China: Tian’anmen Square decorated for National Day celebrations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘SHINE’ NEWS OF SHANGHAI CHINA)

 

Tian’anmen Square decorated for National Day celebrations

SHINE

70 Years On

Tian’anmen Square at the heart of Beijing has been decorated to echo festivities of the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, which falls on Tuesday.

Red ribbon-shaped sculptures have been installed on the square to signify the lineage of China’s revolutionary past, present and future. A colossal portrait of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), a forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution, has also been erected on the square.

On the front of the Tian’anmen Rostrum is a giant color portrait of late Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of New China.

Huge red lanterns were hung atop the newly-refurbished rostrum, flunk by red flags flying above the stands on both sides.

70 Years On

Pompeo slammed China for covering up the Tiananmen Square massacre. And China is pissed.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX.COM)
(HONESTY PISSES OFF CHINA’S GOVERNMENT AND THEIR MAOIST PRESIDENT XI JINPING)(oped: oldpoet56)

Pompeo slammed China for covering up the Tiananmen Square massacre. And China is pissed.

It’s the latest indicator of the Trump administration’s strong stance against China.

A soldier stands in Tiananmen Square in front of the Great Hall of the People before the opening of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 5, 2019, in Beijing.
 Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images

A scathing statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about one of the most controversial moments in modern Chinese history has led to a shocking series of rebukes from Beijing.

The escalation, in which Chinese officials have called Pompeo’s comments “babbling nonsense,” shows how sensitive the protests at Tiananmen Square remain even three decades later — and how the US purposely aims to provoke China.

In April 1989, roughly 1 million pro-democracy advocates gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in the heart of the sprawling capital city. For six weeks, they pushed the communist regime to open the nation’s political system in hopes that it would move away from decades of authoritarian leadership.

That didn’t happen. Instead, Chinese troops entered the square in the early morning of June 4and throughout the day opened fire on the protesters. Beijing has never released an official death toll, though estimates from human rights groups and foreign organizations put it anywhere from a few hundred to about 10,000.

The symbolism of Tiananmen Square — where the Communist Party brutally gunned down citizens pleading for democracy — remains deeply sensitive and threatening to the Chinese regime.

The Communist Party still runs the country and, despite making some economic and political reforms, views the events surrounding the massacre as a threat to its power. It’s spent the years since mostly denying that the events at Tiananmen ever took place.

Which is why Pompeo’s statement on June 3 — timed for 12:01 am on June 4 in Beijing, the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square slaughter — was such a big deal.

In stark terms, he took the regime to task for suppressing the history of the event, imprisoning pro-democracy citizens, surveilling its 1.4 billion people, and continuing to deny human rights to millions in the country. While those comments reflected similar statements by his predecessors, the real dagger came when he added that the US had lost its patience with China.

“The United States hoped that China’s integration into the international system would lead to a more open, tolerant society. Those hopes have been dashed,” Pompeo said. “China’s one-party state tolerates no dissent and abuses human rights whenever it serves its interests.”

He continued: The US “urge[s] the Chinese government to make a full, public accounting of those killed or missing to give comfort to the many victims of this dark chapter of history.”

In other words, Pompeo said China not only had to come to terms with what happened in the square but also had to change pretty much everything about its repressive governing style.

Beijing, unsurprisingly, disliked Pompeo’s comments and made two separate statements fully denouncing him.

spokesperson for China’s embassy in the US said on June 4 that the secretary’s remarks came “out of prejudice and arrogance. … The Chinese government and people reached the verdict on the political incident of the late 1980s long ago.” That same day, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters during a regular Beijing press conference that the secretary’s “lunatic ravings and babbling nonsense will only end up in the trash can of history.”

Slamming Pompeo for his statement isn’t so surprising. Beijing wasn’t going to sit back and allow America’s chief diplomat to make such comments without a response. But two rebukes is significant, showing just how important it is to China that everyone forget the Tiananmen Square massacre and accept the country as it is.

But the episode is also indicative of the mounting tensions between the world’s two most powerful countries — and the brewing cold war that has put the US and China on a collision course.

The Trump administration purposely picked a fight with China

In October, Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech that was eerily reminiscent of how US leaders used to speak about the Soviet Union.

Among other indiscretions, he accused China of influencing the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections, stealing US intellectual property, persecuting religious groups, and aggressively patrolling the South China Sea.

The address amounted to the United States naming and shaming China — specifically pitting America against a powerful country like it did during the Cold War.

“This is the Trump administration’s ‘evil empire’ speech,” Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, told me after Pence finished.

Some have called it the administration’s most important address, and it’s easy to see why: It articulated how the US now sees China as a massive threat that must be either defeated or changed.

That mentality helps explain why President Donald Trump initiated a massive trade war with China that has impacted hundreds of industries and hurt the global economy. It’s why the Pentagon now firmly pushes back on attempts by China to overpower other countries in nearby waters. And it’s why Pompeo is free to make a statement that signals to Beijing that the US wants it to become a lot more democratic — or else.

It’s a radical change from the past. Engagement with China, meaning consistent and significant dialogue on areas of mutual interest, had defined Washington-Beijing relations since the Nixon era. The US wanted China to become a “responsible stakeholder,” a wonderfully wonky Washington term that mostly means it hoped Beijing would abide by global, cooperative rules even as it gained immense power.

But Pompeo’s statement makes crystal clear that the Trump administration has chosen a different route, one that pits the US and China against each other in hopes that Beijing buckles under the pressure. If the Chinese response is any guide, it’s clearly unhappy with the new relationship — meaning the already fragile bonds are at risk of breaking for good.

China: Tiananmen Square Massacre 30 Yrs That Highlights Their Maoist Government

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

 

30 Years After Tiananmen Protests, ‘The Fight Is Still Going On For China’

Protesters wave flags on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in the weeks leading up to the violent crackdowns on June 4. These photos were donated to Humanitarian China by the photographer, Jian Liu, then one of the student protesters.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Zhou Fengsuo was a top university student when the first protests broke out in the heart of the ancient imperial city of Beijing, set off by the death of reformist leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989.

But he threw caution to the wind as students marched to Tiananmen Square before Hu’s funeral. Tens of thousands of students like him from across the country, professors, blue-collar workers and passersby joined in the following months. Often dubbed the “student democracy protests,” those who assembled in Beijing and elsewhere across China didn’t just want democratic reform. Among other things, they demanded labor bargaining for workers, a free press and an end to party corruption.

Students stand face to face with police. Tens of thousands of students from across the country, as well as professors, blue-collar workers and passersby, joined the protests.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

But by May, officials who were sympathetic to the student protesters lost out to factions led by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who ordered that the demonstrations be put down. On the night of June 4, tanks rolled in to the square and began shooting. Violent crackdowns in other Chinese cities followed in the next few days. No authoritative death toll exists, but historians estimate it to be in the hundreds to as high as 10,000.

Over the past three decades, the ruling Communist Party has systematically attempted to erase the memory of Tiananmen through a combination of high- and low-tech methods: extensive online censorship, and brute intimidation of dissidents and victims’ families.

Top: Events planned by the student union of Peking University to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement of 1919. Bottom: A portrait of former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. The first protests broke out in the heart of the ancient imperial city of Beijing, set off by Hu’s death in April 1989.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Survivors of Tiananmen are doing their best to fight this political amnesia.

This month, the images on this page are finally being shared with the public for the first time, according to Zhou. They were donated to Zhou’s advocacy organization, Humanitarian China, by Jian Liu, 50, who took the photos and was one of the student protesters in Tiananmen. He now lives in California.

The photos evoke a path not taken — an alternate reality in which the spontaneous gatherings and freewheeling, open-air political debates captured in them that spring were still possible today.

Instead, several waves of political tightening have only further restricted China’s civil society. Zhou, 51, interviewed here recently before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, is a rare activist who has been both lucky and stubborn enough to continue his work since then. After serving jail time and hard labor in China, he moved to the United States in 1995.

How did you get involved in the 1989 protests?

I was very interested in pushing for democratic change in China, and I was able to organize a free election in 1988 of the student union. Even though it was only for the [physics] department, it demonstrated our desire and ability to self-govern.

Police in motion near Tiananmen Square. There had been a massive police and military presence in the previous weeks, but no armed crackdown on the demonstrators until June 4.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Who took these pictures?

They were taken by Liu Jian, another [former student protester] who now lives in San Francisco. [The photographer has asked NPR to follow the name ordering Jian Liu.] He knew it was a historic picture, so he took pictures from the very beginning, starting with Hu Yaobang’s death. There’s actually a picture of me offering a wreath to Hu Yaobang on April 16.

Tell me a bit about your upbringing. What made you step up as a student leader in 1989?

The contradiction in me was that I was a really good student. I was No. 1 in all subjects. On the other hand, I grew up in a village in the suburbs of Xi’an [the capital city of the northeastern Shaanxi province]. That means I was part of the nongcun[countryside], the peasants. So we were second-class citizens. The desire to make my life better as well as transform society into a better one, a more just society, was an important one. That was there in me from very early on.

Top: Students climbed up to get a better view of Tiananmen Square. Bottom: Professors support hunger strikers.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Was there a moment that changed your life?

April 21. There had been police brutality the day before, the 20th, and the next day, April 22, was the day of Hu Yaobang’s memorial. A lot of students gathered at Tsinghua University on April 21. We were echoing the call to rally at Tiananmen Square for Hu Yaobang’s memorial the next day. There were thousands of us gathered near the crossroads at No. 10 dining hall [on Tsinghua University’s campus]. But there was no one to stand up.

I realized most people were just like me: We want to do something but on the other hand, we are also kind of afraid. We want other people to take the lead. So eventually out of my own duty, I took the lead.

One exhausted hunger striker is helped by others.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

What was the atmosphere at Tiananmen Square like during the protests?

It was very tense in the night because we were expecting police action. It was always rumored they might clear the square. And it was cold. We were hungry. We couldn’t find a bathroom because there were just so many people. So we tried to encourage each other. We tried to stay awake by singing the national anthem because we believed we were patriotic. The top two popular songs that we were singing were The Internationale and the national anthem. That kept us going until the morning.

In the meantime, it was just so hectic. On the spot, people who never knew each other were able to form some consensus. For example, we proposed a petition with seven demands. The most important were press freedom and the disclosure of the assets of government officials.

When I came back from the square, I realized I had trouble hearing people simply because we were chanting so loudly during the protests.

Some protesting students vowed never to withdraw from Tiananmen Square even after martial law was declared in May 1989.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Where were you the night of June 4, when they cleared the square?

I was in Tiananmen Square at the Monument to the People’s Heroes. … It was like a war zone. The whole night. We were like at the eye of the storm. We heard gunshots from all directions … and I saw armored vehicles rushing on the square, troops pouring in. We were surrounded.

I actually tried to give a speech to the troops, but they threatened to kill me. I was trying to appeal to their human side. I was asking this question, “Why do you work for Beijing in such a fashion, killing people? Do you have family?” I just couldn’t understand why they would do that. It was a peaceful protest in Beijing. We had overwhelming support.

After I left Tiananmen Square, I went to Fuxin Hospital, where I saw about 40 bodies on the ground in a bicycle shed. Apparently, the hospital was overflowing with the dead [and] the injured so that they are just putting people’s bodies on the ground outside.

A group of motorcyclists known as the Flying Tigers rides in support of the students on May 30, 1989.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

Where did you go after June 4?

I went back home in Xi’an. I tried to organize some protest on the local universitycampus. We used the students’ amateur radio station to broadcast, and we also had a meeting with local school authorities to ask for protection. Eventually it became obvious that whoever was associated with us would all be in danger. About 10 days later I saw my name on the most-wanted list broadcasted on national television.

The police eventually found me and came with my sister and brother in law. They claimed that my sister and brother had reported me, but it was actually by accident. They had been trying to help me, but because they lived in a military complex, my situation inadvertently became known [to the authorities].

A professor speaking on a megaphone to students on hunger strike.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

What do you think the legacy of Tiananmen is today?

China today, politically, is a result of the Tiananmen massacre. Once they use their own troops to kill Chinese people, there’s no stopping. There’s no limit to their human rights abuses in particular today, because their totalitarianism is aided by technology and globalization.

Over the past 30 years there has been so much done to erase the memory. On the other hand, every year people risk a lot to commemorate Tiananmen. For example, Pastor Wang Yi at the Early Rain church in Chengdu [in southwestern China’s Sichuan province] insisted on openly commemorating Tiananmen every year. He was arrested with his wife last December. Nobody has seen him since.

But most importantly, the legacy of Tiananmen shows how Chinese people love freedom and they want democracy. They were willing to sacrifice for it, even during and after the massacre.

So I think the fight is still going on for China even though it’s very difficult for people like us who are still trying to keep the memory alive because the younger generation, the college students today, they have pretty much grown up completely under the shadow of the great firewall.

A crowd gathers to view the unveiling of the Goddess of Democracy statue, built by the protesters, on Tiananmen Square at the end of May 1989. The statue was destroyed less than a week later as the violent crackdowns began.

Jian Liu/Humanitarian China

But you also see the legacy of Tiananmen being expressed in other examples of activism and democratic advocacy after 1989, don’t you?

Right. For example, the [2014 Hong Kong] Umbrella Revolution. I was there for a week on the street camping with the students. I was so touched. It was like the reincarnation of the Tiananmen protests.

And for China, the generation of the protesters and the people who were influenced by Tiananmen have been the backbone of the civil society movement ever since. The Democratic Party [of China] in 1998 and later the Rights Defender movement. A lot of them were inspired by the Tiananmen movement — including the 709 lawyersXu ZhiyongLiu Xiaobo and the Christian house church movement.

What motivates you after 30 years of activism?

First of all, I am a survivor. So many people died for such a great hope, for a better China. I have to carry on. It’s mostly lonely work. Most of the people [like me] are living in isolation. But on the other hand, over these years, I was able to know of so many amazing stories of these people. It’s like you’re walking through the dark. You don’t know where the light is. But all of a sudden you see someone else who was struggling and was carrying on the same ideals as you.

China: 30 years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

A duty to remember: 30 years after Tiananmen

Installation made by Taiwanese artist Shake, and inspired by the photo of Tank Man displayed in central Taipei. Photo by Filip Noubel, used with permission.

It has been 30 years since the rise and fall of the 89 Democracy Movement (八九民运) in China that culminated in the infamous Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989.

On that day, the Chinese military carried out a brutal crackdown on student-led demonstrations calling for democratic reforms. The Chinese Red Cross estimated that 2,700 civilians were killed, but other sources point to a much higher toll. A confidential US government document unveiled in 2014 reported that a Chinese internal assessment estimated that at least 10,454 civilians were killed.

The Communist Party of China has never publicly acknowledged these events or accounted for its actions with an independent investigation. There are no references to the 89 Democracy Movement in any history textbooks and most university students in China have never heard about the massacre.

Global Voices has been covering the issue for over a decade. This year we commemorate the 30th anniversary of what led to the June 4 massacre to fulfill our duty to keep the memory of those events alive, despite continuous efforts by Beijing to deny basic historical truth.

Beijing’s determination to censor any mention or veiled reference to June 4 has resulted in a perpetual game of cat and mouse taking place online. In April, a foreign ad featuring images of the Tank Man circulated briefly on Chinese social media before being suppressed. Another of our stories explains how Chinese netizens play with censorship and come up with creative ways to allude to the event without mentioning it by its name. All of this in an environment where obtain information that is not filtered by China’s Great Firewall of online censorship has become very dangerous and almost impossible.

Expressing critical views on social media platforms outside of China also poses a personal risk, as you can read in this story. And expressing alternative views not aligned with the Party’s line, even if embedded in Marxism, usually results in harassment and arrest, as we describe here. This draconian censorship is being exported worldwide by Beijing, including to Hong Kong.

Yet the duty to remember continues to inspire people and netizens across the globe. Direct witnesses speak up in emotional interviews, while brave journalists in Hong Kong tell their own stories about June 4. Global netizens, including reddit users, also use humor, art, and online memes to keep the memory of the Chinese pro-democracy movement alive.

China’s Censorship Keeps Growing Under Trumps “Friend” Dictator Xi Jinping

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHINA HERALD AND THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Monday, August 21, 2017

The first fallout of the CUP censorship – Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson

The decision by the Cambridge University Press to bow to Chinese censorship and block over 300 articles on its China site has shocked the academic world. Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, reports on the issue for the New York Times and tested from Beijing what he could no longer get.

Ian Johnson:

Until now, foreign academic presses were largely immune to this sort of censorship. In recent years, the websites of most foreign news organizations have been blocked in China, as have social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and the search engine Google.

But because of their small readership, and high subscription costs (one China Quarterly article costs more than $20), academic journals were not targeted.
The new measures seem in line with announcements made by President Xi Jinping in February 2016 that all media content on any platform must come under the Communist Party’s “guidance.”
“The same rules apply to any foreign content, academic or otherwise, that is accessible within China,” said David Bandurski, the co-director of the China Media Project and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. “Given Xi Jinping’s determination to rein in dissenting views in the information space, foreign publishers are misleading themselves if they believe they can escape pressure like that facing China Quarterly.”
Searching for the word “Tiananmen” at the journal’s main page yields 50 results, with the top two relating to the “Tiananmen Papers,” a 2001 compilation of secret documents that is widely considered essential for understanding the events of 1989. Other top hits include an assessment of China’s universities in the aftermath of the student-led movement, and the effect of the crackdown on relations with Taiwan.
Performing the same search within China, however, yields only five hits, either tangential mentions or urban-planning articles about the square.
The block appears to go beyond Cambridge University Press’s website to include searches through third-party databases, including JSTOR, a digital library that academics around the world use to perform full-text searches of nearly 2,000 journals, including China Quarterly.
As of Friday night, it was unclear whether all JSTOR access was now blocked in China.
After news of the censorship spread, academics inside and outside China expressed alarm.
Ian Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Are you looking for more stories by Ian Johnson? Do check out this list.

True honor lies not with China’s rulers but with the man they imprisoned until his death

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

The Post’s View

True honor lies not with China’s rulers but with the man they imprisoned until his death

 July 13 at 10:18 AM

POLITICAL DISSIDENCE is a great, and beautiful, mystery. For those living under repressive rule, the path of least resistance is, well, not to resist — to accommodate and survive, or, in less honorable but hardly rare cases, to collaborate. And yet, some do choose the more decent and difficult way. Out of idealism, necessity, sheer refusal to submit or some unfathomable combination of all three, they stand up, they speak out, they assume risks.

China’s Liu Xiaobo epitomized the dissident tradition, fighting back relentlessly but peacefully against a regime in his country that epitomized modern-day authoritarianism — until he died of liver cancer on Thursday at age 61.

Mr. Liu was born in 1955, amid the horrific throes of the early People’s Republic, and went on to study literature and philosophy, earning his doctorate in 1988. Moved by the fall of communism in Europe and the limited opening under Deng Xiaoping in China, he joined the student protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989. This conscientious activism earned him a two-year prison sentence. Later he served three years in a labor camp for other purported political offenses. Mr. Liu’s causes were liberty and democracy, which he considered universally applicable, not Western imports for which his native country was somehow “not ready.” His specific demand was that the Chinese Communist authorities accept the need for a constitutional overhaul that would establish elections, rule of law and freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of religion.

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In December 2008, Mr. Liu joined other intellectuals in publishing Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto modeled on the Charter 77 issued by Czech dissidents 31 years earlier. Notably, the document not only called upon China’s rulers to enable a better future for their people; it also told the truth about the “gargantuan” price China’s people had paid since the 1949 revolution: “Tens of millions have lost their lives, and several generations have seen their freedom, their happiness, and their human dignity cruelly trampled,” the charter observed.

Forthrightly addressing China’s past, present and future earned Mr. Liu an 11-year sentence, for “inciting subversion of state power,” which began in late 2009 and which he was still serving, albeit on medical parole at a hospital, when he drew his last breath. His steadfast dissidence also earned Mr. Liu the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, though Beijing refused to let him travel to Oslo for the award ceremony, just as it also refused to let him receive friends and well-wishers in his final days, or to go abroad for medical treatment.

These final indignities were intended to degrade and humiliate, but the attempt was futile and indeed shames those who made it. Shortly before Mr. Liu died, the man ultimately responsible for this and so many other abuses in China, President Xi Jinping, was basking in the glamour and glory of international politics at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg. Yet throughout Mr. Xi’s rule, the true locus of honor in China has been any place of confinement occupied by Liu Xiaobo.

China Honors Their Nations Martyrs

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Honoring China’s martyrs

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