On June 4, 1989, armed forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) violently suppressed peaceful demonstrations in and around Tiananmen Square, in Beijing. Similar actions occurred in other locales across China, but media coverage–and eyewitness testimony by survivors–was focused on Tiananmen. My personal memories of the time are partly those of coverage on TV, the reactions of my numerous Chinese friends and acquaintances, and the resultant actions of those of us then active in the China democracy movement. There were demonstrations in Seattle, where I lived, and meetings where the actions of the PRC government were denounced. Where possible, those of us who could helped shield protesting Chinese students from retribution by their government; several of my friends elected to stay in the US for this reason, though it had not been their intention when they first came over to attend the University of Washington.
When the tanks were sent to the vicinity of Tiananmen to assault and crush those assembled around barricades made of piled-up furniture, the multitude there sang “The Internationale,” the worldwide anthem of communists and socialists everywhere. The irony could not have been greater. In the name of the people, the people were slaughtered. “Lao baixing zai Tiananmen, wansui!” May old hundred names (the common people) live 10,000 years!
Henry Kissinger said at the time that any other government on the planet would have done as the Chinese government did in the situation it faced. It is well to recall that this same Henry Kissinger is the man who enabled Richard Nixon to prolong the Vietnam war for political advantage, and also famously remarked of the need to rescue the Chilean people from themselves, as they’d elected a socialist to head their government. Kissinger was very active in “rescuing” the Chileans, as the CIA subsequently engineered Allende’s overthrow and installed the fascist rule of torture-and-murder by Augusto Pinochet.
There is nothing socialist about the Big Brother government that runs the Chinese mainland; the wealthy Red Princes and their ilk who oversee their kleptocratic enterprise bear the same resemblance to socialism that the Mafia does to social work. The unequalled surveillance of its citizenry, massive suppression of Muslims, and routine jailing of not only political dissidents but their lawyers, as well–these are not the hallmarks of any socialism that bears resemblance to the historic struggle of working people for self-emancipation and -rule; it is closer to being a perfect negative image, insofar as the totalitarian vision of Xi and his henchmen allows for no autonomy or dissent at all. There is no ownership, control, and self-administration of the means of production by working people. It is not easy to get reliable and timely information about labor struggles, as the government–like the 1% everywhere–desires control of all information, especially that not conducive to its own rule and the steady flow of profits into its collective hands.
I recommend this assemblage of videos, articles, and interviews, many of them written by journalists who risk a great deal, considering the mainland government of China has been pushing to make dissent not only a crime, but to have “criminals” of this type moved to prisons on the Chinese mainland, where draconian abuse is routine.
In China as elsewhere, the struggle for human emancipation continues.
About the title of this blog post: It translates as “May China’s freedom live 10,000 years!”