• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Tiananmen: the Empire’s Big Lie

Early in 1989, China was stirring. A decade of groundbreaking reforms inspired by Deng Xiaoping had brought the moribund economy to life and freed the nation from the ideological shackles imposed by radical Maoists during the cataclysmic Cultural Revolution. Almost everything seemed possible, as Deng proteges Hu Yaobang and then Zhao Ziyang led policymaking on a day-to-day basis.

But the changes sweeping China had its dark undersides. Large-scale economic reforms also meant expanded corruption opportunities, which many officials exploited. And Chinese who “got rich first,” under the Dengist dispensation, opened a rapidly expanding wealth gap with fellow citizens. Discontent simmered dangerously.

The death in April of the popular but officially disgraced Hu Yaobang provided a trigger for its release. Student-led demonstrations to honor the late party leader gradually spilled over into an occupation of Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart & soul of modern China. As the country and the world looked on with fascinated disbelief, the protests swelled beyond authorities’ control. Anger, frustration, tensions built, reaching a shattering climax in the early morning of June 4. And the rest, as they say, was history.

But which history? In the nearly three decades since the tragedy, Beijing-unfriendly forces worldwide — mainly Western countries and anti-CPC Chinese — have unfailingly staged commemorations to remind everyone how frightful the Chinese Communists were, and are. It would be less egregious if their narrative were true, but it is not. In fact, the story, spun immediately during and after Beijing’s crackdown, is one of greatest propaganda hoaxes in modern times.

In essence, it says that Chinese authorities massacred unarmed student protesters demanding democracy, slaughtering thousands and even tens of thousands in and around Tiananmen Square. Extensive subsequent research and many eyewitness accounts have shown conclusively that none of this is true. The most reliable estimate, from many sources, was that the tragedy took 200-300 lives. Few were students, many were rebellious workers, plus thugs with lethal weapons and hapless bystanders. Some calculations have up to half the dead being PLA soldiers trapped in their armored personnel carriers, buses and tanks as the vehicles were torched. Others were killed and brutally mutilated by protesters with various implements. No one died in Tiananmen Square; most deaths occurred on nearby Chang’an Avenue, many up to a kilometer or more away from the square.

More than once, government negotiators almost reached a truce with students in the square, only to be sabotaged by radical youth leaders seemingly bent on bloodshed. And the demands of the protesters focused on corruption, not democracy.

All these facts were known to the US and other governments shortly after the crackdown. Few if any were reported by Western mainstream media, even today. Perpetuation of the big lie about Tiananmen reminds one of the infamous saying by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbel: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

The Tiananmen drama needs also to be seen in historical context. It occurred the same time that civil-resistance movements were bringing down Soviet-bloc governments across Eastern Europe, ostensibly with behind-the-scenes support from the US-led Western Empire. Though no smoking gun has been produced yet, there are pointers suggesting Tiananmen was a prototype “color revolution,” the type the world has since come to know so well. Chinese sources accused the British of using Tiananmen as a pretext to introduce democracy in Hong Kong and renege on previous bilateral understandings relating to London’s return of the territory to Beijing.

For China, the tragedy triggered the biggest crisis of the Dengist era of reform & opening up. The internal wounds and Western-led international boycotts nearly killed off China’s epic effort to restore national order, rebuild its economy and achieve a modest level of prosperity. Conservative, inward-looking forces gained the upper hand in Beijing and they tried to reverse some of the reforms. By 1992, the program had stalled dangerously. Then Deng, who’d retired and kept a low profile since Tiananmen, bypassed Beijing to make a comeback in Guangdong. His “Southern Tour” electrified the nation and whipped his reforms back to vigorous life. And the rest, truly, is history.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
Nyla Ali Khan
The Sociopolitical and Historical Context That Shaped Kashmiri Women Like My Grandmother in the 1940s
Louis Proyect
Does Neo-Feudalism Define Our Current Epoch?
Ralph Nader
S. David Freeman: Seven Decades of Participating in Power for All of Us
Norman Solomon
Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police and Her VP Quest
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuela in the 2020 Pandemic
Ron Mitchell
Defending Our Public Lands: One Man’s Legacy
Nomi Prins 
The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style: Crashes, Then and Now
Richard C. Gross
About That City on A Hill
Kathleen Wallace
An Oath for Hypocrites
Eve Ottenberg
Common Preservation or Extinction?
Graham Peebles
Air Pollution Mental Illness and Covid-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Unearned Income for All
Evan Jones
The Machine Stops
Nicky Reid
Proudhon v. Facebook: A Mutualist Solution to Cyber Tyranny
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What is a “Native” Plant in a Changing World?
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Why are Our Leaders Still Putting Their Faith in the Rich?
John Kendall Hawkins
In Search of the Chosŏn People of Lost Korea
Jill Richardson
Tens of Millions of Are Out of Work, Why on Earth is Trump Trying to Cut Food Aid?
Susan Block
Incel Terrorism
David Yearsley
Plague Music
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail