question five: Once you are president, will you receive the Dalai Lama? (Question n°5 : Une fois Président, recevrez-vous le dalaï-lama ?)

Nicolas Sarkozy:

I remind you that I’m the only president of the French Republic who talked with the Dalai Lama. That was in 2008. I also had the opportunity on several other occasions to talk about the Tibetan situation with the Chinese president. Of course, I intend to continue doing so. Tibet is an important topic for the French, just as for me. As far as the Dalai Lama is concerned, as a matter of principle, I’m not forbidding myself anything.

“Je vous rappelle que je suis le seul Président de la République française à m’être entretenu avec le dalaï-lama. C’était en 2008. J’ai par ailleurs eu à plusieurs reprises l’occasion de parler de la situation du Tibet avec le Président chinois. Mon intention est bien sûr de continuer à le faire. Le Tibet est un sujet important pour les Français, comme pour moi. S’agissant du dalaï-lama, par principe, je ne m’interdis rien.”

Francois Hollande:

The Dalai Lama is a respected religious personality, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He has abandoned all political functions. I have no reason to refuse meeting him a priori. This will, of course, depend on the context of the appropriate time.

“Le dalaï-lama est une personnalité religieuse respectée, prix Nobel de la paix. Il a abandonné toute fonction politique. Je n’ai pas de raison de refuser a priori de le rencontrer. Cela dépendra évidemment du contexte le moment venu.”

Francois Bayrou:

If the Dalai Lama wishes to meet me, I will receive him, of course.

“Si le dalaï-lama souhaite me rencontrer je le recevrai naturellement.”




The Patriotic Road Abroad, August 15, 2009


Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – a Trip to North Korea

« An explanation of this 1989 series

« Previous post in this series


Main Link: 八九天安门事件大记 (Major Daily Events, Tiananmen 1989), by Wu Renhua.

Wednesday, April 19, 1989

Some two thousand students stay in front of Xinhua Gate overnight, even after three in the morning. But it is quite a reduction from the peak of the evening before, when there were more than twenty-thousand students and onlookers. At 4.20 a.m., a loudspeaker announcement warns of bad elements trying to create trouble, and wanting to use people for their own ends. This was no longer a normal mourning activity, says the message. A great number of police cars arrive, plus two buses, which take students who still stayed on at Xinhua Gate back to their campuses without incidents. In the afternoon, the slogans, besides praise for late Hu Yaobang, begin to include calls for unfolding the May-4 tradition1).

At 9 p.m., several ten-thousand people have gathered on Tian An Men Square again. Public security authorities inform the public by loudspeaker messages that wreathes may be taken to the Monument of the People’s Heroes, but not to Zhongnanhai. Around 10 p.m., police stops students from flying seven hydrogen balloons which carry the inscription “Hu Yaobang isn’t Dead”. Xinhua Gate is out of reach for demonstrations, as it has been sealed off by police.

In the evening, the Democratic Salon holds a session at Beijing University’s San Jiao Di [explanation here, underneath the seven demands]. It is initially moderated by the university’s history department student Wang Dan, and then by Wu Yunxue (武运学), as Wang Dan’s voice is getting hoarse. Ding Xiaoping (丁小平), Xiong Yan (熊焱), Feng Congde (封从德), Yang Tao (杨涛) and others give speeches. The students present at the session decide to depose the [official] Students’ Union and to establish a Steering Commission for an Autonomous Beijing University Students’ Union.

The CCP Central Committee announces that a mourning ceremony for Hu Yaobang will be held in the Great Hall of the People on April 22, at ten a.m.. The ceremony will be broadcast live by China National Radio and CCTV.

Fang Lizhi (方励之), researcher at the National Astronomical Observatories (北京天文台) at the time, is interviewed by a Hong Kong reporter on the phone. The students have the right to make demands, and to express them peacefully on demonstrations, he says. He supports the students, and so do intellectuals and public opinion in general. He has no direct links with the students; the students strife for democracy and freedom is spontaneous, with views of their own. He isn’t directly participating in their actions.

Thursday, April 20, 1989

At midnight, at the Democratic Salon at Beijing University, Wang Dan announces the foundation of the “Beijing University United Students’ Union Steering Committee”, which is to replace the officially-controlled Beijing University Students’ Union. The steering committee’s seven members are Ding Xiaoping, Yang Tao, Wang Dan, Yang Dantao (杨丹涛), Xiong Yan, Feng Congde, and Chang Jin (常劲, sometimes also spelled Chang Jing). The committee recommends that students from every university organize themselves and elect delegates to ensure a unified leadership for the movement.

At peak times, there are now up to fifty- or sixty-thousand people on Tian An Men Square.

Zhongnanhai is sealed off [apparently to prevent further demonstrators to get to Xinhua Gate], and loudspeaker messages at 3.45 in the morning warn the about 300 students who are still in front of Xinhua Gate that if the “small minority of people” still hold out there, the consequences will solely be their own responsibility. At about 4 a.m., military police disperses the several hundred students and forces them on buses. Some don’t want to get on the buses and for the first time, there is fighting.

Hong Kong’s Express (Kuai Bao) reports that student delegates from Beijing University, the People’Äs University and the University of Political Science and Law who had regular talks with the authorities, but there hasn’t been news from them since they had entered Zhongnanhai at two a.m.. Students are losing patience.

At 3 p.m., protests emerge at Beijing University, against the beating of a University of Political Science and Law student, Wang Zhiyong, at Xinhua Gate early that day. The student’s bloody clothes are put on display at Wang’s university.

Deng Xiaoping, in his capacity as the CCP’s central military commission, decides to call troops into Beijing to reinforce the police and military police in Beijing. Troops dispatched are from the 3rd Capital Garrison Division (Police), and from the 38th Army (belonging to the Beijing Military Region).

In the morning, vice chief state councillor Tian Jiyun (田纪云) meets party secretary general Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳) and suggests that Zhao should change his plan to leave for a visit to North Korea on April 23. Tian is the only cadre Zhao brought with him to Beijing2), from Sichuan. Zhao says that he has thought about that, too, but he believes that to change his plans would suggest to the world outside that the political situation was unstable. He therefore sticks with his travel plan.

Students come in from Tianjin, by train, fifty on them this Thursday evening. More than one-hundred have bought train tickets and will arrive on Friday to take part in a demonstration in Beijing.

Demonstrations are reported from Anhui Province, and in Nanjing, at 10.30 p.m., more than three-thousand students leave the Nanjing University campus for demonstrations at the Jiangsu Province government buildings.

In Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, some 2,300 people charge ahead for the entrance of the provincial government building. More than 200 are arrested by military police. An official statement says that very few organized students had been among the troublemakers, and that the majority had been “young people waiting for work”3), workers, people without fixed duties, and mostly young.

Continued here »



1) See last paragraph – a quote from the Hong Kong Standard – there. The May-Fourth movement of 1919 is canonized in Chinese history recording, as a starting point for national renewal and for patriotism, and to invoke this tradtion usually helps to add legitimacy to ones own actions.

2) 待业青年 (young people waiting for employment) remained a euphemism for youth unemployment in the 1990s. Basically, the Shaanxi provincial government communique distinguished between “good-for-nothings” and students – in the early days or weeks of the 1989 movement, there seemed to be a wide-spread reluctance among officials to condemn the students’ agenda, not only among cadres close to Zhao Ziyang. This initial sacrosanctity was possibly owing to the glorification of the May-19th movement in China’s official history records, and also to a switch in the CCP’s coalition-building, away from the peasant and working class towards the intellectuals, as (particularly explicitly) described by Chinese academic Kang Xiaoguangcited there.

3) It probably goes without saying that Zhao Ziyang, general secretary of the CCP at the time, was rather sympathetic towards the students’ movement, and certainly not willing to unleash the army on them. Wu Renhua, who wrote the Tian An Men 1989 records I’m quoting from in these posts, sees a particular degree of trust between Zhao and Tian, because they worked together in Sichuan Province, before Zhao was promoted to Beijing.



» April 20, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 20, 2012
» April 19, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 19, 2012
» Zhao Ziyang’s Memoirs, New York Times, May 14, 2012


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chen Guangcheng, Rebiya Kadeer, and Chinese Tradition

Chen Guangcheng and Rebiya Kadeer have something in common: they seem to embody what the CCP itself likes to sell to foreigners as “the Chinese people’s strife for a better life”. Chen became a lawyer of sorts, despite his blindness. Kadeer, an Uyghur, became a successful business woman. That was how she was portrayed by CCP propaganda, anyway.

Lu Zhishen pulls a willow tree.

Lu Zhishen pulls a willow tree. (Click picture for source.)

Both, at some time during their careers, found themselves at odds with the Chinese Communist Party. They still are.

A too idealistic view? Maybe – but that’s what narratives are about. That’s probably why the Water Margin, one of the Chinese classics, came to my mind when I heard about Chen Guangcheng’s escape from his “house arrest” in Shandong Province. Mount Liang, where the novel is set, is located in Shandong Province, too.

The narrative here is this (more or less): 108 outlaws form a sizeable army (officials at the time would refer to them as a gang, of course), the outlaws become pretty convincing (illegal) military personalities, they teach the imperial armies lesson after lesson, and are then – as usual with successful rebels – granted an amnesty, and coopted to defend the Chinese empire.

The rebel idealism is one narrative – the one of co-option is another. They seem to complement each other. That China’s intellectuals have been co-opted by the CCP has been frequently said. Kang Xiaoguang suggested in 2007 that the CCP had replaced farmers and workers as the country’s elites, and chose the intellectuals instead:

However, the relationship between the intellectual elite and the CCP has gone through twists and turns. There were constant conflicts between the two in the 1980s, which gradually died out after the 1990s. Why did the intellectuals stop making noise? Some say it is due to heavy-handed suppression while others say that the intellectuals have been bought off. Indeed, suppression has never stopped, and has been dreadful, too. In the mid-1990s, the government started a policy of massive buy-off. For instance, there has been a marked increase in the outlay for education and research, and much better working and living conditions for teaching and research staff. However, suppression and buy-off cannot fully explain the change in the intelligentsia. Otherwise the intelligentsia would not be the intelligentsia any more. No, there are deeper reasons for this change of attitude. First, the Chinese government continued the reform and opening-up policy in and after 1992, which was what the intelligentsia wanted. […] »

Kang’s explanation goes beyond Wu Renhua’s description of how CCP cooption works. Wu, in his Tian An Men 1989 tweets of 2011, wrote that the CCP learned its lesson from 1989, and bought the intellectuals off, with 1,800,000,000 Yuan RMB allocated to Tsinghua, Beijing University, as teacher subsidies which were spent within three years.

That may create stability, at least superficially. But it also rots civil society.

Soft power comes from values, Chinese intellectuals keep stating. But when values begin to resist state power, they seem to become irreconcilable, in China.

Many people who allow the party establishment to buy them off will hate Chen Guangcheng. Others will silently admire him – after hours, and without consequence.

That’s tradition.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – Seven Demands

« Explanation of this June-4 series approach

« Previous post in this series

Note: I won’t be able to translate all of Wu Renhua‘s document. However, I’ll try to reflect the gist and the spirit of Wu’s account, and to keep the contents I’m reflecting here consistent.

Wikipedia provides a framework of the Tian An Men events from April to June 1989, and Diane Gatterdam is blogging on a today-in-history basis, on C. A. Yeung‘s Under the Jacaranda blog.


Main Link: 八九天安门事件大记 (Major Daily Events, Tiananmen 1989), by Wu Renhua.

Tuesday, April 18, 1989

On midnight, more than one-thousand students leave the Beijing University campus for a demonstration, and as they reach Diaoyutai Guest House, their number has risen to three-thousand. Foreign journalists and staff from foreign embassies walk along and watch the event. At 1.30, they reach the People’s University (Renmin University) and stop for a while, as nearly one-thousand People’s University students join them. Along the walk, Tsinghua University and other students also join. By now, nearly ten-thousand people have gathered, most of them students who leave again during the demonstrations.

Beijing University demonstrators carry white silk banners of ten meters length and four meters height, with characters like “Soul of China”, “Remembering Comrade Hu Yaobang forever”, signed by “teachers and students from Beijing University and friends”. Students call, on top of their voices, “long live democracy”, “long live liberty”, “down with bureaucracy” and similar slogans, and sing the “Internationale”. The demonstrators reach Tian An Men Square at about 4.30 in the morning and gather at the Monument to the People’s Heroes. A student climbs the monument and shouts: “This action is completely spontaneous and not linked to the [official, party-controlled] Student’s Union (学生会). We have elected our own students’ representatives, who are preparing to talk with the government.”

As the day dawns, several hundreds of Beijing University students who are sitting in front of the Great Hall of the People demand to speak with leaders above the level of the NPC Standing Committee level, and present seven demands:

  1. to re-assess Hu Yaobang’s merits and demerits and to affirm their democratic, liberal, tolerant and harmonious points of view
  2. thoroughly reject the campaigns against spiritual pollution and against caipitalist liberalism, and correct injustices done to intellectuals
  3. make the salaries and all income of the country’s leaders public, act against corrupt officials
  4. permit private newspapers, remove censorship, implement freedom of speech
  5. increase spending on education, improve the treatment of intellectuals
  6. remove the Beijing municipal government’s ten rules concerning demonstrations
  7. require the government leaders to report mistakes to the National People’s Congress in a public review and put certain officials’ posts up for re-election

[For comparison, the seven demands as quoted on Wikipedia]

These seven demands had gone through discussion at Beijing University’s law faculty postgraduates’ assembly, chaired by Li Jinjin (李进进).

At 7.30, Wang Dan (王丹) of Beijing University History Faculty, notices that the number of silent protesters is diminuishing, and gives Fang Lizhi’s (方励之) wife Li Shuxian (李淑娴) a phonecall. She puts up a poster at Beijing University’s San Jiao Di [三角地, a place where most student demonstrations passed through during the 1970s and the 1980s. It is also the site of a memorial of Beijing University’s 100th anniversary]. After the 9-4 incident, it is the only case the CCP establishes as a manipulative act between Fang Lizhi’s wife and the students’ movement.

At eight in the morning, General Office of the Communist Party of China (中共中央办公厅) and General Office of the State Council’s Bureau for Letters and Calls chief Zheng Youmei (郑幼枚) and others invites Guo Haifeng, Wang Dan and other students representatives to enter the Great Hall of the People and receive their petition there. Guo, Wang etc. demand that the NPC Standing Committee members emerge to have a dialog, while Zheng Youmei replies that this would require certain etiquettes. The students’ representatives state that this dialog had not been satisfactory.

At 5.30, Standing Committee member Liu Yandong and NPC delegates Tao Xiping and Song Shixiong meet the silent protesters’ delegates Guo Haifeng and others, and Guo et al submit a Petition to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee – a petition which mainly contains the seven demands.

At 6.55 p.m., more than three-thousand students from People’s University, Beijing University, Beijing Institute of Technology (北京理工大学) leave their campuses and set out for Tian An Men Square. They arrive there at 8 p.m. – first those who came by bicycle, then those who walked to the square. At 9 p.m., some ten- to twenty-thousand people have gathered on the square, and apart from the silent demonstrators in front of the Great Hall of the People, they gather in front of the Monument to People’s Heroes.

At 10.50 p.m., more than twenty [correction, 2May 15, 2013] two-thousand students and onlookers move to Xinhua Gate, the State Council’s place at Zhongnanhai, and demand a dialog with chief state councillor Li Peng. Li is paying a visit to Hu Yaobang’s family that evening, expressing his appreciation for Hu Yaobang. His family people express their wish for a simple funeral, and that the center will issue a conclusion of his work.

In the afternoon, Nanjing University and Hehai University students have applied for a demonstration permit to the Jiangsu Province Public Security Bureau, stating that more than ten-thousand students from several universities want to gather at the Clock-Tower Square at 1 p.m. on April 9. Reports about activities from Shaanxi Province are also coming in – in Xi’an, the mourning activities are said to spread from the students to society at large.

As Tuesday comes to an end, only Associated Press, among the foreign news providers, has covered activities in Shanghai, according to reference material provided to the CCP leadership. All other reports have remained focused on Beijing. According to Associated Press, the demonstrations have become more political on Tuesday, demanding answers from the government. Li Jinjin [see further above, re seven demands] is quoted as saying that the bureaucracy had got a taste of the people’s power. The students had wanted a dialog with NPC Standing Committee members in charge, and weren’t demanding an immediate response, but they [Standing Committee members] hadn’t dared to show up (今天,学生们的游行逐渐变得越来越带政治性,要求政府对他们提出的七条要求做出答复。学生代表李进进说:官僚们会尝到人民的力量。他说,学生们想同全国人大常委会负责人谈谈要求,而且不会要求立即作出答复,可他们不敢出来).

Continued here »



» April 27, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 27, 2012
» A Frenzy for Freedom, J. Bennett, May 1990/April 2012
» All Highly Quotable, May 20, 2010


Friday, April 27, 2012

A Message from Chen Guangcheng …

… to Wen Jiabao, after escaping from “house arrest” at his home in Dongshigu, Shandong Province.

Hat tip to FOARP.



» Chen’s family under attack, BBC, April 27, 2012
» What is Power, January 9, 2012


%d bloggers like this: