On this day, 4 June in 1989, the Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred –commonly referred to as the “June Fourth Incident” in mainland China.
Here and around Beijing (including other major cities in China), thousands of student protesters in the ’89 Democracy Movement were killed by the Chinese army – either shot by rifles or mowed down by armoured vehicles and tanks – with many thousands more arrested both during and after the massacre.
The protests began when ousted General Secretary of the Communist Party, Hu Yaobang – a symbol of reform for students, labour activists and intellectuals – died on 15 April 1989 (aged 73). Initially, well-wishers gathered in Tiananmen Square to mourn his death but, within a week or two, thousands had marched to the Square and an occupation movement had set in.
By the time then socialist Soviet Union leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, was visiting (early June), the Chinese Communist regime had grown tired of this obstinacy and increasing “international embarrassment”. It declared martial law and quickly sent in the army to break up the protests and crush any remaining dissent.
Mourn this day of martial law and massacre by the Chinese Communist regime on its own people by:
- reviewing footage of the protests and the regime’s army that ruthlessly crushed them
- keeping pressure on our political class not to bow to pressure from increasingly influential, insistent and undemocratic regimes and their Australian-based apologists and agents
- reading up on the Conservative Party's efforts to raise concern about Chinese government influence in Australia
- investing some time in reading up on China and its influence in Australia, such as Clive Hamilton's book 'Silent Invasion'
- acknowledging that Marxism may promise communism to the masses (ie a stateless, classless society where the workers supposedly will one day own and control the means of production), but the “interim step” - namely, socialism, requires entire state control and central planning, never permitting that subsequent step to occur, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends and other advocates of freedom, liberty and democracy.
Ironically, Tiananmen Square – a large plaza in Beijing (found to the south of the Forbidden City, both built in the early 1400s AD during the Ming Dynasty) means “gate of heavenly peace” in Chinese.
Not long after the massacre, former US President Ronald Reagan said on China, “The seeds of democracy have been planted. It may take years or even decades before the people of these countries can sit in the shade of democracy, but sit in the shade of democracy they someday will.”
Nearly three decades on, current Chairman Xi Jinping, after tightening restrictions over civil society, ideological discourse and the internet in China, has recently amended the state constitution to abolish term limits (making him president for life). So unfortunately, the hopes of President Reagan and the West for a democratic China may be a much longer time coming.