Search Results for “"Wu Renhua"”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Weeks before June 4: Wu Renhua’s Introduction

« previous June-4 post

The following is a translation from Wu Renhua‘s Major Daily Events, Tian An Men 1989 (八九天安门事件逐日大事记). In a few paragraphs, Wu explains how the document evolved.

From April 15 to June 9, 2011, on Twitter, I reviewed, on a daily basis, the 1989 Tian An Men Incident, and this chronological document has been compiled on the basis of the daily material compiled then.

2011年4月15日至6月9日,我在推特(twitter.com)逐日回顾八九天安门事件,这份《八九天安门事件大事记》就是根据逐日回顾的文字资料整理成文。

I began studying classical literature as a major, at Beijing University, in spring 1982,  successively obtained the degrees of a bachelor and a master’s degree, was trained in textual research and editing, bibliography and other relevant professional skills. In 1989, when I was at the China University of Political Science and Law Ancient Legal Books Research Institute, I experienced the Tian An Men Incident myself: the students’ demonstrations, the hungerstriking petitioners, and the whole military clearance process of the square.

1982年春,我入读北京大学古典文献专业,先后获学士、硕士学位,是受过考据学、版本学、目录学等专业训练的文献学者。1989年,我任职中国政法大学法律古籍整理研究所,是八九天安门事件的亲身经历者,经历了学生游行示威、绝食请愿、天安门广场武力清场的整个过程。

In February 1990, I left China, and fled across the sea. In May that year, I wrote a long essay, “Last Scene of the Tian An Men Incident”, to record the complete process of the Tian An Men Square clearing.

1990年2月,我跳海出走,离开中国。当年5月,发表了根据亲身经历所写的数万字文章《天安门事件的最后一幕》,完整记录了天安门广场的清场过程。

Over the years, I kept gathering and researching material concerning the 1989 Tian An Men Incident, published “Inside Stories about the sanguinary Clearance of Tian An Men Square” (天安门血腥清场内幕) in May 2007 and “The Martial-Law Troops in the 6-4 Incident” 六四事件中的戒严部队 in May 2009. Currently, I’m writing on ” The Whole Story of the 1989Tian An Men Incident” (tentative title).

多年来,我一直在搜集、研究八九天安门事件的资料,2007年5月出版了《天安门血腥清场内幕》一书,2009年5月出版了《六四事件中的戒严部队》一书。目前正在写作《八九天安门事件始末》(暂定名)一书。

Continued here »

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Related

» June-4 series, Under the Jacaranda, first post this year on April 15

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Monday, June 3, 2013

June 4, 1989: the Unsinkable Boat of Stone

Tiananmen Square has a meaning to China – not just Beijing – as deep as the Place de la Bastille‘s for Paris, or that of the Alexanderplatz for Berlin. On 400,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square – according to relevant tourist information – provides space for one million people. That’s how the square has been used – for gatherings ordered by the Chinese Communist Party, when Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic, for Hua Guofeng‘s eulogy on Mao Zedong in 1976, and for military parades celebrating the People’s Republic’s 35th, 50th, and 60th birthday.

In 1997, on Tiananmen Square, a limited number of people celebrated the return of Hong Kong. The limitation had conjecturable reasons – eight years and four weeks earlier, Chinese army and police troops had quashed a student movement – that movement, too, had its public center in Tiananmen Square.

Ever since 1911, Tiananmen Square had been a place for gatherings outside the scripts of the powers that be. The first, probably, was the May-Fourth movement, sparked by the transfer of formerly German possessions in Shandong Province to Japan, rather than to China, in 1919, after World War One. Chinese intellectuals had begun to perceive their country not just as a civilization, but as a nation, interacting with other nations and falling behind internationally. In 1919, there were no celebrations. There were protests.

The May-Fourth movement has since been canonized. CCP historians see the movement as the beginning of progressive processes during the first half of the 20th century, leading to the CCP’s rise to power. But even Hua Guofeng’s eulogy on Mao, in September 1976, had been preceded by expressions of grief months earlier, in April, for the late chief state councillor Zhou Enlai. The more radical followers of Mao Zedong considered that an affront.

Personal impressions from the 1976 “Tian An Men incident” apparently made Wu Renhua, later a dissident, honor Hu Yaobang with a wreath on Tiananmen Square, in April 1989. Hu Yaobang had just passed away, and some points seem to be noteworthy:

When Hu died, he had been removed as the CCP secretary general for more than two years. Apparently, the party leadership had considered him to be too reform-minded. Expressions of grief from the population might be considered an affront by the party leaders, too, and they probably did, even if it took more than six weeks for the party to put an end to the movement of intellectuals and students in  which Wu Renhua had been taking part.

By then, the movement had long gone beyond their original motivation of honoring Hu Yaobang. Through anti-corruption protest, it had turned into a movement for democracy.

Also, Wu Renhua, then an about thirty-three years old lecturer from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, was part of the movement, but – according to his own account – rather going along with it, than driving it. His actual confrontational attitude towards the CCP  only built after the massacre – an outrage that he had never seemed to expect from his country’s leaders.

And even if the University of Political Science and Law played an important role in the 1989 movement, the Beijing University, the Beida, had the traditional, leading role.

Rivalries among the 1989 dissidents are nothing unusual today. Frequently, they are personal rather than political, accompanied by allegations that X is self-important, that Y is a CCP collaborator, or that Z is remote-controlled by Falun Gong – somehow unpredictable or dangerous.

June 4 has become an unsolved complex in Chinese history. Whoever studied in a major Chinese city in 1989 will know that complex. “Sure”, a Shanghainese told me in the early 1990s, “we were all protesting.” To her, however, the matter was closed with the end of the movement – ostensibly, anyway. Many Chinese people born after 1989 hardly know about the existence of the movement, and among those who do remember it, at least some consider the crackdown a rather lucky outcome: be it because they don’t think that the students were able to handle politics in 1989, be it because they see a foreign conspiracy against China’s stability and China’s rise behind the former movement.

By 2008, a trend had changed. Many Chinese people who used to feel respect for (Western) democracies had changed their mind. Frequently negative coverage by Western media on the Beijing Olympics certainly played a role here – the negative foreign echo was spread selectively, but broadly by Chinese media. Some overseas Chinese in Germany even organized a silent protest against the biased German media who had failed to spread their patriotic message and who had therefore muzzled them. Add how the mighty had fallen in the financial crisis – China’s period of growth still continued, thanks to state stimulus programs that tried to compensate for falling imports by Western economies. Criticism from abroad – that’s how the Chinese public was informed (frequently correctly) – was an expression of foreign envy. The ideas so vigorously discussed in 1989 have given way to the truculent nationalism of new generations, Isabel Hilton noted in 2009.

In 1990, Yang Lian (楊煉), a Chinese poet in exile, published this:

The darker the sky, you say that the boat is old,
the storms it bore are long gone,
it is for us to erase the Self, let the boat of stone rot away.1)

That, of course, is the last thing a boat of stone will do.

What is the role of the 1989 dissidents today? According to C. A. Yeung, an Australian blogger and human rights activist, hardly any role. Dissidents abroad, above all, appear to be out of touch with many activists inside China. This may also be true for Wei Jingsheng, an exiled Chinese who lives in Washington D.C..

Wei wasn’t part of the 1989 movement. At the time, he had been a political prisoner for some ten years. He was only released in 1993, and soon, he was re-arrested. Since 1997, he has been in America.

It requires a strong – and at times probably dogmatic – personality to resist the pressures Wei faced. No confessions, no concessions to the Chinese authorities through all the years of imprisonment. To people like Wei, “foreign interference” in China’s “internal affairs” is no sacrilege, but necessity. Such “interference” may not create space to live for open dissidents in totalitarian countries, but it does, at times, enable dissidents to survive. In that light, it was only logical that Wei attended a hearing of the German federal parliament’s culture and media committee on December 2008, about the alleged proximity of Germany’s foreign broadcaster’s Chinese department (Deutsche Welle, DW)  to the CCP. DW Staff and program should defend human rights and democracy as a matter of principle, Wei demanded.

It turned out that Wei didn’t actually know the DW programs, jeered Xinhua newsagency.  Wei didn’t disagree: “As a matter of fact, I have said from earlier on that I would not listen to the broadcast of the Deutsche Welle’s Chinese service that has been speaking on the CCP’s behalf.”

Such appearances in foreign parliaments may appear fussy, and near-irrelevant. But in 2002, Dutch author and exile observer Ian Buruma had still believed that Chinese dissidents abroad could play a big role:

Let’s say there are suddenly serious splits in the Chinese government. Things start to move rather quickly. All kinds of things are going to happen. And then, it can be that you suddenly need people who know how to operate in Washington, who know which buttons to press and [who] have contacts in Congress, and so on. And this has happened in the case of Taiwan, for example, where you had dissidents in the 60s and 70s who hung around, languished, were considered to be irrelevant until things began to change in Taiwan politically and suddenly, they were important.2)

But maybe, by now, that role has diminuished further – if Buruma’s original observations were correct. Maybe Wei Jingsheng and other dissidents, among them those who had to leave China after June 4, 1989, will play a role similar to the one Wolf Biermann, an East German exile in West Germany, anticipated for himself long before the Berlin Wall came down: at times cheering from the sidelines, providing advice once in a while, but hardly authoritatively. Only on his return to East Germany, Biermann mused, his actual exile would begin, as hardly anyone would recognize him: Dann beginnt erst mein Exil.

The actual historical events of spring 1989 are a different story, however. These days, the CCP neither condemns the events, nor does it condone them. The topic is entirely shunned.

In Hong Kong, people haven’t forgotten. After all, the June-4 crackdown came as a shock for a society that was to return to the motherland eight years and a month later. June 4 is part of tradition there. For many Hong Kong activists who demand more democratic rights for Hong Kongers themselves, solidarity with mainland activists or dissidents is part of their self-image.

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989 (click picture for video)

In 1995, Deng Xiaoping‘s daughter Deng Rong suggested in an interview with the New York Times  that only later generations could judge the 1989 events. She didn’t know how people thought about it – but my father at least, in his heart, believed that he had no other way.

It may take years before a re-evaluation of the 1989 movements may begin. Or it may only take months. The CCP could initiate one if it feels strong enough, or the citizenry could initiate one if the party gets weaker.

Nobody inside or outside China knows what is being thought about the movement. And many Chinese may only find out what they think once it becomes a topic – when it gets unearthed, gradually or rapidly, in a controlled or spontaneous process.

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Notes

1) Yang Lian: Alte Geschichten (I-IV), Der einzige Hafen des Sommers, aus: Masken und Krokodile, Berlin, Weimar 1994, quoted by Joachim Sartorius (Hrsg): Atlas der Neuen Poesie, Reinbek, 1996, S. 67.
天空更加阴暗  你说  这船老了
一生运载的风暴都已走远
该卸下自己了  让石头船舷去腐烂
夏季  是惟一的港口

2) Jatinder Verma: Asian Diasporas, BBC (World Service), Sept 2, 2002

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Monday, May 20, 2013

The Weeks before June 4: Deng Xiaoping’s remarks and the April-26 Editorial

« Previous translation/rendition: Struggling for the Ideological Switch Stands

For all previous instalments, see this table.

Most or all of the party-insider information used by Wu Renhua seems to be based on “Li Peng’s diary”. There seems to be wide-spread agreement that the diary – becoming known in 2010 – was authentic. However, even if it is, one needs to ask if Li’s own account of the run-up to the massacre of June 3/4 1989 is accurate. Probably, these are questions only the party archives could answer – JR

Tuesday, April 25, 1989

Main Link: 1989 年 4 月 24 日 星期日

About 60,000 students at 43 colleges and universities in Beijing continue the strike on lessons. (On April 24, 38 colleges and universities were involved.) At some colleges and universities, wall papers promoting the students’ movement continue to emerge.

At 3 p.m., the Beijing University Preparatory Committee publishes a notice: eight out of the university’s 27 faculties have set up branch committees, and the preparatory committee has conducted re-elections, with Kong Qingdong (孔庆东), Wang Chiying (王池英), Feng Congde (封从德), Wang Dan (王丹), and Shen Tong (沈彤) as new members. “The new preparatory committee will have decision-making authority, and temporarily take the lead of the students union.”

The Beijing University students union has established contact with more than 32 other colleges and universities in Beijing. Chairman Zhou Yongjun says that three demands have been issued to the government:

  • official dialog with the state council, based on delegations (or representation)
  • a public apology for the Xinhua Gate incident and punishment for the perpetrators
  • truthful domestic media coverage about the students movement.

At nine in the morning, at his home, Deng Xiaoping listens to Li Peng’s, Yang Shangkun’s, Qiao Shi’s, Hu Qili’s, Yao Yilin’s, Li Ximing’s, Chen Xitong’s and others’ reports. The meeting ends before 11 a.m.. After the meeting, Yang Shangkun stays with Deng for discussions.

Deng agrees with the politburo standing committee’s and the broader politbureau meetings’ decisions, and requires the central committee and the state council to establish two teams – one to focus on dealing with the unrest, and one to get hold of the routine work. Deng says that before, the talk had been about managing the economic environment, but now, there was a need to manage the political environment.

Deng believes the students movement isn’t a normal agitation (or strike), but a political unrest. Attention needs to be paid to avoiding bloodspills, but it will be hard to avoid it completely. In the end, it could be necessary to arrest a batch of people. The “People’s Daily”, in accordance with the spirit of what Deng said, writes in its editorial on April 261) that “we must oppose the unrest with a clear and distinct stand” (more literally: under a bright banner).

On Li Peng’s proposal, Zeng Jianhui (曾建徽) drafts the editorial, and after authorization by Hu Qili and Li Peng, it is decided that the editorial shall be aired this evening at 7 p.m., by Central People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS) and on CCTV’s main newscast Xinwen Lianbo.

Delegations from all colleges and universities in Beijing discuss the prospects of the students movement at the Autonomous Federation’s meeting, held at the University of Political Science and Law, at 7 p.m.., and determining a draft for a national people’s program. At the time of the meeting, the April-26 editorial is aired, on which countermeasures are discussed. The editorial leads to a tense atmosphere, and one student leader says that the danger is understood, and that the work to defend the dormitories needs to be strengthened.

At about 18:45, some three- to four thousand students of the People’s University (Renmin University) arrive at the China Youth University for Political Sciences, at Beifang Jiaotong University, at the Academy of Nationalities  (i. e. national minorities, 中央民族学院 – frequently referred to as the Minzu University of China), and the Beijing Foreign Studies University (actually: foreign-languages university, formerly an academy, 北京外语学院, now 北京外国语大学) to support the strikes, and also to strongly oppose the April-26 editorial. 21:40, the protesters leave the China Youth University for Political Sciences, originally planning to go to Beijing Normal University, but they are intercepted by nearly 800 police. At 21:02, more two thousand students from the People’s (Renmin) University, the Minzu University of China, and other universities are protesting around the universities, oppose the April-26 editorial, saying that the editorial confuses right and wrong (颠倒是非) and that “action must continue”. Some students are shouting a slogan: “Oppose repressions against the student movement”.

At 23:00, the Capital Autonomous Federation of University Students (北高联) issues a notice: “On April 27, the entire city will demonstrate unitedly and converge on Tian An Men Square”, to oppose the April-26 editorial.

At 23:00, the Beijing University (Students) Preparatory Committee (北大筹委会 / 北大学生筹委会) holds a press conference at the Beijing University No. 1 Teaching Building (北京大学第一教学楼), and Kong Qingdong, who is hosting the conference, announces that “the Beijing University Preparatory Committee is neither anti-party nor anti-constitutional; it is here to promote the progress of democracy [or democratization].” He also spells out three conditions for the students’ return to the classrooms:

  1. dialog with the government
  2. an accurate explanation of the 4-20 incident [see here, Wang Zhiyong] and
  3. a press law.

In a brief meeting at 15:00, Li Peng convenes a brief meeting of the standing committee of the politbureau and communicates Deng Xiaoping’s remarks. Yang Shangkun attends as a non-voting participant. The standing committee believes that Deng Xiaoping’s remarks are absolutely important and should be communicated to the lower ranks right away. It is decided that first, it shall be passed on  within the “system of the big three” (三大系统) – to the central committee, to the state council, and to all cadres above vice-ministerial level in the Beijing municipal government, including the transcript of Deng’s remarks today, and the standing committee’s records from the meeting in the evening on April 24.

Wen Jiabao’s instructions to the General Office of the CCP  to communicate the standing committee’s records from the meeting in the evening on April 24, and to promptly arrange Deng Xiaoping’s remarks, are the foundation of communications. Toward the evening, Wen gives Li Peng a phonecall asking for instructions if some sensitive issues in Deng Xiaoping’s remarks should be kept out of the communication at first. To reduce possible vulnerabilities and to get as many points to ralley the comrades around, Li Peng agrees.

The quantity of propaganda material explaining “the situation in Beijing” is growing. At Fudan University, Tongji University, Jiaotong University, and many other universities and colleges, wall newspapers, photos or leaflets emerge, mainly about “the real story of the 4-20 incident” and “the whole story about the 4-21 demonstrations” , and “100,000 students’ peaceful petition” etc..

The rate of students who show up for classes is diminuishing in Tianjin’s major universities, and about one third of students are on strike. There are calls for supporting the students in Beijing. Eighty-seven young teachers at Nankai University put up slogans: “Support the Students’ Strike!”

In the afternoon, the “Jilin Declaration” from Jilin University emerges, with the full wording: “The fate of our nation is the responsibility of everyone. Beijing University has arisen, so has Nankai University, all students are pleading in the name of the people – how can the people of Jilin University stand by and watch? Arise, people of Jilin University. Political corruption, maldistribution, economic chaos, outmoded education and the nation in peril, when will be the time!

Wall newspapers in some universities in Xi’an, Changsha and other places also refute the “People’s Daily” editorial, calling it “a pack of lies”, as the students’ actions were not a political struggle, but a demand for democracy. Some Xi’an students distribute mimeographed leaflets, calling for a demonstration on Xincheng Square on Sunday.

At the Central South University of Technology (中南工业大学) in Changsha, Hunan Province, the chairpeople of seven faculties who prepared a meeting at 21:00 to adopt measures and to support the students of Beijing to escalate the situation, are stopped by the university’s related departments.

The traffic regulations that had been in effect since the 4-22 riots at Xincheng Square, the center of the riots, were lifted at 00:00 today. Large numbers of armed police are leaving the square, but some police are guarding the entrances of the provincial government. The authorities have also ordered a batch of helmeted troops from the people’s Liberation Army 49 Army from their base, twenty kilometers outside Xi’an, into the square.

According to a “People’s Daily” report, 98 people were arrested in the riots of Changsha in the evening on April 22, among them 32 workers, peasants who work in Changsha as migrant workers, six six self-employed/small-business owners (getihu), 28 socially idle people2), six students (five of them middle school students and one of them a secondary specialized or technical school student).

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Notes

1) In a partial chronology of 20th century China, Tian’anmen Square TV provides a translation of the April-26 editorial.
2) A stronger translation would be riff-raff.

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To be continued

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Weeks before June 4: Struggling for the Ideological Switch Stands

[Cont. April 23, 1911

Main Link: 1989 年 4 月 24 日 星期日

Li Tieying and Li Ximing both agree with Li Peng that strict measures should be taken against the students’ movement. At 8.30 in the evening, Li Peng goes to see Yang Shangkun to analyse the situation. Yang also sees a changing trend and encourages Li Peng to see Deng Xiaoping. Li Peng asks Yang to join him in a visit to Deng, and Yang agrees. During the evening, as Li Peng reads many papers and adds  comments to them, and a flow of public-security bureau, security, education commission staff etc, concerning trends among the students in all places keeps coming in, by phone and cable.

Science and Technology Daily‘s entering into the forbidden area of coverage receives a great echo, and from the morning on, people call this paper to tell the staff that they had written in fair words. However, vice chief editor Sun Changjiang says that they haven’t done something special, and just acted in accordance with professional ethics, in their effort to carry out their duty as the media. Their [Science and Technology Daily] coverage hadn’t been particularly good; rather, he believes, that of some other papers has been particularly bad. The event is authentic, and their attitude is sincere.

Monday, April 24, 1989

Main Link: 1989 年 4 月 24 日 星期一 (same document)

In the morning, sixty-thousand students from some 38 colleges and universities such as Beijing University, Tsinghua University, People’s University (Renmin University) begin a strike. Some students gather within the universities, conduct sit-ins, demonstrations, put up posters, and others shout slogans like “join the strike quickly”, “no end to the strike without reaching our goals”, and “walk out on lessons and exams, not on learning”.

Some students give lectures on societal issues, put up propaganda sheets, propagate “April 20 massacre”, “crying-and-begging to the non-understanding government” information, and still others take to the streets and lanes, for fund-raising and to call on “all the city’s citizens to become active in strikes”. Students from Beijing University, Tsinghua University and People’s University maintain order, and dissuade students from taking part in lessons. Some university party secretaries point out in reports to the next-upper party level that the current situation, if it lasts, will be absolutely harmful, and that one has to fear that this could take still larger dimensions as May 4 is approaching. They express their hopes that the central committee and the municipal committee issue clear guidelines, policies and instructions to end the strikes as soon as possible.

At 14:40, student committees at Beijing University and other universities hold meetings at the May-4 squares on their campuses, with some eighty percent of students attending. They prepare activities to boycott official May-4 activities and to establish autonomous students unions in Beijing and students unions of national unity all over the country. Some papers report that student delegates from Nankai University,  Nanjing University, Fudan University, Guangzhou University and other universities are also attending. Nearly two-hundred students with red armbands are maintaining order. As several members of students committees publicly push and pull each other on stage in a quarrel twice, more than six-thousand students at the meeting are abuzz. The meeting ends at 16:00 in discord, without having made any decisions. Dozens of foreign reporters have been present and recorded the event. A press conference by the preparatory committee, scheduled for 7 p.m., is subsequently cancelled.

Beijing University posts the “Recommendations to the Preparatory Committee, signed by people from Beijing University” poster, suggesting to redraw the slogans and action principles in order to get public support. The slogans should oppose corruption and bureaucracy, actions should be carried out downtown, at broad daylight, so as to broaden their influence, unified action would be needed between the universities and colleges, preparations be made for a long-term struggle, and extensive contacts be built with people from intellectual and democratic circles.

There is also another poster, under the headline “five points”, about “guaranteeing basic human rights, releasing political criminals, opposing party supremacy, checks and balances by separation of the three powers, defining a democratic constitution” and other political positions.

More than twohundred Beijing University teachers jointly call for maintaining the principles of the thirteen universities to consult the students and to have a dialog with them. A similar call comes from the China University of Political Science and Law [Wu Renhua‘s university]. The Beijing Students Autonomous Federation (aka Capital Autonomous Federation of University Students) calls on every student to send ten letters to compatriots all over the country. Between two- and threehundred students are to be dispatched to fifteen large cities all over the nation, such as Tianjin, Jinan, Shenyang, Changsha, Chengdu, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, Taiyuan, Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan  to deliver speeches and to make contacts.

A peaceful petition meeting at Tsinghua University started a peaceful demonstration within the campus, at eight in the morning, with about ten thousand students participating. It’s an orderly demonstration with a length reaching two kilometers.

The Tsinghua University Students Council puts forward four principles concerning the students’ strike:

  1. to maintain the reasonable struggle and the peaceful petition
  2. to maintain unity and the power of all that can be united
  3. to adhere to the strike on lessons, not on learning
  4. to make sure that cool heads prevail among the younger students.

Educational departments from all over the country give their reactions to the State Education Commission, expressing their hope that the situation at Beijing’s universities and colleges can be stabilized soon, as it would otherwise be difficult to control the situation at universities outside the capital.

In the evening, Ren Wanding, who was responsible for the “Human Rights Alliance” time of the Xidan Democracy Wall, speaks on Tian An Men Square. He says: “the people are destitute, robbers arise from everywhere, prices are soaring, and the national economy is in crisis. If the four cardinal principles don’t vanish from the constitution, they will keep hanging over the people’s interests.”

Ren Wanding has also been to the universities of Beijing to speak there, but without much response, as the students didn’t understand him, and because they felt that his views were radical. When Chen Xiaoping and I watched him speaking in front of the dormitory of the University of Political Science and Law, there was only a sparse audience. Both Chen and I felt saddened.

In the afternoon, Li Ximing and Chen Xitong report to National People’s Congress chairman Wan Li. Wan Li was Beijing’s vice mayor prior to the cultural revolution. He suggests that the politburo’s standing committee should analyse the situation in the evening, chaired by Li Peng.

[According to this account by Wu Renhua, this meeting was held on the evening of April 24. This source seems to suggest that this happened on April 23.]

The standing committee, chaired by Li Peng, believes that a variety of events are indicating that under the control and instigation of very few people,  a planned, organized anti-party, anti-socialist political struggle is arranged before their eyes. The decision is made to form a group tasked with stopping the unrest, and requires Beijing’s party and government to stabilize the situation quickly, by winning over the majority of the masses and by isolating the minority, and by calming down the unrest. Standing committe member Li Peng, Qiao Shi, Hu Qili, Yao Yilin, as well as  – with no voting rights – Yang Shangkun, Wan Li, central party secretary Rui Xingwen, Yan Mingfu, Wen Jiabao, (not standing) politburo members Tian Jiyun, Li Ximing, Song Ping, Ding Guangen as well as people in charge at the relevant departments are attending the meeting.

In the evening, Li Peng receives a phonecall from Deng Xiaoping‘s secretary Wang Ruilin, inviting Li Peng and Yang Shangkun to his home at ten a.m. next day for discussions.

The World Economic Herald, a weekly from Shanghai, normally scheduled to appear today, has six blocks of content from a memorial forum held in cooperation with the New Observer magazine (新观察) on April 19. The 25 participants spoke highly of Hu Yaobang’s humanness, as a person of democratic open-mindedness [or liberalism – 民主开明], and of deep humanity. Science and Technology Daily vice chief editor Sun Changjiang [see above, entering into the forbidden area of coverage], Guangming Daily‘s reporter Dai Qing, and Yan Jiaqi of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences political science institute state more clearly that Hu Yaobang was forced to resign, and that he died while being treated unfairly. 300,000 copies of the World Economic Herald were printed by Saturday, some of it already at the post offices, while the remainder is stored at the printing house. But when Shanghai’s municipal party committee is informed about some of the content, it orders the postal offices to stop the dispatch of the papers, and seals the remaining copies in the printing house off. In the afternoon, the CCP municipal committee has a meeting with World Economic Herald chief editor Qin Benli in the afternoon, telling him that what is said in the account of the forum is correct, but that, as May 4 comes nearer, they fear that this could stirr the students’ emotions, add to the pressure on the government, and express their hope that the more sensitive content will be removed. The World Economic Herald does not agree with the cuts and revisions.

At the time, the World Economic Review’s Beijing office is the meeting point for democratic and liberal personalities. The office director Zhang Weiguo has strong campaigning skills and is broadly connected. Because of having led the [memorial] forum and for other reasons, he will be arrested after the June-4 crackdown.

To be continued
Continued here »

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Weeks before June 4, 1989

May 4 is now behind us – the day when official China remembers how the young stood up for a better and stronger nation. June 4 is ahead – the 24th anniversary of the Tian An Men massacre. I will try to continue a rough translation of an account by Wu Renhua, a former China University of Political Science and Law professor, who tweeted his account in 2011.

Translations so far – dates to the right refer to the day of translation, and not to the day in history:

The Weeks before June 4, 1989 April 17, 2012
The Weeks before June 4: Wu Renhua’s Introduction April 18, 2012
The Weeks before June 4 – a Desire to do Better than in 1987 April 19, 2012
The Weeks before June 4 – Towards the Sun April 26, 2012
The Weeks before June 4 – a Trip to North Korea April 28, 2012
The Weeks before June 4 – Asserting Authority April 29, 2012
The Weeks before June 4 – Hu Yaobang’s Funeral April 30, 2012
The Weeks before June 4 – Role Allocations May 5, 2012

I started translating Wu’s story in 2012. I didn’t manage translating all of Wu’s account (not even close), and I won’t achieve a complete translation this time either. But I’ll deliver some more instalments this year, and maybe another batch in 2014.

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Related

» Xi: Open the Skies for the Young, May 5, 2013

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Continued here »

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – Role Allocations

« An explanation of this 1989 series

» Previous post in this series

I won’t be able to describe Wu Renhua‘s entire document on the 1989 movement, at least not during this spring. I never planned to achieve such an ambitious goal anyway, but in the process of reading and roughly regiving the document’s content, I do feel some regret that I don’t have as much time for this as I would like to have. It might be a different story if I was more familiar with the weeks when a civil society in Beijing seemed to develop, and all the people and organizations involved. But in fact, the series on this blog is a process of making myself more familiar with the weeks prior to what we often narrow down to that one bloody night in June, 1989.

Wu’s document is a who-is-who, and a collection of locations in Beijing. Rather than trying to go through every day recorded in his tweeted today-in-history collection, I’m adding to a project, as suggested by C. A. Yeung a few weeks ago.

This also means that I may be dwelling on events in early May 1989 even in a few weeks, when the actual day in the year 2012 will be June 4. And in that case, I will simply continue this series with the events in May 1989, as described by Wu, in another batch of posts next year.

But at least every few days, I will keep adding posts to this series, until June.

We must restitute to past generations what they once possessed, just as every present tense is in its possession: the abundance of a possible future, the uncertainty, the freedom, the finiteness, the inconsistency (…), Thomas Nipperdey, a German historian, once wrote.

That’s what commemoration is probably about. Before the bloodbath and the great dispair, there had been weeks of frustration, hope, and self-determination. If history came out of the gun barrels (as certain people appear to suggest), there would be nothing to read, nothing to remember, and nothing to expect.

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

Sunday, April 23, 1989

In the morning, Zhao Ziyang meets with Hu Qili and Rui Xingwen, and emphasizes his three opinions on how to handle the students’ protests, and that “the news-related public opinion must be in accordance with the guiding principle of correct reporting”. In the afternoon, he leaves for North Korea by special train, as scheduled. Li Peng, Qiao Shi, and Tian Jiyun, see him off at Beijing Train Station. At about 14 h, the People’s University Doctoral Candidates’ Declaration emerges. It states full support for the Seven Demands, and all patriotic movements from all students and people of all walks of life in society; calls a complete student (and doctorate candidates’) strike; demands the resignation of the collective leadership’s and collective mistaken decision-makers’ collective resignations [or be obliged to resign] (Li-Peng language), later referred to as “collective responsibility” (Li-Peng language); strongly demands all cadres in the party, government and army who are older than 75 to resign; to oppose violence, to protect human rights, and the military forces should not take part and interfere in state affairs; CCP activities should not be paoid for by the state; and censorship to be removed, press freedom be established, and private press, radio and television be allowed; anti-corruption commissions be established, corruption on all party levels be investigated and removed, and business activities of cadres’ relatives be examined, and the results be reported to the public. Science and Technology Daily, under deputy chief editor Sun Changjiang (孙长江), is the first press publication to break into the censored field of covering the movement’s activities, which is commended by the students and from all walks of life. A number of young professors at the University of Science and Technology Beijing (北京科技大学) and other universities announce a strike; some university posters call for a general university strike or for “we won’t attend class unless we achieve our goals”, and some call for a nation-wide general strike. Between ten a.m. and around eight p.m. or after, students at Beijing University and Tsinghua University unsuccessfully try to take control of their respective universities’ broadcasting stations. Shen Tong (沈彤)1) takes a different approach – he runs a broadcasting system of his own from his dormitory, near the San Jiao Di (explanation for San Jiao Di here, underneath the list of the seven demands). Liu Gang (刘刚) is an organizer of a Universities’ Interim Committee (高校临时委员会), to be renamed Independent (or autonomous) Federation of Students from Universities in Beijing (北京市高等院校学生自治联合会), at which delegates of a number of Beijing Universities – if not all universities – are to participate. In the afternoon, Liu and Dai Zizhong (龚自忠) sees Wu Renhua at Wu’s place at the University of Political Science and Law. Wu hasn’t known them personally before. Liu asks Wu to attend the students’ assembly scheduled for that evening, at Yuanmingyuan or Yuanming Park2). Wu Renhua declines, because participation in the Yuanmingyuan assembly or meeting wouldn’t correspond with his role as a professor. If he played such a role, this would also provide a handle for the authorities. Liu Gang, in search for a candidate to chair the conference, approaches Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) [the student who hit his own head with his megaphone, during Guo Haifeng’s, Zhang Zhiyong’s and Zhou Yongjun’s kneeling petition at the entrance of the Great Hall of the People a day earlier], but Pu doesn’t believe that he has the abilities it takes to become chairman. Probably more crucially, he points out that his parents by adoption, who live in a rural area, are relatively old people who depend on him3).

The Yuanmingyuan conference meets in the evening, with delegates from Beiing’s twenty-one university. Each university dispatches ten delegates. Zhou Yongjun (周勇军),  of the University of Political Science and Law, and one of the three kneeling petitioners on the previous day, is elected chairman. Wang Dan, Wu’er Kaixi, Ma Shaofang, and Zang Kai (臧凯) become standing-commission members.

According to what are believed to be Li Peng’s diaries, the CCP Politbureau Standing Committee holds a meeting at eleven a.m.. Li Tieying, in his capactiy as national education commission’s director, calls Li Peng to inform him that the mood at all universities in Beijing is very emotional, that student strikes are brewing, and that he hopes that Zhao listens to / reads the reports. Beijing Municipal Party secretary Li Ximing calls Zhao Ziyang on the phone and asks him to put his trip to North Korea off. Zhao tells the national education commission’s director Li Tieying see this post, footnote 3 that he had already authorized Li Peng to chair the standing commission’s work and to report to him.

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Notes

1) According to this online story, Shen was extremely lucky after the Tian An Men crackdown:

Fortunately for Shen, he had already been accepted to Brandeis University and had been issued a passport to study in the U.S. Six days after Tiananmen he went undisguised to the airport and boarded a flight for the United States though the state security police had put him on their most wanted list. Some have taken this as a sign that even many in China’s military had secretly been in sympathy with the democracy movement.

2) Yuanmingyuan or Yuanming Park (the Gardens of Perfect Brightness, 圆明园) belongs to Beijing’s Haidian District. It is also referred to as the Old Summer Palace. The actual palace was destroyed in the Second Opium War.

3) Wu Renhua writes in his document that he doesn’t remember having warned Pu Zhiqiang against chairing the Yuanming Park meeting in principle, but he does remember that he did warn Pu to mind his safety, for the sake of his adoptive parents.

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Related

» April 23, 1989, Under the Jacaranda, April 23, 2012

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Continued here »

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Weeks before June 4 – Hu Yaobang’s Funeral

« An explanation of this 1989 series

» Previous post in this series

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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 »

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Notes

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

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Related

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

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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.

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