Archives‎ > ‎

Hong Kong protests, Tiananmen 1989, and Colour Revolutions, from Peter Myers

(1) Hong Kong protests, Tiananmen 1989, and Colour Revolutions(2) Israel Shamir brands Hong Kong & Russia 'Colour Revolutions', dismisses Tiananmen Massacre as a myth(3) Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Martin Lee met with Mike Pompeo(4) Hong Kong media boss and democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai met Mike Pence(6) Hong Kong protesters have issued a DUMMIES GUIDE to confrontation with riot police(7) U.S. seems to hope that China will intervene and create a second Tiananmen scene(8) Russia too: American bully tries to taunt the Russian bear into doing something rash(9) American in China (call him 'L') dismisses Tiananmen Massacre as Myth(10) Eyewitness account of Tiananmen Massacre by (Trotskyist) Steve Jolly(11) Wikipedia on Tiananmen 1989: bloodshed on the approaches, but not little in the Square(12) Operation Yellowbird - Western agencies helped Protestors escape(1) Hong Kong protests, Tiananmen 1989, and Colour Revolutions- by Peter Myers, Aug 29, 2019The Hong Kong protests remind everyone of the Tiananmen Protests in 1989.But whereas the recent protests in Hong Kong are a Western-orchestrated Colour Revolution (see items 3 to 7), Tiananmen 1989 was mainly home-grown. Protestors had listened to Voice of America, and probably Radio Free Asia, but at that stage the strategy of running a Colour Revolution had not been worked out.Steve Jolly, an Australian Trotskyist who was present in the Square for a week or so, and gave eyewitness testimony (item 10), stated that the Protestors lacked a Theory about the situation of China, and the goals they should pursue. He did his best to imbue them with Trotskyist theory, and the strategy of starting an Independent Trade Union like Solidarity in Poland. This actually got under way; and, he believes, convinced the Government of the need to act decisively.Although I mostly don't see eye-to-eye with Trotskyists, I find his account of events, including a Massacre, convincing; however, I have included other views that no Massacre occurred (items 2 & 9).The Hong Kong protestors have recently made their point, and should go home; that they do not attests to some bigger plan. In the same way, the Tiananmen Protestors in 1989 mounted such a challenge that either the Government would fall, or there would be bloody suppression.How would the US Government react if similarly challenged?It is therefore no surprise that a Massacre occurred. Most killings occurred not in the Square itself but in the approaches.It looks as if Western agencies are hoping to prod China to intervene in Hong Kong, 1989 style (item 7). China should avoid falling into that trap.(2) Israel Shamir brands Hong Kong & Russia 'Colour Revolutions', dismisses Tiananmen Massacre as a mythhttp://www.unz.com/ishamir/house-niggers-mutiny/House Niggers MutinyISRAEL SHAMIRAUGUST 22, 2019Slavery had some good aspects for those chaps who had it rather good. A colonial setup is the next best thing to slavery, and it also holds its attraction for people who knew how to place themselves just below the sahibs and above the run-of-the-mill natives. The Hong Kong revolt is the mutiny of wannabe house niggers who feel that the gap between them and the natives is rapidly vanishing. Once, a HK resident was head and shoulders above the miserable mainland coolies; he spoke English, he had smart devices, he had his place in the tentacle sucking wealth out of the mainland, and some of that wealth stuck to his sweaty hands. But now he has no advantage compared to the people of Shanghai or Beijing. There is huge swelling of wealth in the big cities of Red China. The Chinese dress well, travel abroad, and they do not need HK mediation for dealing with the West. Beijing had offered HK a fair deal of [relative] equality; nothing would be taken from them, but the shrinking gap is not only unavoidable, but desirable, too.However, HK had been the imperial bridgehead in China for too long. Its people were complicit, nay, willing partners in every Western crime against China, beginning with dumping opium and sucking out Chinese wealth. Millions of opium addicts, of ruined families and households nearly destroyed the Middle Kingdom, and each of them added to HK prosperity. The blood, sweat and labour of all China abundantly supplied the island. HK was the first of the Treaty Ports, and the last to return home. Its populace was not thoroughly detoxed; they weren’t ideologically prepared for a new life as equals.Chairman Mao harboured hard suspicions against comprador cities, the cities and the people who prospered due to their collaboration with the imperialist enemy. He cleansed them with communist and patriotic re-education; recalcitrant compradors were sent to help peasants in far-away villages in order to reconnect with the people. Mao’s successors had a strong if misplaced belief in Chinese nationalism as a universal remedy; they thought the Chinese of HK, Macau and Taiwan would join them the moment the colonial yoke failed. This was an over-optimistic assessment. The imperialist forces didn’t give up on their former house slaves, and the moment they needed to activate them against independent China they knew where to look.Their time came as the trade conflict between the US and China warmed up. The secret government of the West aka Deep State came to the conclusion that China is getting way too big for its boots. It is not satisfied with making cheap gadgets for Walmart customers. It is producing state-of-art devices that compete with American goods and, what’s worse, their devices are not accessible for NSA surveillance. The Chinese company Huawei came under attack; sanctions and custom duties followed in train. When the Yuan eased under the strain, the Chinese were accused of manipulating their currency. It is a strong charge: when Japan was attacked by the West in the 1990s and the Yen had eased as expected, this claim forced Tokyo to keep the Yen high and take Japan into a twenty-year-long slump. But China did not retreat.Then the supreme power unleashed its well-practiced weapon: they turned to foment unrest in China and gave it a lot of space in the media. At first, they played up the fate of the Uygur Islamists, but it had little success. The Uygur are not numerous, they are not even a majority in their traditional area; their influence in China is limited. Despite headlines in the liberal Western media proclaiming that millions of Uygur are locked up in concentration camps, the impact was nil. No important Muslim state took up this cause.The anniversary of Tiananmen came (in beginning of June) and went without a hitch. For good reason: the alleged ‘massacre’ is a myth, as the Chinese always knew and we know now for certain thanks to publication of a relevant US Embassy cable by Wikileaks. There were no thousands of students flattened by tanks. A very few died fighting the army, but China had evaded the bitter fate of the USSR. In China proper the event had been almost forgotten. A few participants retell of their experiences to Western audiences, but the desired turmoil did not materialise.And then came the time for HK. It is an autonomous part of China; it had not been re-educated; there are enough people who remember the good days of colonial slavery. The actual spark for the mutiny, the planned extradition treaty, was exceedingly weak. For the last decade, HK became the chosen place of refuge for mainland criminals, for HK had extradition treaties with the US and Britain, but not with the mainland. This had to be remedied. [...]We can distinguish a real people’s rising and foreign-inspired interventions on behalf of the compradors. The first one will be silenced while the second will be glorified by the New York Times. It is that simple.I would not worry overmuch for China. The Chinese leaders knew how to deal with Tiananmen, they knew how to deal with minority unrest, without unnecessary cruelty and without hesitation and prevarication. They weren’t dilly-dallying when the US tried to send to HK its warships, but flatly denied them the pleasure. They will overcome.(3) Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Martin Lee met with Mike Pompeohttps://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-05-16/uss-pompeo-meets-with-hong-kong-pro-democracy-leaderPompeo Meets Hong Kong Pro-Democracy LeaderMay 16, 2019WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Martin Lee on Thursday, the State Department said, as Hong Kong activists seek to derail a proposed extradition law pushed by Beijing."Secretary Pompeo expressed concern about the Hong Kong government's proposed amendments to the Fugitive Ordinance law, which threaten Hong Kong's rule of law," the department said in a statement.Lee founded the first pro-democracy party in Hong Kong in 1990 and has been a prominent voice calling for civil liberties for the city's residents.Hong Kong lawmakers loyal to Beijing are pushing to enact a law that would allow people accused of a crime, including foreigners, to be extradited from the city to countries without formal extradition agreements, including mainland China.Democracy activists fear the legislation would erode rights and legal protections in the former British colony that were guaranteed under the Basic Law when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.More than 130,000 people marched against the proposed legislation several weeks ago in one of the biggest protests since the Umbrella pro-democracy movement in 2014.Pompeo "also expressed support for Hong Kong's longstanding protections of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic values, which are guaranteed under the Basic Law," the State Department said. ...(4) Hong Kong media boss and democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai met Mike Pencehttps://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lai-pompeo-07082019172155.htmlMedia Boss Jimmy Lai Meets Pence, Pompeo on Hong Kong IssuesBy Paul Eckert2019-07-08Hong Kong media boss and democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai met U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday to discuss concerns about the former British colony’s autonomy amid widespread protests over legislation that would allow the extradition of alleged criminal suspects to mainland China, their aides said.The Washington meeting came a day after an estimated half a million people took to the streets of Kowloon in a bid to explain to visiting citizens of mainland China why the planned amendments to the Fugitive Offenders’ Ordinance have met with mass opposition and widespread public anger in Hong Kong."The two had a constructive discussion about the situation in Hong Kong, human rights, and the broader context with China and Taiwan," said Mark Simon, an executive with Next Digital.Lai, the founder and chairperson of Next Digital, "thanked Secretary Pompeo for the administration’s concern with human rights, and encouraged continued international attention to Hong Kong and the promises the Chinese government has made," said Simon.Lai's meeting at the White House with Pence covered the same issues, he said.Next Digital is a Hong Kong-listed media company which publishes the pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, a strong critic of China’s policies in Hong Kong.State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that Pompeo and Lai "discussed developments related to amendments to Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the status of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework." ...(5) "We also have funded millions of dollars in programs through the National Endowment for Democracy to help democracy in Hong Kong"https://twitter.com/dancohen3000/status/1159326219529314309Dan Cohen ? Verified account@dancohen3000Reagan administration official Michael Pillsbury: "We're partially involved... We also have funded millions of dollars in programs through the National Endowment for Democracy to help democracy in Hong Kong"(6) Hong Kong protesters have issued a DUMMIES GUIDE to confrontation with riot policehttps://www.dimsumdaily.hk/exclusive-dummies-guide-to-confrontation-and-war-strategies-by-frontline-protesters-in-hong-kong/DUMMIES GUIDE to confrontation and war strategies by frontline protesters in Hong KongBY DIMSUMDAILY HONG KONG - 12:21PM SUN AUGUST 25, 201924th August 2019 – (Hong Kong) Frontline protesters have released a new DUMMIES GUIDE to confrontation and war strategies with riot police this morning shared in their own Telegram chat. A total of 5 info graphs have been created so that frontline protesters can engage in conflict more efficiently. From the info graphs below, it is obvious that frontline protesters were trained properly during guerrilla attacks against riot police.DUMMIES GUIDE to confrontation and war strategies :Frontline protesters are divided into 5 different troops:1 Wo Lei FeiTasks : In-charge of providing critical resources and first aid to protesters, to oversee the overall situation and to barricade roads.Reminders : Arm’s length distance must be maintained between Wo Lei Fei and others, to keep an eye on flag hoisters, to make sure resources are always abundant and to ensure safe passageway for other protesters.2 Yung Mo (Valiant Knights)Tasks : To deploy resources, to use weapons against riot police, front line defence.Reminders : To co-ordinate with whistle blowers and to take extra precaution.3 Kei Sau (Flag bearer)Tasks: To transmit information efficiently and to maintain order.Reminders: To ensure sufficient distance is kept with Yung Mo and to pay attention to latest information updates.4 Yuen Kung (Distant attackers)Tasks : To deploy resources not within warzone (e.g. transportation, escape routes, arrangement of change of attire, spare change at MTR stations to facilitate escape), to use long-distance weapons (e.g. slingshots) against riot police.Reminders : To ensure sufficient distance is kept with Yung Mo and to pay attention to latest information updates.5 Siu Fong Yuen (Firefighters)Tasks: To extinguish any fire caused or tear gas rounds fired.Reminders: To ensure sufficient distance is kept with Yung Mo and to pay attention to latest information updates.Yung Mo and Yuen Kung must move simultaneously when charging forward. Attack when the distance is suitable.Retreat strategy : 1. Face the enemy, 2. Retreat while attacking at the same time, 3 Make sure there are always sufficient protesters to surround enemies to save those who are caught.(7) U.S. seems to hope that China will intervene and create a second Tiananmen scenehttps://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/08/violent-protests-in-hong-kong-reach-their-last-stage.htmlAugust 14, 2019Violent Protests In Hong Kong Reach Their Last StageThe riots in Hong Kong are about to end.The protests, as originally started in June, were against a law that would have allowed criminal extraditions to Taiwan, Macao and mainland China. The law was retracted and the large protests have since died down. What is left are a few thousand students who, as advertised in a New York Times op-ed, intentionally seek to provoke the police with "marginal violence":Such actions are a way to make noise and gain attention. And if they prompt the police to respond with unnecessary force, as happened on June 12, then the public will feel disapproval and disgust for the authorities. The protesters should thoughtfully escalate nonviolence, maybe even resort to mild force, to push the government to the edge. That was the goal of many people who surrounded and barricaded police headquarters for hours on June 21.The protesters now use the same violent methods that were used in the Maidan protests in the Ukraine. The U.S. seems to hope that China will intervene and create a second Tianamen scene. That U.S. color revolution attempt failed but was an excellent instrument to demonize China. A repeat in Hong Kong would allow the U.S. to declare a "clash of civilization" and increase 'western' hostility against China. But while China is prepared to intervene it is unlikely to do the U.S. that favor. Its government expressed confidence that the local authorities will be able to handle the issue. ...The former British colony is ruled by a handful of oligarchs who have monopolies in the housing, electricity, trade and transport markets:The book to read is Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong (2010) by Alice Poon, which explains how the lack of competition law created outrageous wealth for the tycoons. It’s a complex subject but the key point is that in Hong Kong all land is leasehold and ultimately owned by the government, which uses it as a means of raising revenue. ...Rents and apartment prices in Hong Kong are high. People from the mainland who buy up apartments with probably illegally gained money only increase the scarcity. This is one reason why the Cantonese speaking Hong Kong protesters spray slurs against the Mandarin speaking people from the mainland. The people in Hong Kong also grieve over their declining importance. Hong Kong lost its once important economical position. ...In 1992 Congress adopted the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act which mandates U.S. government 'pro-democracy' policies in Hong Kong. Some Senators and lobbyists now push for a Support Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act which would intensify the interference. Before the June protests started Secretary of State (and former CIA head) Mike Pompeo met with the Hong Kong 'pro-democracy' leader Martin Lee and later with 'pro-democracy' media tycoon Jimmy Lai. The National Endowment for Democracy finances several of the groups behind the protests.Such interference is against Hong Kong's Basic Law:The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.Despite that law the U.S. National Endowment of Democracy spends millions on organizations in Hong Kong ...(8) Russia too: American bully tries to taunt the Russian bear into doing something rashFrom: Eric Walberg <walberg2002@yahoo.com>http://ericwalberg.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=753:putin-and-russia-the-worlds-heartland&catid=37:russia-and-ex-soviet-union-english&Itemid=90Putin and Russia, the world’s ‘heartland’Sunday, 25 August 2019 15:31 Eric WalbergThe American bully tries to taunt the Russian bear into doing something rash, as it moves NATO up to Russia's borders, encircling it as it did in Cold War days, wooing and inciting noisy little neighbours from the Baltics to Georgia and further. But the Russian leader stands by his principles and his fellow Slavs, despite the provocations. The Time of Troubles is over. No one is going to destroy the Russian heartland, nor will they succeed in breaking up the ancient slavic federacy into a chain of Wal Marts.(9) American in China (call him 'L') dismisses Tiananmen Massacre as MythLet’s Talk About Tiananmen Square, 1989My Hearsay is Better Than Your HearsayPublished April 29, 2013By bhaiadil FiverrPrologueThere are few places in China that seem more burned into the consciousness of typical Westerners than Tiananmen Square, and few events more commonly mentioned than the student protests there of 1989. [...]It is true that in 1989 China experienced a student protest that culminated in a sit-in (more like a camp-in, actually) in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.But thanks to Wikileaks and other (perhaps brave) Western journalists, we now know that this was all the Square experienced that day. We now have conclusive and overwhelming documentation that the events in Beijing in 1989 were very different from those reported in the Western press. Not only that, we have substantial evidence that the Chinese Government's version of these events had been true all along. [...]What Do We Know For Sure?Well, one thing we know, though it wasn't widely reported at the time, is that there were two events that occurred in Beijing on June 4, 1989. They were not related.One was a student protest that involved a sit-in in Tiananmen Square by several thousand university students, and which had lasted for several weeks, finally terminating on June 4.The other was a worker protest, the origin and detail of which are unimportant for our purposes. But essentially some number of workers was unhappy with their lot in life and with the amount of government attention and support, or lack thereof, which they were receiving. And they arranged their own protest, independently of anything related to the students.Since these two events occurred simultaneously, and were conflated in the Western mass media reporting of the time, we will have to deal with these simultaneously as well. The Student ProtestThe students and soldiers in Tiananmen Square had no quarrel with each other that day. 	Briefly, the students congregated in the Square and were waiting for an opportunity to present various petitions to the government, petitions dealing with government, social policy, idealism.In fact, all the things that we as students all had on our list of changes we wanted to make in the world.Since the government did not immediately respond, the students camped in the square and waited.They brought food, water, tents, blankets, camp stoves - but no toilets. Tiananmen Square, after three weeks, was not a place for the faint of nose.The government waited patiently enough during that period, but finally gave the students a deadline for evacuation of the Square - June 4. Soldiers were sent to the Square on the day prior, but these soldiers were carrying no weapons and by all documented reports (including those of the US Embassy in Beijing, thanks to Wikileaks) had only billy sticks.By all reports, there was no animosity between the students and the soldiers. Neither had a philosophical dispute with the other, nor did they see each other as enemies. In fact, both photos and reports show that the students were protecting the soldiers who were being chased by angry mobs of uninvolved bystanders. You will see some photos later.The Workers RevoltThese are not students. You can see the burned-out buses in the background. Today, these rioters would be deemed "terrorists". One fact not in dispute is that a group of workers had barricaded streets in several locations leading to Central Beijing, several kilometers from the city center and also from the Square.Another fact not in dispute is that several hundreds of people - most of whom were workers, but of whom an undetermined few were students - attended these barricades.An additional fact is that there was a third group present that to my knowledge has never been clearly identified but which consisted of neither students nor workers."Thugs" or "anarchists" might be an appropriate adjective, but adjectives don't help the identification.To deal with this problem, the government sent in busloads of troops, accompanied by a few APCs - armored personnel carriers, to clear the barricades and re-open the streets to traffic.Outside a bus, the body of a soldier burned to death by the rioters. The violence began when this third group decided to attack the soldiers. They were apparently well-prepared, having come armed with Molotov cocktails, and torched several dozen buses - with the soldiers still inside.They also torched the APCs. You can see the photos. There were many more.Many soldiers in both types of vehicles escaped, but others did not, and many soldiers burned to death. I personally recall watching the news and seeing the videos of dead soldiers burned to a crisp, one hung by the thugs from a lamppost, others lying in the street or on stairs or sidewalks where they died.Others were hanging out of the bus windows or the APCs, having only partially escaped before being overcome by the flames.There are documented reports to tell us that the group of thugs managed to get control of one APC, and drove it through the streets while firing the machine guns on the turret. That was when the government sent in the tanks and opened fire on these protestors.Another soldier burned to a crisp. Note the other dead soldier hanging from the flyover. 	Government reports and independent media personnel generally claim that a total of 250 to 300 people died in total before the violence subsided.Many of those dead were soldiers. There was no "massacre" in any sense that this world could be sensibly used. [...]And in any case, soldiers were being attacked by a violent mob, (today, we call them "terrorists") and were dying horrible deaths. We cannot blame the remaining soldiers for opening fire and killing those who were killing them. And yes, several hundred people died in that event.A Live, First-Hand ReportHere is an eyewitness report from someone who was there, an exerpt from Tiananmen Moon:There was a new element I hadn’t noticed much of before, young punks decidedly less than student-like in appearance. In the place of headbands and signed shirts with university pins they wore cheap, ill-fitting polyester clothes and loose windbreakers. Under our lights, their eyes gleaming with mischief, they brazenly revealed hidden Molotov cocktails." [...]When a military vehicle suddenly broke down on Chang'An Avenue, rioters surrounded it and crushed the driver with bricks. The rioters savagely beat and killed many soldiers and officers. At Chongwenmen, a soldier was thrown down from the flyover and burned alive. At Fuchengmen, a soldier's body was hung upside down on the overpass balustrade after he had been killed. Near a cinema, an officer was beaten to death, and his body strung up on a burning bus.Over 1,280 vehicles were burned or damaged in the rebellion, including over 1,000 military trucks, more than 60 armoured cars, over 30 police cars, over 120 public buses and trolley buses and over 70 motor vehicles of other kinds.The martial law troops, having suffered heavy casualties before being forced to fire into the air to clear the way forward. During the counter-attack, some rioters were killed, some onlookers were hit by stray bullets and some wounded or killed by armed ruffians. According to reliable statistics, more than 3,000 civilians were wounded and over 200, including 36 college students, were killed. As well, more than 6,000 law officers and soldiers were injured and scores of them killed. [...](10) Eyewitness account of Tiananmen Massacre by (Trotskyist) Steve JollySteve Jolly is an Australian Trotskyist who was present at Tiananmen Square during the events of 1989. His account of the Massacre was published in the (Sydney) Sun-Herald of July 2, 1989, p. 27.https://www.socialistalternative.org/eyewitness-china/eyewitness-china/Eyewitness in Chinaby Steve Jolly13 June 1989I went to China to hear and see at first hand this movement in the most populous country in the world, with one quarter of the world’s population. I went to exchange experiences, political and organisational, with the cream of the students in Beijing and Shanghai and the cream of the proletariat.Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. It was the most magnificent thing I have seen in all the time I’ve been in politics. I arrived on the Sunday prior to the massacre, the last Sunday in May. After settling down I headed for Tiananmen Square. There was a massive march taking place. Because of this, getting to Tiananmen Square was a battle in itself!It was a march of about 200,000 people (some of the students, I later discovered, were quite disappointed it was not larger). Many workers, it being a Sunday, were not working and had joined the march. It was along an eight-lane highway, which was absolutely packed for kilometer after kilometer with a mass of red flags with Chinese writing. There were delegations representing the steelworkers, representing universities, representing teachers’ colleges, etc., shouting slogans against the government, and all singing the Internationale. [...]After about three hours I managed to get to Tiananmen Square and that in itself was a sight to behold. There in the center of Beijing is this monstrous Stalinist Square architecturally speaking. It is massive, probably about the size of four or five cricket ovals or five or six soccer fields. Flat smack in the middle is this obelisk, the Monument of the Peoples’ Heroes, which is quite historic. Many speeches by Mao, many big rallies in the past have been held there. The vast majority of the square was taken up by tents – some locally-made tents, some that the students received from Hong Kong and from the West. Some of the tents still had hunger strikers in, although most of the hunger strikers had finished their strike.To the north of Tiananmen Square is the Forbidden City, with a big poster of Mao looking down. I don’t know what he would have been thinking if he saw what was in front of him! (By the way, that is the only poster of Mao left in Beijing. And, among the youth, there are few illusions in Mao. Obviously there was a massive political campaign by the bureaucracy against Mao after his death. The experience of the Cultural Revolution discredited him. And his wife and the "Gang of Four" are absolutely hated, by the government and the people. For older workers who remember pre-1949, and the early years afterwards, it is different, because they remember when the bureaucracy was more restrained and less corrupt, in comparison with today, when the big bureaucrats and army leaders drive around Beijing in beautiful cars.)Also in Tiananmen square are three monstrous big buildings to the south, to the west and the east. But they just looked tiny compared to the mass of the people in the square itself.I felt as if I was at the centre of the world. Because you had the eyes and ears of workers, students, peasants round the world on this Square, every day, on the radio, in the newspapers, on the television – looking at the Square, and hearing what was going on. You had the cream of the world’s capitalist journalists there. But, much more importantly, you had the cream of the students and the proletariat of one quarter of the world’s population, just there protesting.Once I got there I thought obviously I’ve got to go and start discussing with people. In the beginning I was quite apprehensive: how would I be taken? You hear at school about the "Bamboo Curtain", and you wonder what can you offer, somebody from the other side of the planet. What do you know about China? Because obviously these people weren’t playing. They were putting their lives on the line, through the hunger strike and through the risk of the repression they were feeling at the time and were to feel in a much greater degree a week later.But as soon as I started approaching the tents any apprehension went right out of the window. I went up to the first tent and met some students who had come all the way from Shanghai. They had been there for some days. And, luckily enough, some spoke English. I sat down and they asked me: "Are you a journalist?" I said "No, I am a Marxist. I am a socialist from the West. I am here to listen to what you have got to say, because we don’t want to depend on the capitalist newspapers to hear the demands of your struggle. We want to hear from you yourselves. I want you to know, you have captured the imagination of workers and youth all over the world with your struggle. We want to learn from you. You are showing us a way forward. But we would also like to exchange some experiences. Because maybe some of the experiences that we have learned overseas, politically and organisationally, might be of help to you."Absolute JoyOnce I made some points like that you could see the absolute joy at the fact that somebody had come over to support them. They put out a little chair, sat me down, they would be forcing cigarettes down my throat – of course I gallantly fought them off! – and cold drinks and so on. And you should know how poor those students are. Even if you are at university over there – and I’ll come to this later – you are not, economically speaking, part of a privileged elite. These people, some of whom had been on a hunger strike, were just sitting there and were treating me as a king almost, because I was a socialist there, and willing to support them.As soon as I started talking, tens of people came around. At one stage 50 people were around the tent. There would have been more, only because I was sitting down so low inside the small tent it was not possible for people to hear what I had to say. What it reminded me of was John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the World. It was even more fulfilling than that because we weren’t there just to be journalists. We were there to learn of course, but also to assist the development of that movement with Marxist policies and Marxist organisation.In the discussions they would outline to me the experiences of the past few weeks in China as far as the student movement was concerned, and their ideas as to the perspectives and the next step. What they basically wanted from me was what I had to offer. They said a lot of times: "We are getting a lot of money from overseas and that is great. But we want more than money. We want ideas. That is the best way you can help us." That was said to me time and time again in other discussions.What I said to these Shanghai students that day, and in most of the other discussions I had, went this way. "Well", I said, "the first lesson you need to draw out is the importance of this student movement being linked to the workers, that the students cannot win the struggle on their own." And I went into the question of the power of the working class, the reason why the workers have to lead this struggle, and why it is important for the students to try to make links in every possible way – and if there was any development towards an independent trade union movement they should support it and nurture it. [...]The second point we would go onto then, once that point had gone home, was the demands, the programme, that was necessary for the workers’ movement, and for the students’ movement, having already agreed the need for these two struggles to be taken forward together. We would go on to Lenin’s four points to counter bureaucracy: the elections of all officials, officials to earn no more than a skilled worker, and so on; the need for a free press, of being against a one-party state, of the right of all people who stand on the basis of a planned economy to be able to organise themselves. We would stress the need for the workers to be armed – not on an individual basis, six or seven workers armed to pop off Deng or Li Peng, and I must say that there were some terrorist illusions amongst the students, more out of frustration than anything else – but the need for everybody to be armed. Not a "People’s Liberation Army", but an armed people, that’s how we would pose it.Democratic Reform Under Stalinism?The third point that we discussed … and I must say that this was the most difficult point, where we had the most trouble in winning acceptance from some of the students and workers, although nine times out of ten we won agreement in the end. It was this: is it possible in a Stalinist country like China, or indeed in the Soviet Union or East Germany, for a strong workers’ movement or a strong students’ movement, with the right programme, to win democratic rights from a Stalinist government? Because what those Shanghai students, and other students and workers I spoke to, said to me was "We think that is possible. Look what is happening in the Soviet Union today. Look at the Polish elections at the moment. And look at also the West: you have got capitalism which is a worse system than we have, yet you have got democratic rights Surely we can have it here in a so-called socialist government?" These questions would have to be answered and explained theoretically right back from square one. [...]But what about the reformist wing of the Communist Party, the students would say, what about Zhao Ziyang?  [...] That had to be drawn out, and to stress the lesson that the conclusion of any programme for the students and workers as far as China was concerned had to be for a new government, a new revolutionary government, a political revolution, as we would say as Marxists. In other words, that the workers and students needed to take power. That was the only way that reforms could be implemented and made permanent as far as the Chinese masses were concerned. [...]This was all made easier because most of the students and the workers had a good knowledge of the writings of Marx and Engels and Lenin. Although none of them knew anything about Trotsky. [...]All this was the meat of most of my discussions with the students. But, after these particular discussions with these Shanghai students they took me up to the Monument of Peoples Heroes, which was the base where all the leaders live, along with the capitalist journalists. I met, on that particular day, many of the student leaders. [...]By the way, there was never one single organisation leading the students. Even at the Monument, there were five or six student groups. [...]Thirst for TheoryOn the next days I had further discussions with the leaders and many discussions around the tents. And time and time again – it was something I have never experienced in political work in the Western world – I would just go up to a tent, start discussing, and once I explained who I was, immediately people would gather round, and offer cold drinks, cigarettes, pat me on the back, want my autograph as if I was some kind of pop star! But it wasn’t done from a sycophantic "it’s nice to know a Westerner", point of view, but because "you are the very first Western socialist I have ever met, and its a real privilege to meet you." Of course, really the privilege was mine, not theirs. And I cannot overstress that there was a real thirst for theory, if you want to put it in one sentence, as far as the students were concerned. And over and over again, in these discussions, we would end up in complete agreement on ideas and the way forward.One thing that should be said was that there was a very good cultural level among these students: an absence of swearing, of drugs, of alcohol, and of sexism. In the Square female and male students would lie amongst each other, together, to sleep, without any hassles at all. People of different sexes treat each other with great respect.At the end of Tuesday some of the students organised for me to speak at a meeting of the leaders. At that meeting I was privileged to be given the badge of Tiananmen Square. It’s a badge of which only limited numbers were made for those students who had done heroic duties. To them it was like the equivalent of the Victoria Cross so far as British imperialism was concerned. I felt very privileged to be given this. [...]Independent Trade UnionAt the end of Monday something happened which was absolutely tremendous. Some of the students said: "Why don’t you come with us and we’ll introduce you to some workers who want to start an independent trade union movement." So they took me through the Square to the Forbidden City. Now I don’t know if you have ever seen the movie The Last Emperor, but that film shows how the Forbidden City was identified with the old rule of the Chinese Emperors. So now I was taken to it, and there was this huge locked gate, about 10 meters high, in front of which were not students but workers, looking at the gate trying to get in. On the other side were six workers armed with baseball bats, a small workers’ militia I suppose you could say, guarding the gate. Behind them were thirty workers’ leaders who were preparing for the formation of an independent trade union, what they deemed to be Solidarity, Polish-style.So my guide/translator and I, with a security pass from the students, pushed our way through the workers wanting to get through the gate, and when we got to the fence, the workers’ militia looked at us very sternly. Probably they thought I was some kind of journo trying to get in for a story! But once they understood who I was they opened the gates to let us in – and all the workers tried to get in behind us, and had to be held back, such was the enthusiasm for the formation of an independent trade union movement, and to find out what was going on.By the way, talking of enthusiasm to know what was going on, just walking down the streets, you would find groups of people gathered around a telegraph pole. At first I thought, this is very odd, what are all these people looking at a telegraph pole for? But when you got there, you would see underground newspapers taped onto the pole, or lamppost, and everybody would be reading these, and fighting their way to the front to do so. It was like something you read about the Russian Revolution in 1917. It was absolutely tremendous. And anybody who came out with leaflets was literally mobbed. It was like handing out 10 dollar notes in Sydney. I mean people would just come up and grab them off you. People would read almost anything. I happened to get my hands on a capitalist Hong Kong newspaper and even that was ripped to shreds. People were begging me for photographs from it, and so on. Such was the thirst for information and ideas.So … we got to the forbidden City. And once these workers’ leaders found out who I was and what I was doing there, they literally went into a sort of a frenzy. I have never seen anything like it. It was even better than the students, the response. They were saying "This is fantastic". They pulled up six chairs, for me, for my translator, and for four of the workers’ leaders. Not for bureaucratic reasons but because of a slightly more disciplined attitude than the students, they insisted only six people could come to that meeting … and later I could talk to the rest of the thirty. The other workers were so annoyed that two of them burst into tears because they weren’t allowed to sit with us to discuss the ideas.One difference from discussing with the students was that all the workers took notes. They all had notebooks, and they took down every single word I said (because less of them spoke English than the students, I was speaking slowly through my translator). We discussed for three hours solid, mainly on the questions of the lessons of Solidarity in Poland. The workers, because they were very serious, quickly copped onto what I was saying. "Basically what you are saying is that we’ve got to overthrow the Communist Party", they said. The penny dropped much more quickly than with the students. That’s no indictment of the students, by the way, but results from the class nature and role of the workers in society. Also, a lot of these people had families. They were literally putting their whole families’ lives on the line. [...]When I came back the next day, three of the four leaders I had spoken to had been arrested the previous night, and with their notebooks. This got me a bit worried to be quite honest! Why had they been arrested? In fact, over those days, discussion was going on within the bureaucracy about what they should do. "Should we crush the movement, should we send in the army, or should we let it wither away?" And in my opinion it was once they got wind of the potential development of an independent trade union movement – knowing from the experience of Solidarity how such a movement could develop quickly – that was the turning point. That was the point, in my view, when they decided, look, we’ve got to put the boot in here, we’ve got to clamp down. So the arrest of those three workers’ leaders was no coincidence, because none of the students had been arrested at that stage, at least as far as Beijing was concerned. But these workers were arrested absolutely immediately, as soon as the bureaucracy got wind of what was taking place.When I arrived at the Forbidden City on Tuesday, I was told of the arrests. Obviously I did all in our power, so far as having international links was concerned, to organise solidarity action to get these three released. By the way, they were released the following day – although most of them have been killed since then, but I’ll get to that later. Developments were overtaken by events.When I got to the Forbidden City that evening everybody was packing, preparing to leave. I said: "What’s going on with the meeting." They replied: "The meeting’s not going to be here. We are having it across the road." So I said: "Oh". We sat there for a couple of hours, till it began to get dark, and at about 7-8 o’clock we walked across the street from the Forbidden City into Tiananmen Square. It was nighttime, after work. And posters had gone up all around Beijing in the previous 24 hours, saying that an independent trade union was going to be set up tonight. So half a million people were in the square by 9pm. I would say a good 40=50% of them were workers. From there it was a sight to behold really. You could just see half a million people in front of you, desperate for ideas, desperate for organisation, desperate for guidance as to the way forward to win their struggle. It was a tremendous sight to see: half a million people who have thrown off the shackles of everyday life where you just think about making a couple of bob to get by to feed the family, just sitting there with politics as their first and foremost interest. It was pitch dark. Somebody would take a flash photograph. Someone else would light a cigarette. Little lights would flare up. It really made you feel humble, that here was the power of the working class, or at least the latent power of the working class, there right in front of you. And to know that if this movement could be married with Marxist ideas, no power on earth could stop it.Before the meeting started, various people came along to express solidarity: a Buddhist monk, a local pop star… Most interestingly, a 98-year-old woman, very very infirm, came along who had been on the Long March, and who knew Mao. This was really sticking her neck out, at that age, especially when it was getting clearer there was going to be some form of clampdown (though nobody expected it to be as bloody as it was). I was given a rough translation. She said she had given her life for the 1949 Revolution, and that it didn’t give her any pleasure to have to stand up here, 40 years later, and still have to fight. But she had to do it. She said she was given encouragement by the students, and she felt she was with them, and though she was going to die soon, the struggle must carry on. And I can say quite honestly that it brought tears to my eyes to see something like that. She was given absolutely rapturous applause.At around 10 o’clock the meeting proper started. I just want to give a little background here. All over Beijing, especially in the centre, the government have big loudspeakers attached to all the telegraph poles. And all the day, constantly, especially since the movement started, they blared out constant ‘news’ commentary, muck like the movie 1984. In mocking tones they would talk about "the dregs of society", "chaos", "counter-revolutionaries" – at the same time you could see, right in front of you, the cream of the world’s youth, of the proletariat of China, fighting for genuine socialism. But in the Square itself the students had their own network of loudspeakers, and they would blare out still louder the Internationale. In was directly as if to say: "Those are lies, we’re not counter-revolutionaries, rather we are the ones who stand in the best traditions of the international working-class movement."The Launch of the UnionSo at about 10 o’clock the union leader got up and read out to the assembled crowd the demands of the union, why it was set up, the preamble and so on. I was the second speaker. I got up and expressed solidarity for the union on behalf of the workers and students everywhere whose imagination had been captured by the movement which had taken place in Beijing and other cities of China over previous weeks. And then I outlined the programme which in some ways the students had taken on unconsciously: the need for the election and right of immediate recall of all officials, for all officials to be on the wage of a worker, and so on. I went on to the question of the Communist government. I said that any "communist", or any "Communist" government that arrested workers, that stood against workers’ democratic rights, was not a real communist. I said that the only real communists in China – those following the traditions of Marx, Engels and Lenin – were those who supported this movement. And I can tell you that this statement went down very, very well indeed. That was what people wanted to hear. I spoke for about 10-15 minutes. It went down very well. After me, there were two more speakers. [...]One student said to me: "When we look at the West, we’re not stupid. We know that only a minority of people in the West live in countries like Japan, Australia, Britain. And even then we know that the blacks suffer in America. We know there are a lot of people unemployed in America. We know most people in the so-called West, the capitalist world, live in Africa, South and Central America and so on". The people knew what was going on. They wanted to maintain the benefits of the revolution of 1949, in other words the nationalised and planned economy, and the other cultural, social, and economic benefits. But they believed that these benefits were being limited, that the great latent initiative inherent in one billion was being stifled by bureaucratic rule. [...]ShanghaiOn the day after that meeting – historic because it launched the first independent trade union in China since the 1949 revolution – I went to Shanghai. There I had some excellent discussions at the university with the students.I must just say a couple of points on the lifestyle of the students. You might have the impression that students in China are in some sense a privileged elite who have moved into struggle because they are disgusted about the conditions they see around them, rather than conditions they experience they experience themselves. That is a false impression. Most students at Shanghai University live on campus – and in dormitories that are terrible. They live 10 to a dormitory, with no carpet or even tiles, but a concrete floor, concrete walls. There’s not even any paint. There is no heating. And the food that they are given … the smell was the worst. I mean you could swallow it, but the smell was such that it was very difficult to eat. And the grant that they get from the government as university students is extremely low. They do experience a lot of economic hardship. Any privilege they have is just the privilege of having a chance to study and learn.In the evening the students organised a meeting for me to speak at, with a hunger striker who was due to leave for Beijing the next day. It was a 500-strong meeting, surrounded by students armed with sticks, because the university administration had banned the meeting. I outlined the links between the struggle in China and the struggles in the other Stalinist countries, in Poland, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union. Once again the internationalism of the students came out. As soon as I internationalised their experiences, that was when the real response came out. They weren’t interested in candle-light vigils outside the Chinese Embassy in London or New York. They wanted ideas, they wanted some kind of direction as to the way forward for the movement. That was worth a thousand tears so far as people from overseas were concerned. At least, that was the impression I got from them.Little did I know that while I was talking to what I thought was a protected meeting of 500, the speech was being broadcast live over the student radio to the 50,000-strong numbers at the university! So the following day I went back to Beijing – very quickly, I must say. And on the Saturday I was back in Tiananmen Square … the day before the massacre. As before, on that day I had some excellent discussions with various groups of students, similar in content to the previous discussions.Saturday, June 3Towards the Evening I went back up to the Monument, just to sit down. It was a warm, balmy night. There were thousands of people around. It was Saturday night and everybody was having a bit of a rest. Tomorrow would be a new day … and the workers always came down on Sunday. Everything seemed to be fine. Early in the evening, there was some slight tension in the air. The students immediately sent for what they called "lumpen-youth", ex-jail birds as they said, who supported the students, but were really rough and ready. Real nice kids, actually. They came down armed with pitchforks and batons. They were sitting down near me. They didn’t speak English. But one of them gave me a drink of water, and I took it … and it turned out to be like Irish poteen, it wasn’t water at all, it was the strongest drink I’d ever had in my life! Thinking it was water, I had a good sip. But I didn’t cough, so they thought, "he’s all right, you know"!At the same time, during the course of the Saturday there were a few things that happened that gave me some of the students the idea that something was going to happen that night. First of all the government had sent spies into the square. Now the Chinese government hasn’t reached the sophistication in repression that, if you have read The Great Game or Out of the Night, or have visited East Germany, you would know. The repression is cruder, bloodier. For example these spies all had green khakis and white shirts! They were obviously instructed to walk separately, but once they hit the square they were so scared that they stood together! What happened was that the students would capture them and drag them up to the Monument of Peoples’ Heroes and beat them up. They wouldn’t kill them, just beat them up. Then they would stick them in front of a microphone, and you would hear "huh, uh, huh, uh … ooh … I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do this, I was forced to come hear". Then they would give them another beating and let them go. It was quite good tactics.The students and workers in the Square weren’t armed. In previous days and weeks, workers from the armaments factories, who had been on strike, had offered guns to the students. The students refused. On that Saturday itself, as the 27th Army was moving towards Beijing on the west, two armoured personnel carriers – actually full of arms, not personnel – stopped and offered the students those guns. The students again refused. The students only had batons. A few students had handguns, but they perceived themselves to be terrorists. They wanted to shoot Li Peng. They weren’t interested in sharing their guns: it was like a privileged thing, they were sort of proud of the fact they had a gun. And they only had 6 or 7 bullets.Just before it got dark, around 5pm, about 3,000 troops moved into the Great Hall of the People, to the west of Tiananmen Square. They took over the building. Behind it they all sat down in a circle, different layers of a circle. Most were unarmed, but some in the middle were armed. All the students surrounded them, and discussed with them. Some of the discussions went quite well. Some of the soldiers were crying, and saying "we don’t want to be here".An important point that must be made about the army, the whole army, is that it is a peasant army. As at all times of Chinese history, it is a peasant army. From a factory of a thousand workers, for example, three will be called up. You are very unlucky if you are an industrial worker to have to go into the army. If you go to university you are almost certain not to be called up. But most peasants want to go into the army, because after you serve for three years you are allowed to live in the cities – which is not the case for peasants in general. So even the "Beijing troops" means peasants from the area around Beijing rather than Beijing industrial workers and students.This is a conscious policy of the bureaucracy, not to base the army on the industrial workers. But even so, on the previous occasions when soldiers (unarmed) had been sent in to try to clear Tiananmen Square, the peasant troops responded to the appeals of workers and students, who surrounded the troops and their vehicles, and persuaded them to go away.BarbarismSo then, that Saturday evening, one student came back from the west of the city and said that soldiers had moved in with teargas. And, about a day before, an army vehicle had crashed into and killed three students. So the temperature was quite high. One student started throwing stones at the soldiers. And that was the first time I saw the barbarism that I was to see again several hours later.Some of the soldiers in a posse ran out into the crowd and captured the student. They took him and placed him in the middle of the 3,000 troops. They stripped him naked. It was still very hot then, 32 degrees C. They got a wooden bat and they smashed his head. He was still standing up. They made sure he stood up. They split his skull open. He just stood there and he bled to death. About two hours later he dropped dead. It was a horrific sight. He was just forced to stand there naked with blood streaming from his headwound until he died.But at that stage the workers and students were still confident. And I must say one thing, at this time the workers of the independent trade union took over the planning. They had maps of the city, and were saying: "The troops are here, the troops are there … we should send battalions of workers here, and there … the older female workers (who were the best at discussing with the troops and stopping them from shooting) should be sent there, because these are the most atrocious of the troops, who will need the most discussion." They took over from the students as we got deeper into that Saturday night. It was as if they were thinking: "This is our battle now. You students have taken the movement so far, and that’s great, but we’ve got to take over now." At the same time the independent trade union was only in its embryonic stages. It was still only several days old. And because it was formed when the movement was already ebbing and not at the beginning, a lot of workers were still scared to join the union or take a lead from it. But the union’s leaders did what they could, bearing in mind that they didn’t have a rounded-out Marxist programme, and that they weren’t armed.Midnight was when it all happened. The 27th Army came from the west. These weren’t Beijing troops. They had fought in Vietnam. They had repressed the national rights of the Tibetan population. They had been on the Soviet border. They were troops used to killing. And, in the weeks before, you could see, even in the newspapers and on the TV, that the bureaucracy and the commanders had these troops in camps outside the city. They weren’t allowing them to read any newspapers. They were just lecturing them: "When you move into the city, the people confronting you are fascists, counter-revolutionaries. They are going to say things to you like the PLA can’t shoot the people and so on. But that’s only a trick. They don’t really mean that. That’s just propaganda." So the troops were prepared for what students and workers were going to say to them. They were brainwashed. [...]Now, if what follows is less fluent, that is because I have seen some horrific things in the last week, terrible things that I would never like to see again. And the only guarantee against that is the marrying of the movement with Marxist policies. There’s no getting around that question.MidnightAt midnight, the troops moved in, in the following formation. First, there were those who threw tear-gas. Now there are different forms of tear-gas. This didn’t make your eyes water. Rather, it mainly gave you contractions in your stomach and chest. That night some of the students had gave me a tear-gas mask, and I felt very privileged, almost like receiving the badge, because there were very few of these masks. I didn’t want to take it, but they insisted, it was just impossible to say no.After the tear-gas there followed troops with batons. And this is very very ironic: while the bureaucracy talk about the students being pro-capitalist and their government being a "revolutionary government", these batons were from Taiwan. Capitalist counter-revolutionary Taiwan supplied the Chinese Stalinists with batons to beat up Chinese students and workers. And not just batons. These were electric batons, so that not only do you get a terrible thump on your head or wherever they hit you, but an electric shop at the same time.That was the second layer. The third layer were troops, armed with guns. These were followed by tanks and armoured personnel carriers. And with the armoured vehicles were US-Second-World-War-style jeeps with large aerials, and the commanders in them. There were also helicopters but I don’t think they were very useful at night because they didn’t have floodlights. They were just to intimidate the people. But the next day they were very useful as far as the government was concerned.Barricades of buses had been set up at about 6pm along the roads into the Square. The people in the Square set the buses on fire as soon as they saw the troops come. Now every street in the centre of Beijing has got a fence of about one and a half feet high. They dug up all these fences and put them either side of the barricades of burning buses. They dug up the pathways to create rocks. There was a lot of building construction taking place. All the bricks had been taken and split into halves so that they were throwable a long distance. Its no use having a big brick if you cant throw it. And some, but very very few, workers and students had guns.But the frontline of the battle was political. The frontline was the propaganda. Even when the troops came with the tear-gas people were running forward and shouting "You can’t shoot us, you’re the peoples’ army! How can you shoot the people?" Even on one night, there are stories how some of the troops refused to shoot and that officers had to threaten them with guns to get them to shoot. So, when it happened and they started firing, even I myself, as a Marxist, I believed they couldn’t do this. It might sound naive, but at the time, to see a massacre in front of your eyes, was really an absolutely shocking experience. You get influenced by the movement around you and the movement around me was convinced that they wouldn’t shoot. When it happened, it was a real shock to the system.MassacreThey just opened up fire, and bodies dropped. Bodies just dropped, time and time again. People would get up again and they would go forward, with red flags sometimes, sometimes with bricks, sometimes just shouting. They would go down again. They would get up again. The troops were shooting everybody.I saw a three-year old with a bayonet through the chest. I saw a pregnant woman, who had been bayoneted to death in the stomach, and the embryonic baby was lying on the ground beside her. It was absolutely barbaric what they were doing.I must say one thing. There was this half-hour convoy of an offensive army moving forward, fighting through the barricades against the students and workers. But they had formed up in the mid-afternoon in working class. And, as soon as they started moving – and they all kept together because none of the soldiers wanted to be isolated in the back – at the end of this half-hour convoy, there came thousands of workers, unarmed, including women workers, some of them on bicycles. And this mass of thousands of workers following the troops could not fight them, but they sang the Internationale. The troops at the back just didn’t know what to do. Occasionally they would shoot, and everybody would drop, and you didn’t know how many were killed because the people each time got up again, and the dead would stay lying among them on the ground. It was almost like waves on the beach just coming in, time and time again, just singing the Internationale.As the night got deeper, the people got more bitter, they started shouting "fascists, fascists" at the soldiers. Anyone who has the gall to say that the movement was counter-revolutionary just had to be there for five minutes.Even the bourgeois journalists couldn’t believe what they were seeing. And I must say, while some of these journalists were scared and ran away, some were quite brave. The journalists have more suss than the reformist leaders of the labour movement in the West because they are sent by their papers from flashpoint to flashpoint and they build up a world analysis, they see the world revolution taking place right in front of them. But even these people, some of them, couldn’t believe what they were seeing.When the troops got to Tiananmen Square, the center of the revolution, they surrounded it, and they all sat down. The students and workers were surrounded from the north, east and west. Only to the south was there a possible escape route. The troops gave the students one hour to get out. It was at that time that I left Tiananmen Square with three students who helped me escape to the south. And then a whole lot of the student leaders got together and formed themselves into a square bloc, like a Battle of Waterloo-style military formation, and walked through the troops. Of course as they walked through the troops they got a hell of a battering, but none of them were killed.But some of the workers and students stayed in the Square. And the troops just mowed them down. They shot them dead. They just shot them. There were dead and wounded lying in the square. Then the tanks came in and rolled over them, and flattened them. And then the soldiers got these bulldozers, and picked up all the bodies and the tents, and put them in a pile and burnt everybody and everything there. Some of the people were still alive I’m convinced when they were burnt, though I’ve got no proof of that of course. And all of these people are officially classified as missing, not dead.This was early Sunday morning. And right up to mid-day Sunday there was fighting through the streets of Beijing. When I went back towards Tiananmen Square about 6am on the Sunday morning I saw the other side of things, because it wasn’t a one-sided battle.Street-FightingIn one instance, the troops were tear-gassing students in the streets. The students fled, many trying to climb over a fence. Eleven of the students who got the brunt weren’t able to get over it. So a tank came up, and scraped along the side of the fence, and scraped them to death. They came out as flat as a matchbox, dead. But that tank got separated from the main body of tanks. And the workers surrounded it like ants on a dead rat. They wrenched off the lid. And inside there was a commander, not just an ordinary tank driver. They took him out, beat him up and burned him alive, there and then, as we saw in the 1984-86 uprising in South Africa. Then they strung him up to show him to the troops further down the road as a warning to them. In fact, once the massacre started, when people managed to get hold of soldiers they were ripping them apart, limb from limb. There was no alternative, absolutely no alternative to that at this stage.I must say if the workers had been armed and if a few more examples like that had been made earlier on in the struggle, things could have been different. [...]On that Sunday the mood was of anger not depression. It was a frustrated anger: "How can this be happening?" I felt the same. I had meetings organised for the Monday in the Square, and it took me a full six hours before I could convince myself that Tiananmen Square was cleared, that overnight what seemed to me the center of the world revolution, had moved from revolution to counter-revolution, and that Tiananmen Square now was a blood bath full of the 27th Army butchers. And I considered myself to be a relative experienced Marxist, who had seen a lot of things, got around! But I felt like a fool, because it must have taken me six hours. I was saying to people: "But surely the students are still there. I have got to go on Monday for discussions". And people were laughing at me and saying "Don’t be stupid. They are dead. It is gone. It is finished."And if I felt like that can you imagine how the Chinese workers and students felt who had put their lives, everything, on the line for what the movement in Tiananmen Square represented. It meant everything for them. And then to be crushed like that. But it all shows you the importance of ideas. All they needed was a clear programme based on clear perspectives. All they needed was clear leadership, and none of that need have happened.As I was moving with the students in the streets of Tiananmen Square, I got myself a little bit tear-gassed. Now, obviously, since the minute that things hotted up I had felt scared silly. I would be lying if I said anything different. Anyone who goes to war and comes back saying it was great is a fool or a liar. We were all scared. But that Sunday morning it was different. We were getting shot at, we were getting tear-gassed. But because there were dead all around us, and because of the anger that we felt, all of us, even myself, would have done anything.At least ten of the people I had been discussing with in the previous days were dead. And there was a girl that I had been talking to with the "lumpen youth" the previous evening. She was 18 years old with John Lennon-style round glasses and a black and white printed dress – a very slight girl. We were joking around and chatting. The next day I saw her dead body.Because I was the only westerner in the streets at the time and I had my camera, the students were taking me from one dead body to another. "Take a photograph of this. What do you think of this? Can you go home and tell people what’s going on?" (In fact some students gave me the badge of this commander they had killed, and his buttons. That may seem bizarre, but it didn’t at the time. Some days later, when I was on the way to the airport, the troops were stopping cars and I thought … I’ve got photographs of this bloke getting killed, photographs of him dead, his insignia, a tear gas canister, as well as the badge of Tiananmen Square. So I dumped all except the badge in the road.)The day of the massacre, in the course of moving in the streets I must have held about six or seven street meetings. Each time I said: "This day, the 4th of June 1989, will go down in the history books. Everyone who died today is a martyr for the world revolution. They will never be forgotten. Every worker and student over the world has learned a lesson, and that lesson is very simple. No longer will any thinking worker, any thinking student, anywhere on this planet, ever, ever again have any illusions in the so-called Chinese Communist Party government. It can no longer claim to be a revolutionary government. Any government that has got the blood of the Chinese workers and students on its hands is not a communist government. It can no longer claim to be a revolutionary government. And from today on the workers and the students of the world are going to be with the Chinese people."The response to this speech was absolute frenzy. Sometimes people tried to lift me up onto their shoulders. That is when I really got scared! – there were bullets flying around then. But at that stage if I had stood up and said that what is needed in China is a mass revolutionary workers’ party based on the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, you would have just mopped up left, right and centre. Any illusions at least in that wing the Communist Party had implemented this decision the night before had disappeared forever. [...]For a considerable time street battles continued. The city was a battle zone. There were burnt-out trucks, burnt-out tanks, bodies, blood everywhere. Calls for a general strike on Monday appeared written in blood on the walls.The courage of the people was unbelievable. As they were standing in the streets facing tear-gas, they wanted to know what I thought. Anyone who says that "theory is for the intellectuals" would have seen that that is an absolute load of rubbish. Especially at times of revolution people want theory.But increasingly the counter-revolution got the upper hand. It became more and more risky for the workers, students, and even myself in the course of that time. It is a rather depressing story of killings, of increasingly one-sided battles. I won’t go into that. [...]Some capitalist journalists at this time were suggesting that there would be a confrontation between sections of the army – with the 38th Army (of the Beijing region) moving in against the 27th Army. I think that was exaggerated a lot. It is true that the 38th Army was supposed to be identified with Zhao, with the reformist wing of the bureaucracy. And, with the movement crushed, sections of the masses too began to hope for "liberators": they were hoping the 38th Army would come in and "liberate" the city.The 38th army was deployed at the south of the city, and near the airport near the east of the city. But I think that this was in case the 27th Army had had to face a more successful fight-back from the workers, and in case the workers had exploded in Shanghai, which is the largest city in China, igniting an even higher degree of struggle. Then I think the 38th Army would have moved into Beijing, perceived as "liberators", displacing the 27th Army, in order to restore order and maintain the rule of the bureaucracy. Under those conditions, Li Peng and Deng might have had to be replaced, as scapegoats.But, given that the 27th Army had successfully crushed the movement, why would the 38th Army bother moving in? Their commanders are just as much part of the bureaucracy, and just as much identified with the repression in Tibet and other areas. They flexed their muscles only to say to the 27th Army, "OK, you’ve done the job, but don’t think now that you are the totally dominant part of the bureaucracy, and we are biding our time. If we had moved against you, we would have had the support of the people and you could have been lynched." [...](11) Wikipedia on Tiananmen 1989: bloodshed on the approaches, but little in the Squarehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Tiananmen_Square_protestsMartial lawThe Chinese government declared martial law on May 20 and mobilized at least 30 divisions from five of the country's seven military regions.[94] At least 14 of PLA's 24 army corps contributed troops.[94] As many as 250,000 troops were eventually sent to the capital, some arriving by air and others by rail.[95] Guangzhou's civil aviation authorities put regular airline tickets on hold to prepare for transporting military units.[96]The army's entry into the city was blocked at its suburbs by throngs of protesters. Tens of thousands of demonstrators surrounded military vehicles, preventing them from either advancing or retreating. Protesters lectured soldiers and appealed to them to join their cause; they also provided soldiers with food, water, and shelter. Seeing no way forward, the authorities ordered the army to withdraw on 24 May. All government forces retreated to bases outside the city.[13][6] While the Army's withdrawal was initially seen as 'turning the tide' in favour of protesters, in reality mobilization took place across the country for a final assault.[96]At the same time, internal divisions intensified within the student movement itself. By late May, the students became increasingly disorganized with no clear leadership or unified course of action. Moreover, Tiananmen Square was overcrowded and facing serious hygiene problems. Hou Dejian suggested an open election of the student leadership to speak for the movement, but was met with opposition.[37] Meanwhile, Wang Dan moderated his position, ostensibly sensing the impending military action and consequences, and advocated for a temporary withdrawal from Tiananmen Square to re-group on campus, but this was opposed by 'hardliner' student factions who wanted to hold the Square. The increasing internal friction would lead to struggles for control of the loudspeakers in the middle of the square in a series of 'mini-coups': whoever controlled the loudspeakers was 'in charge' of the movement. Some students would wait at the train station to greet arrivals of students from other parts of the country in an attempt to enlist factional support.[37] Student groups began accusing each other of ulterior motives such as collusion with the government and trying to gain personal fame from the movement. Some students even tried to oust Chai Ling and Feng Congde from their leadership positions in an attempted kidnapping, an action Chai called a "well-organized and pre-meditated plot."[37]June 1–3On June 1, Li Peng issued a report titled "On the True Nature of the Turmoil", which was circulated to every member of the Politburo.[97] The report aimed to persuade the Politburo of the necessity and legality of clearing Tiananmen Square by referring to the protestors as terrorists and counterrevolutionaries.[97] ... The report created a sense of urgency within the party, and provided justification for military action.[99] ...On the evening of June 2, reports that an army trencher ran into four civilians, killing three, sparked fear that the army and the police were trying to advance into Tiananmen Square.[110] Student leaders issued emergency orders to set up roadblocks at major intersections to prevent the entry of troops into the center of the city.[110]On the morning of June 3, students and residents discovered troops dressed in plainclothes trying to smuggle weapons into the city.[37] The students seized and handed the weapons to Beijing Police.[111] The students protested outside the Xinhua Gate of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound and the police fired tear gas.[112] Unarmed troops emerged from the Great Hall of the People and were quickly met with crowds of protesters.[37] Several protesters tried to injure the troops as they collided outside the Great Hall of the People, forcing soldiers to retreat, but only for a short while.[113]At 4:30 pm on June 3, the three politburo standing committee members met with military leaders, Beijing Party Secretary Li Ximing, mayor Chen Xitong, and State Council secretariat Luo Gan, and finalized the order for the enforcement of martial law:[107] ...Chang'an AvenueThe Type 59 main battle tank, here on display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution in western Beijing, was deployed by the People's Liberation Army on June 3, 1989.Type 63 armored personnel carrier deployed by the People's Liberation Army in Beijing in 1989Unlike the 1976 Tiananmen Incident, which did not involve the military, in 1989 soldiers were armed with the Type 56 assault rifle (above), a variant of the AKS-47 (below) and fired live ammunition at civilians.At about 10 pm the 38th Army began to open fire upward into the air as they traveled east on West Chang'an Avenue toward the city centre. They initially intended the warning shots to frighten and disperse large crowds gathering to stop their progress. This attempt failed. The earliest casualties occurred as far west as Wukesong, where Song Xiaoming, a 32-year-old aerospace technician, was the first confirmed fatality of the night.[111] Several minutes later, when the convoy eventually encountered a substantial blockade somewhere east of the 3rd Ring Road, they opened automatic rifle fire directly at protesters.[115] The crowds were stunned that the army was using live ammunition and reacted by hurling insults and projectiles.[116][111] The troops used expanding bullets, prohibited by international law for use in warfare, which expand upon entering the body and create larger wounds.[13]At about 10:30 pm, the advance of the army was briefly halted at Muxidi, about 5 km west of the Square, where articulated trolleybuses were placed across a bridge and set on fire.[117] Crowds of residents from nearby apartment blocks tried to surround the military convoy and halt its advance. The 38th Army again opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties.[114][117] According to the tabulation of victims by Tiananmen Mothers, 36 people died at Muxidi, including Wang Weiping, a doctor tending to the wounded.[118] As the battle continued eastward the firing became indiscriminate, with "random, stray patterns" killing both protesters and uninvolved bystanders.[25][119] Several were killed in the apartments of high-ranking party officials overlooking the boulevard.[114][119] Soldiers raked the apartment buildings with gunfire, and some people inside or on their balconies were shot.[6][114][120][119] The 38th Army also used armored personnel carriers (APCs) to ram through the buses. They continued to fight off demonstrators, who hastily erected barricades and tried to form human chains.[114] As the army advanced, fatalities were recorded all along Chang'an Avenue. By far the largest number occurred in the two-mile stretch of road running from Muxidi to Xidan, where "65 PLA trucks and 47 APCs ... were totally destroyed, and 485 other military vehicles were damaged."[25]To the south, paratroopers of the 15th Airborne Corps also used live ammunition, and civilian deaths were recorded at Hufangqiao, Zhushikou, Tianqiao, and Qianmen.[118]Protestors attack PLA's troopersUnlike more moderate leaders, Chai Ling seemed willing to allow for the movement to end in a violent confrontation.[121] In an interview given in late May, Chai suggested that only when the movement ended in bloodshed would the majority of China realize the importance of the student movement and unite, though she felt that she was unable to share this idea with her fellow students.[122] She has also stated that the expectation of violent crackdown was something she had heard from Li Lu and not an idea of her own.[123]As the killings started, it infuriated city residents, some of whom attacked soldiers with sticks, rocks and molotov cocktails, setting fire to military vehicles and beating the soldiers inside them to death. ...Clearing the squareAt 8:30 pm, army helicopters appeared above the Square and students called for campuses to send reinforcements. At 10 pm, the founding ceremony of the Tiananmen Democracy University was held as scheduled at the base of the Goddess of Democracy. At 10:16 pm, the loudspeakers controlled by the government warned that troops may take "any measures" to enforce martial law. By 10:30 pm, news of bloodshed to the west and south of the city began trickling into the Square, often told by witnesses drenched in blood. ...At about 12:15 am, a flare lit up the sky and the first armored personnel vehicle appeared on the Square from the west. At 12:30 am, two more APCs arrived from the South. The students threw chunks of concrete at the vehicles. ...Pressure mounted on the student leadership to abandon non-violence and retaliate against the killings. At one point, Chai Ling picked up the megaphone and called on fellow students to prepare to "defend themselves" against the "shameless government." However, she and Li Lu agreed to adhere to peaceful means and had the students' sticks, rocks and glass bottles confiscated.[130]At about 1:30 am, the vanguard of the 38th Army and paratroopers from the 15th Airborne Corps arrived at the north and south ends of the Square, respectively.[131] They began to seal off the Square from reinforcements of students and residents, killing more demonstrators who were trying to enter the Square.[14] Meanwhile, the 27th and 65th Armies poured out of the Great Hall of the People to the west and the 24th Army emerged from behind the History Museum to the east.[130] The remaining students, numbering several thousand, were completely surrounded at the Monument of the People's Heroes in the center of the Square. At 2 am, the troops fired shots over the heads of the students at the Monument. The students broadcast pleadings back toward the troops: "We entreat you in peace, for democracy and freedom of the motherland, for strength and prosperity of the Chinese nation, please comply with the will of the people and refrain from using force against peaceful student demonstrators."[131] ...Deaths in Tiananmen Square itselfChinese government officials have long asserted that no one died in the Square itself in the early morning hours of June 4, during the 'hold-out' of the last batch of students in the south of the Square. Initially foreign media reports of a "massacre" on the Square were prevalent, though subsequently journalists have acknowledged that most of the deaths occurred outside of the Square in western Beijing. Several people who were situated around the square that night, including former Beijing bureau chief of The Washington Post Jay Mathews[e] and CBS correspondent Richard Roth[f] reported that while they had heard sporadic gunfire, they could not find enough evidence to suggest that a massacre took place on the Square itself.Similarly, in 2011, three secret cables from the United States embassy in Beijing claimed that there was no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square itself. A Chilean diplomat who had been positioned next to a Red Cross station inside the square told his US counterparts that he did not observe any mass firing of weapons into the crowds of the square itself, although sporadic gunfire was heard. He said that most of the troops which entered the square were armed only with anti-riot gear.[183] Records by the Tiananmen Mothers suggest that three students died in the Square the night of the Army's push into the Square.[g] ...On June 13, 1989, the Beijing Public Security Bureau released an order for the arrest of 21 students who they identified as leaders of the protest. These 21 most wanted student leaders were part of the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation[185][186] which had been an instrumental student organization in the Tiananmen Square protests. Though decades have passed, the Most Wanted list has never been retracted by the Chinese government.[187]This page was last edited on 27 August 2019, at 00:45 (UTC).(12) Operation Yellowbird - Western agencies helped Protestors escapehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_YellowbirdOperation Yellowbird, or Operation Siskin (simplified Chinese: ????; traditional Chinese: ????), was a Hong Kong-based operation to help the Chinese dissidents who participated in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 to escape arrest by the PRC government by facilitating their departure overseas via Hong Kong.[1] French diplomacy at the highest level as well as the Western intelligence agencies such as Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS a.k.a. MI6) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were involved in the operations.[2]This page was last edited on 7 August 2019, at 20:29 (UTC).