Archive for April 30th, 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.

%d bloggers like this: