The Weeks before June 4 – Seven Demands

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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.

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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 »

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Related

» 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

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