Subject THE REAL STORY ABOUT TIENANMEN SQUARE Written 442 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in c
Subject: THE REAL STORY ABOUT TIENANMEN SQUARE
Written 4:42 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in cdp:christic.news
THE REAL STORY ABOUT THE TIENANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE?
Project Censored: Nomination for the "Ten Best Censored Stories of 1990"
Among the revolts that ignited the Communist world in 1989, China's was
the great failure. On the night of June 3-4, the Chinese Communist Party
showed the world that it would stop at nothing to maintain its monopoly of
power. But what exactly did happen that night? A "revisionist" trend
emerging in some Western circles now maintains that there was no massacre.
Robin Munro, research associate on China for Asia Watch, a New York
City-based human rights organization, has been a close observer of China's
democracy and human rights movement since 1978. He was in Beijing, leading
up to and during the events in Tiananmen Square.
No massacre took place in the big square, according to Munro. Although
more than 1,000 journalists were in Beijing at the time, many of them were
away filing late-night/early morning reports, some were on hand outside the
city where the serious massacres actually took place, but only a small
handful remained in Tiananmen Square as the night wore into day and soldiers
with fixed bayonets began to surround the remaining students. Munro reports
that in the crucial moments of the confrontation, students waged a spirited
debate whether they should hold the line and die or retreat in victory by
The result: "What Nations (Richard Nations, an American freelance
journalist also on the scene) and I saw, from our position twenty- five
yards southwest of the monument, was unforgetable. For an agonizing minute,
it seemed as if the students might not comply with the decision to leave.
Then slowly, they began to stand up and descend from the monument. As the
first groups filed past us, heading toward the open southwest corner of the
square, we burst into spontaneous applause. Many in the ten-deep column,
each contingent following the banners of its college, had tears rolling down
their cheeks," reports Munro. Nations noted the student leaders had pulled
off the most difficult maneuver in politics of human enterprise, an orderly
George Black, foreign editor of The Nation, filed a supporting story which
appeared in the Los Angeles Times. "In the absence of reliable eyewitness
accounts, we were soon reading lurid tales -- later shown to be spurious--of
students being machine-gunned and run down by tanks in the heart of the
square." Black also reported that the real carnage did not take place at
Tianenmen Square. Amnesty International and Asia Watch both agree that the
principal killing grounds were some distance away, five miles out from
Tianenmen Square at the Muxidi intersection.
In reality, "Most of the 1,000 or so cut down by gunfire and crushed by
armored vehicles were workers and ordinary Beijing residents," Black said.
"These were people who did not speak English, could not quote Patrick Henry
and built no replicas of the Statue of Liberty. They were also the people
who terrified Deng Xiaoping."
"As long as we substitute myth for fact, the butchers of Beijing will
wriggle off the hook," Black said. "When Barbara Walters, on ABC's '20/20'
asked party general secretary Jiang Zemin about the massacre in Tiananmen
Square, he replied, with a sly use of the English idiom, that it was 'much
ado about nothing.' But what if Walters had asked Jiang about the slaughter
of workers at Muxidi?"
SOURCES: THE NATION, 6/11/90, "Who Died in Beijing, and Why," by Robin
Munro, pp 811-822; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 6/10/90, "A Myth That Lets Butchers
Off the Hook," by George Black.
End of text from cdp:christic.news
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