17. Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 (六四事件)

Master issue with reuploads of everything: https://github.com/cirosantilli/china-dictatorship/issues/225

Good photo selections:

AP footage is pretty good, just do a search on the archive:

Soldiers who spoke up:

Other interesting links:


Oppose violence!

Guarantee human rights!

Patriotism is not a crime!

Brutality is shameful!

Freedom of speech!

Abolish censorship!

Yaobang lives on!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4TZ0lB3GQM Students shouting Oppose violence! and other slogans at Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 (六四事件) on 1989-04-22. Clip from The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995, 天安门纪录片) at around 42:48.
Tiananmen sea
Figure 181. Sea of protesters (广场人潮涌) in Tiananmen Square on 1989-05-04. No, not even that many people can influence dictatorships if they don’t have weapons. Source.
Pu Zhiqiang tshirt
Figure 182. Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) was student demonstrator during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. His shirt reads: "Freedom of the press, freedom of association, support the 'World Economic Herald (世界经济导报)', and support just journalists." (辦報自由 結社自由 聲援世经导报 支持正义记者, fully quoted here) Date: 1989-05-10. Pu remained in China as a human rights layer, and was arrested in 2014 for attending a private meeting commemorating the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen. Source.
Tiananmen students sitting
Figure 183. Students from Beijing University stage a huge demonstration in Tiananmen Square as they start an unlimited hunger strike as the part of mass pro-democracy protest against the Chinese government. Photo taken on 1989-05-18 by Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images. Source.
Tiananmen cute girls
Figure 184. Who said there weren’t some cute girls amongst the protesters? Photo taken on 1989-05-19 by AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami. Source.
Tiananmen troop truck night
Figure 185. Happy protesters surround People’s Liberation Army (PLA, 中国人民解放军, 解放军, People’s Oppression Army, 镇压军) convoy of 4,000 not so happy soldiers on 1989-05-20. Ciro can’t help but to think the politically incorrect idea that the military look considerably younger and poorer/less uneducated than the Beijing masses. Source.

男子: 解放军官兵们,我请求你们,我作为一个学生代表请求你们:拿出你们的正义和勇气,作一个人民的军队、人民的子弟兵,而不要为一小撮人所左右,作一小撮人的狗腿,作中华民族的罪人!
Man: PLA officers and soldiers, I beg you, and as a student representative, I beg you: show your justice and courage, and be a people’s army and soldiers of the people’s sons and brothers [the students protesting], instead of being dominated by a small group of people, being the henchman of a small group, becoming criminals of the Chinese nation!

妇女: 你们知道吗?!我们在做什么你们知道吗?!解放军兄弟,你们是保护人民、保护学生的,你们不能来镇压他们,你们不能这样,不能这样!
Woman: Do you know?! What are we doing you know?! Brothers in the People’s Liberation Army, you protect the people and students, you can’t come to suppress them, you can’t do this, you can’t do this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVpcyfHc34Q Tiananmen hedgehog protester, footage present in The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995, 天安门纪录片) at around 1:55:58. The guy smiling at the left on the back looks exactly like some compical peasant character, or maybe a tavern keeper, from a Chinese historical drama, it is uncanny.
Tiananmen sculpt goddess
Figure 186. A student from an art institute plasters the neck of the "Goddess of Democracy" (民主女神) statue on 1989-05-30. Replicas have of course been erected elsewhere, and when the CCP falls one day, this will be rebuilt, obviously. Source.
Tiananmen old lady
Figure 187. An old lady tells those rowdy overpriviledged students that they were complaining for no reason, and that in the good old Mao days you would be lucky to get any food at all, and that they should just go the fuck home on 1989-05-31 (Ciro might or might not have made up the exact content of the conversation). Source.
Tiananmen girl strife
Figure 188. A young woman is caught between civilians and Chinese soldiers, who were trying to remove her from an assembly near the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on 1989-06-03. AP Photo/Jeff Widener. Source.
Tiananmen announce soldiers
Figure 189. A dissident student asks masses of sitting soldiers to go back home on 1989-06-03. Great shot composition by AP Photo/Jeff Widener. Source.
Li at Tiananmen Eyebeams
Figure 190. Godzilla Li Peng (李鹏, 1988-1998) crushing the Tiananmen Square protests with his green eye laser beams. Source.
Tiananmen helmet
Figure 191. Protester covered in blood while holding an army helmet on 1989-06-04. There is also footage of that moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=63&v=lXJ6gHFME0w which explains that the man claims his face was cut by a soldier by using the edge of the helmet. This other photo: https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2019-06/4/12/asset/buzzfeed-prod-web-02/sub-buzz-29641-1559664105-1.jpg?downsize=1600:*&output-format=auto&output-quality=auto shows the cut on his head better. There is also footage of the man shown at The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995, 天安门纪录片) 2:27:11. Source.

This is the blood of a classmate, I am not hurt. When I was carrying my classmate, the back of the classmate’s neck was full of hot blood, and I couldn’t stop it. I didn’t stop it with two towels. There was blood in his mouth and blood all over his face.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YkqygAo1jc "This is the blood of a classmate", woman talks in interview on the ealry morning of 1989-06-04. From The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995, 天安门纪录片) at 2:28:41.
Tiananmen Shuili Hospital dead
Figure 192. Bodies with gun wounds at the mortuary at Shuili Hospital (水利医院太平间, Hospital of the Ministry of Water Resources of China, Google maps, Baidu, New York Times Chinese report), about 8km West of Tiananmen Square. Source.
Tiananmen message board cleanup
Figure 193. The morning after the military crackdown of the pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, workers clean their posters from bulletin boards. Resume Censorship (审查) as usual. Some related footage present at The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995, 天安门纪录片) part 2 at around 1:06:04 of part 2. Source.
Tiananmen bicycle bridge
Figure 194. A Chinese couple on a bicycle take cover beneath an underpass as tanks deploy overhead in eastern Beijing on 1989-06-05 by AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing. This photo one is almost poetic. https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2021/06/04/2003758586 contains another wider picture of the same bridge at a different time. Source.
Tiananmen crying mother
Figure 195. Family members try to comfort a mother who has just learned of her son’s death after he was killed by soldiers at Tiananmen Square, June 4. TODO what’s her name? An association Tiananmen Mothers (天安门母亲运动) was created after the events. Getty source. Source.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU-RuR-qO4Y Democracy by Leonard Cohen (1992). In this interesting song, the Canadian singer suggests that after events such as the fall of the Soviet Union and Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 (六四事件), greater freedom and democracy would actually first come to the USA, and not to those other countries, the refrain says: "Democracy is coming to the USA" and at one point "It’s coming to America first". This is probably because when there is such an adversarial situation such as the cold war, it tends to also make democracies more like dictatorships, as they become readier and readier for war, and thus weakening civil rights, see e.g. McCarthyism. Related: The CCP exaggerates the threat of the West to keep in power (中共夸大了西方要继续掌权的威胁). The song also criticizes several failures of American democracy, such as social injustice and inequality, suggesting that the newer more peaceful world would help solve them. This is a refreshing take on democracy that has gives it a less religious view.