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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Remembering Tiananmen

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, in which several hundred civilians were killed by the Chinese military. Perhaps as many as 2,000 people were killed. The BBC's summary:

Tanks rumbled through the capital's streets late on 3 June as the army moved into the square from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters. ...

Demonstrators, mainly students, had occupied the square for seven weeks, refusing to move until their demands for democratic reform were met. ...

Early [the next] morning at least 30 more were killed in two volleys of gunfire, which came without warning. Terrified crowds fled, leaving bodies in the road.

Meanwhile reports have emerged of troops searching the main Peking university campus for ringleaders, beating and killing those they suspect of co-ordinating the protests. ...

Troops were used to clear the square despite repeated assurances from Chinese politicians that there would be no violence. ...

Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of people were killed in the massacre, although it is unlikely a precise number will ever be known.

I recall many naively believing that the Chinese government (or military) wouldn't kill civilians. Here are a few New York Times headlines from that time.

Note WILLIAM SAFIRE, May 22, 1989: The Counter-Revolution: "The Chinese people, led by young idealists, have amazed themselves and thrilled the world by crying out for freedom in a great non-violent chorus; now Communist tyranny will try to demonstrate who is in charge."

Update, 6/5: A video memorial, "Not Settled," but not for the feint of heart. (HT: Instapundit.)


(Please keep in mind that each commenter's opinions are only his/her own.)

I'd like to offer couple references in addition to PBS Frontline's "The Tank Man", where it reported the fact students were allowed to leave peacefully once the troops arrived, and Chinese government did investigate this, and release casualty figure of 240 some dead (incidentally in-line with our own NSA intel estimate.)

An article by Gregory Clark on pack journalism:


"the so-called massacre was in fact a mini civil war as irate Beijing citizens sought to stop initially unarmed soldiers sent to remove students who had been demonstrating freely in the square for weeks. When the soldiers finally reached the square there was no massacre."

An article by Columbia Journal Review on passive journalism:


"as far as can be determined from the available evidence, no one died that night in Tiananmen Square.
Hundreds of people, most of them workers and passersby, did die that night, but in a different place and under different circumstances."

[Just for reference, throwing molotov cocktail at riot police is a crime in US.]

If Gregory Clark isn't on the Chinese payroll, he's getting ripped off.

If you're not on the Chinese payroll, you're getting ripped off.

Gregory Clark's article is blatantly factually wrong.

In the other article you cited: "what took place was the slaughter not of students but of ordinary workers and residents — precisely the target that the Chinese government had intended."; [The Chinese government is] "the bloody-minded regime responsible for the June 4 murders..."; "There was a massacre that morning."

Though it was a deliberate massacre stemming directly from the Tianenmen Square protests, the murders didn't take place in the square. You're trying to use that technicality to cover for Chinese mass-murder is sick.

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