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Wu Renhua, June 4, 2018   The June 4 massacre once shocked the world — but because the Communist Party made it a forbidden area of enquiry, there are still numerous controversies around the massacre, despite it having taken place 29 years ago. Following are some of the major sources of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the events of June 4, 1989. Was There a Counterrevolutionary Rebellion in Beijing? To provide a seemingly reasonable justification for the bloody military suppression in the capital, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities emphasized that a violent insurrection was afoot, and that the martial law troops had no choice but to put it down. To this day, the CCP’s claims still deceive a great many people. But in fact, proving […]


Liao Yiwu, June 2, 2017     (Continued from Part One)   LIAO: I’ve heard some people say that if they had known blood was going to be shed, they would not have resisted. YU ZHIJIAN: It was the student’s Command Center that turned us over [to the authorities]. The guy who headed the UAA Guards was called Guo Haifeng. He told us his name himself — you have to give him credit for being pretty open and candid. He said that the UAA standing committee members took a vote, with the majority deciding to send us off to the Public Security Bureau of the Eastern Quarter Branch Tiananmen office. He had strongly opposed the decision. After an impassioned debate, he was overruled and, what’s […]


Liao Yiwu, June 1, 2017   On the afternoon of May 23, 1989, sitting at home in a small town in Sichuan, poet Liao Yiwu watched in awe scenes from Beijing just after “three hooligans from Hunan” threw paint-filled eggs at the portrait of Mao Zedong, sized 6 by 4.6 meters, hanging on Tiananmen (the Gate of Celestial Peace). Increasingly astonished and impressed, once the full significance of the act sunk in Liao Yiwu came to regard it as the most singular event during the 1989 movement — second perhaps only to the Tank Man. Liao himself, a rebellious poet publishing in underground magazines during the 1980s, would be imprisoned too for writing and performing a long poem titled “The Massacre.” On a sultry and […]


Wu Renhua, May 29, 2017   Wu Renhua (吳仁華) is a unique scholar. For over 20 years he has been immersed in the primary source materials about what Chinese authorities call “the June 4th incident,” and what is known around the world as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. His academic training of nearly a decade was in ancient Chinese historiography — a set of research methodologies that he never expected he would apply to unraveling the genesis, execution, and aftermath of the bloody slaughter of unarmed students and Beijing residents in 1989. Wu was a junior faculty member of the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing at the time of the protests, in which he was also a participant. He was one of […]


November 1, 2016 Updated on November 17: 5-minute BBC video tells everything you need to know about Chinese elections.     Yaxue Cao: This year is also an election year in China, with county- and district-level elections of People’s Representatives on November 15. Independent candidates have sprung up everywhere, and China Change recently ran an article about the independent candidates from Beijing, including the group of 18 organized by Beijing resident Ye Jinghuan (野靖环). Over the months leading up to the vote, they’ve held training sessions on election law and the electoral process — some of which was presented by lawyers. But since their announcement of candidacy, they’ve been harassed by police. On the first day (October 24) of their neighborhood campaign, police came and stopped […]


By @badiucao, June 5, 2016     I choose art to resist — to fight terror and to remember. I once drew the Tank Man, and I also have Tank Man tattoo. This year I decided to use performance art to bring the Tank Man back, in the hope that, tomorrow, there’ll be even more Tank Men. All I know of the Tank Man is his plain white shirt, his black trousers, his leather shoes, and the plastic bag and briefcase he carried. The only thing he left the world was that view of him from behind. I don’t know the real identity of the Tank Man. There’s a rumour that his name is Wang Weilin, but no one really knows. Who he was before […]


June 4, 2016   (Continued from Part One) Wu: Another find that was very exciting was to discover the chief of staff of the 38th Group Army’s 1st Tank Division. This chief of staff led the spearhead of that tank division, the 1st Regiment of armored infantrymen and the 1st Regiment, the very first tanks to arrive in Tiananmen Square, including the three tanks involved in the massacre at Liubukou. This chief of staff was eager to carry out orders and show his “politically correctness.” In all the military propaganda materials celebrating his “heroic achievements,” he was only ever referred to as “Chief of Staff Yan.” They described how he repeatedly ordered for forcing advancement, and his troops shot dead a student attempting to obstruct […]


June 3, 2016 In 1989, Mr. Wu Renhua was a young faculty member at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, leading the student demonstration along with other young scholars. He participated in the Tiananmen Movement “from the first day to the last,” and was among the last few thousand protesters who left Tiananmen Square in the early morning of June 4. On the way back to his college, he witnessed PLA tanks charging into a file of students at Liubukou (六部口), a large intersection, killing 11 and injuring many. In February, 1990, Wu swam four hours from Zhuhai to Macau, and onto Hong Kong, and arrived later that year in the United States. Over the next 15 years he was the editor […]


By Yaxue Cao, May 11, 2016     Former Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen (钱其琛) wrote a memoir titled Ten Episodes in China’s Diplomacy soon after retiring in 2003. With sweeping promotion by the Party’s propaganda apparatus that directs much of the state media, it became a bestseller. One of the ten episode deals with the China-U.S. diplomacy after the June 4th Massacre. Of course, that’s an objectionable term for the Chinese Communist Party, so Mr. Qian refers to it as “[that period] in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.” The English edition was published in 2006 by HarperCollins, with the endorsement of Harvard professor Ezra Vogel, who proofread the translation and provided a foreword.     By Qian’s account, on June 21, 1989, a […]


Open Letter from Chinese Human Rights Lawyers to Republican Candidate Donald Trump March 15, 2016   According to CNN, at the televised Republican debate on March 10 the moderator put the following question to billionaire Donald Trump: “Some of your Republican critics have expressed concern about comments you have made praising authoritarian dictators. You have said positive things about Putin as a leader and about China’s massacre of pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square, you’ve said: ‘When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it, then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.’ How do you respond?” Trump replied: “That doesn’t mean I was endorsing that. I was not […]


March 11, 2016     We are appalled by the U. S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s remarks about the Chinese government’s 1989 massacre during the 12th Republican presidential candidate debate last Thursday, in which he called the heroic pro-democracy protest in Beijing a “riot”, and praised the Chinese government’s response as “strong.” Trump’s comments show not only a lack of moral orientation, but also show a complete disregard for the hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives lost when the Chinese government butchered unarmed students and citizens in Tiananmen Square on June 3-4, 1989. Many of us participated in that peaceful demonstration, and we know that we were merely exercising our basic rights to protest and our rights for free speech. We petitioned the government […]


By Yang Jianli, published: December 7, 2015   In Washington, D.C. recently, my friend Alan Curtis invited me to watch Chimerica, which was written by the British playwright Lucy Kirkwood. The play focuses on finding clues to the identity of Tank Man, the iconic and still unknown protester from Tiananmen Square, and explores the contemporary relationship between China and the West. During my three hours in the theater, my mind repeatedly returned to Tiananmen Square, where I was a participant in the 1989 democracy movement, and a witness to the ensuing massacre. The photograph of the Tank Man on Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue confronting state violence is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. For more than two decades, people around the world […]


By Wang Yaqiu, published: June 4, 2015   Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) In the spring of 1989, Dr. Liu Xiaobo left Columbia University where he was a visiting scholar and went back to Beijing to take part in the democracy movement.  In Tiananmen Square, he became a leader and a mentor, drafting open letters, giving speeches and leading a hunger strike. Liu Xiaobo was instrumental in preventing further bloodshed by negotiating with the troops and persuading students to evacuate the Tiananmen Square in the early hours of June 4th. After the crackdown, Liu was identified by the Chinese government as one of the instigators of the “turmoil” and jailed for two years. After being released in 1991, Liu published articles and gave interviews, urging the Chinese […]


By Hu Ping, translated by Matthew Robertson, June 2, 2015 “What we need to grasp is that the existence of a political system that is so perverse in its reason, and so unfair and unjust to its subjects, is an open taunt to the conscience and sense of justice of humanity. The international rise of that system, too, is perforce a threat to freedom and world peace.”     Twenty-six years ago in China, a peaceful civil movement of unprecedented proportions suddenly blossomed, demonstrating once and for all that democracy in China wasn’t the special province of a few dissidents, but the deepest wish of millions. But before long the movement was brutally crushed by the Chinese Communist Party’s hardline faction, headed by Party leader Deng […]


By Kong Tsung Gan, published: May 31, 2015 (an abbreviated version of the original)   “The brazen cynicism and lack of courage of the governments of democratic countries have been deeply disheartening – whether they know it or not, they live in the shadow of June 4, their actions and decisions trapped in the dialectic events that day set in motion.”   1. On the night of September 28, 2014, a rumor circulated that the HK police would escalate their use of violence from tear gas to live ammunition. “Scary green men” were seen prowling the streets of Admiralty, where the police had first attacked the people with an hours-long barrage of tear gas canisters. The scary green men were HK police, but we’d never […]


By a group of overseas Chinese students, letter penned by Gu Yi, published: May 27, 2015 This letter, written in Chinese, has been circulating through email groups and on social media since May 20. Yesterday the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times gave it a free publicity push – double strength (here and here). – The Editor   We are a group of Chinese students born in the 1980s and 1990s and now studying abroad. Twenty-six years ago on June 4th, young students, in life’s prime with innocent love for their country just as we are today, died under the gun of the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing’s streets. This part of history has since been so carefully edited and shielded away that many of us today know […]


By Liao Yiwu, translated by Cindy Carter, published: May 24, 2015   My friend Chen Yunfei (陈云飞) has never been of a serious disposition; his mode of dress is, if anything, even less serious. One year on June 4th, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, he was clad from the waist up in a suit and tie, and from the waist down in a pair of short trousers that made it look from afar as if he weren’t wearing any trousers at all. On that anniversary, he climbed into a blood donation truck parked in the city center, announced that he wished to donate blood, and offered up his neck. The nurse avoided the proffered neck and took his arm instead. As she inserted […]


By China Change, published: March 31, 2015   In Sichuan, activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞) has been missing since March 25 after he and 20 or so others “swept” graves of two college students who died in Beijing during the Tiananmen Massacre in June, 1989. The group was in Shuangliu county (双流县) and then Xinjin county (新津县) where were rounded up by police and taken to local police stations for questioning. All have since been released except for Chen Yunfei. Chen Yunfei’s family has not received any document from the authorities about his status. On March 30, lawyer Ran tong (冉彤), per request of Chen’s relatives, visited the public security bureau and the detention center in Xinjin to ascertain Chen Yunfei’s whereabouts, but the authorities told […]


By China Change, published: January 12, 2015   Shortly before June 4th, 2014, ten in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, were arrested for holding a public memorial for Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳). Seven of them have since been released, and three have remained in custody for over six months now without an indictment. The 47-year-old Yu Shiwen, who organized the memorial along with his wife Chen Wei, suffered a stroke. Recently, the public security once again urged indictment for the three. Yu’s case has drawn attention from participants, inside and outside China, of the Tian’anmen democracy movement 25 years ago. On February 2nd, 2014, Yu Shiwen, Chen Wei, and a group of Henan-based citizens held a memorial in Hua County, Henan provicnce (河南滑县), to remember Zhao […]


The Court Statement by Guo Feixiong Translated by Louisa Chiang and Perry Link, published: November 28, 2014 According to the defense lawyers, the trial of Guo Feixiong and Sun Desheng was forced by the court to conclude at Beijing time 2:50 am, November 29, in Tianhe Court, Guangzhou. Despite repeated interruptions by the head judge and denial of his right to make a closing statement, Guo Feixiong defended himself forcefully and eloquently. China Change is pleased to present his court statement in full in English. – The Editor    1984, Orwell’s masterpiece about totalitarianism that could have been a blow-by-blow script for the People’s Republic of China, also happens to be the year that launched my personal journey as part of China’s movement for freedom and democracy. […]


By Albertine Ren, published: September 14, 2014 It’s been three months since Pu Zhiqiang’s formal arrest on June 13. An extension of investigation period expired on September 13 without indictment or change of detention status, a blatant disregard for criminal procedure prescribed by the Chinese law. Such is the judicial randomness in China. — The editor   He favors navy suits and towers over everyone else at 6’2”. Farmers fall on their knees when they see him, hoping he can save their land or their child. Certainly, with a Mount Rushmore chin and the looks of leading men from a Communist propaganda film, he could have been custom-ordered from some fortune-teller manual on how to spot successful guys. The effect only falls apart when he […]


By Frank Sieren, published: September 10, 2014   Chances are we will never get to know what really happened 25 years ago in Beijing. But a trace leads from Beijing to the peaceful revolution in the former GDR, says DW-Columnist Frank Sieren.   Just one month after June 4th incident in 1989, a high-ranking East Germany politician traveled to Beijing. His name is Günter Schabowski. At the time he was an official of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) and a member of the central committee of Eastern Germany´s Politburo, the center of power of the SED. With him he had two orders from Erich Honecker, head of state and party leader: to congratulate the Chinese government for successfully cracking down on the counterrevolutionary […]


By Chang Ping, published: August 30, 2014   (This is Chang Ping’s fourth rebuttal, also declined publication by Deutsche Welle, to Frank Sieren’s defense of the Tiananmen massacre, the “right to forget,” and his accusation that some criticisms against the Chinese government are gross exaggerations (links in German) in the Sieren vs. Chang Ping debate earlier this year in DW about the June 4th massacre in 1989 in China. Read Tiananmen Massacre not a “Passing Lapse” of the Chinese Government, Without the Right to Remember There Can Be No Freedom to Forget, and How Brainwashing Works in China, Chang Ping’s first, second and third rebuttals to Sieren. – The Editor)   In the two pieces he wrote in response to criticisms about how he portrayed the Chinese government, Mr. Frank Sieren never […]


By Chang Ping, published: August 30, 2014   (This is Chang Ping’s third rebuttal, declined publication by Deutsche Welle, to Frank Sieren’s defense of the Tiananmen massacre and the “right to forget“  (links in German) in the Sieren vs. Chang Ping debate earlier this year in DW about the June 4th massacre in 1989 in China. Read Tiananmen Massacre not a “Passing Lapse” of the Chinese Government, and Without the Right to Remember There Can Be No Freedom to Forget, Chang Ping’s first and second rebuttals to Sieren. – The Editor)   In his article, “From Tiananmen to Leipzig,” Frank Sieren reproaches Western media with “unilaterally exaggerating the facts in reporting the incident,” the “incident” in question being the Tiananmen massacre. After Chinese commentators, including myself, raised objections, the example Sieren gives […]


By Chang Ping, published: August 23, 2014   (This is Chang Ping’s rebuttal to Frank Sieren’s Let Fairness Replace Anger [link in German], the second round of the Sieren vs. Chang Ping debate in June this year in Deutsche Welle about the June 4th massacre in 1989 in China. Read Tiananmen Massacre not a “Passing Lapse” of the Chinese Government, Chang Ping’s rebuttal to Frank Sieren’s  From Tian’anmen To Leipzig [link in German], the first round of the debate. – The Editor)   Matthias von Hein, a Deutsche Welle (DW) commentator, quotes George Orwell’s “1984” in his essay on the Tiananmen massacre anniversary: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” The Chinese Communist regime is in the process of carrying out this aphorism. I am therefore compelled to engage DW’s Beijing correspondent, Mr. […]


By Chang Ping, published: July 8, 2014   On June 4, Deutsche Welle published a piece by its China correspondent, Frank Sieren, titled: “From Tiananmen to Leipzig” (German, Chinese translation).  In this article, Mr. Sieren takes an inventive angle on the bloody act which took place twenty five years ago in Beijing. In angry protest, a number of Chinese advocates, including student leaders Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi, human rights lawyer Teng Biao, and the group Tiananmen Mothers, have issued signed statements. What follows is my attempt to explain what prompted this outcry, and to explore the issues at hand with Mr. Sieren. Mr. Sieren writes that “We would perhaps never know what happened twenty-five years ago in Beijing,” and that “for those in the […]


By Fengsuo Zhou, Yaxue Cao, published: June 11, 2014 Henry Degroot is a student at Newton North High School, Massachusetts. He wrote a pro-democracy note in a Chinese student’s notebook during an exchange program in Beijing and signed it. A Chinese teacher found out. Henry was detained for five hours, forced to apologize by his American teachers, and, back to America, the school barred him from prom.   As two naturalized Chinese Americans and democracy advocates, we feel compelled to offer our perspectives on Boston Globe’s recent story Newton student penalized for democracy notes in China. Fengsuo Zhou was a student leader during the Tian’anmen Square democracy movement in 1989, No.5 on Chinese government’s wanted list when the movement was crushed by tanks and machine […]


By China Change, published: June 9, 2014   On Monday, June 9th, China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old young female by the family name Zhao for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.” According to the report, the Chinese internet security police formed a task force to solve the case as soon as they discovered this particular tweet, and a multi-agency investigation led to Zhao’s arrest and the confiscation of her “criminal tool” – a laptop computer. The news alarmed the Chinese Twitter community. Many of them recalled a tweet they had read before June 4th, the 25th anniversary of Tian’anmen democracy movement, by “赵你@RFITB” […]


By Fang Zheng, published: June 6, 2014   Wuchang Kidnapping In Zhanjiang, I boarded a train to Wuchang, Hubei (湖北武昌) where I would transfer to the No. 88 train to Beijing. On the ferry, I met a middle-aged business woman, whose destination was Anyang, Henan, on the same route as me. She offered to keep me company and help me when I needed it. It was an arduous journey, and around noon we arrived in Wuchang. We bought tickets for the train to Beijing and then we went to have lunch outside the station. After lunch, I went to a public phone and I wanted to call a college classmate of mine to see if he could bring me a few clothes. Coming out of […]


By Fang Zheng, published: June 4, 2014   A Disabled Athlete to Represent China, or Maybe Not With the help of Wu Bei (吴蓓), a teacher at Beijing Steel and Iron College who also witnessed the Liubukou massacre, I settled in Hainan and worked for the real estate company run by Ms. Wu’s husband. After a while, I opened a small convenience shop on the premises of the residential development where I lived. In Hainan, I continued to train myself. In 1993, Hainan’s Disabled Persons’ Federation took me to two national tryout competitions that selected athletes to attend the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled in September, 1994, in Beijing. I was chosen. In May 1994, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) […]


Testimony by Zhou Fengsuo in front of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing on May 30, 2014 Published: June 4th, 2014   Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the committee: Thank you for inviting me to come to this special event, a time for remembrance and celebration. I would want to thank this committee for being such a powerful voice for freedom in China, not only today but for many years. I particularly would like to thank Mr. Chris Smith for your leadership and persistence. Twenty five years ago, I was deeply involved in organizing the demonstration in Tian’anman Square, and in the ensuing crackdown, I was No. 5 on the communist government’s wanted list known as the Tiananmen 21. It has been the greatest honor of my life. I […]


By Fang Zheng, published: June 3, 2014   The Morning  in Liubukou In the spring of 1989, I was a college senior in Beijing Sports College, and one of the tens of thousands of students who took part in the Tian’anmen democracy movement. I was in the Square most of those days.  I marched, participated in sit-ins, helped the rescue effort when students went on a hunger strike – there were 3,000 of them.  They began to collapse. And, after May 19 when Martial Law was announced, I was part of the student patrol to protect the square. During the days leading up to June 4th, the atmosphere was getting steadily grimmer. The announcement broadcast to us after dark on June 3rd was threatening: the military […]


  Published: June 23, 2013   I didn’t know who Du Bin (杜斌) was until recently when he had made, and released in Hong Kong and online, a documentary (1 hour, with subtitles) about the atrocities at Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp, following an exposé by The Lens magazine in April. Predictably, the online uproar was quickly censored, the magazine suspended, the women who had talked to the journalists threatened. An investigation promised by the local government has not and may never come. On May 31, Du Bin was taken away by security police from his rented apartment in Beijing on charges of “provoking disturbances.” So far, his relatives have not received the notice of detention to which they are entitled by law. However, the security police […]


  According to sources close to him, Du Bin (杜斌), an independent writer, film maker, and formerly a photographer for the New York Times, was confirmed on Sunday to have been criminally detained on May 31 by state security police in Beijing. He was charged with “printing illegal publications” and detained in the detention center of Fengtai District, Beijing. Du Bin has been missing for days and details of his “disappearance” emerged only in the last 48 hours or so. Prominent Beijing-based dissident Hu Jia (胡佳) told media that more than ten security police –only two of them in uniform and the others in plain clothes — raided Du Bin’s rented apartment on the night of May 31. His girlfriend last spoke to him around […]


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