June 4th 1989: Part 2

The Mechanisms of Control

June 5th 1989. The dust had settled on Tiananmen Square. What had caused it had not gone unnoticed, yet, eventually, it served to cover up the foundations of governance in Mainland China. Once more, tyrannical dictatorship had won the battle, and utilising all the mechanisms of state power, the war was being won too.

Foreign press representatives were banned from the country, to maintain at least a modicum of reputation in the eyes of the world. The discerning observer would, of course, note that the necessity of this move merely exacerbates the problem – political thinking under the CCP is extremely insular.

On the 9th of June, Deng Xiaoping made his thoughts on the events public for the first time. He stated that the true objective of the protesters was to “…establish a totally Western-dependent bourgeois republic…” and “…the entire imperialist Western world plans to make all socialist countries discard the socialist road and then bring them under the monopoly of international capital and onto the capitalist road.” There is some truth to this second analysis.

He went on to recognise the martyrdom of the People’s Liberation Army soldiers who had lost their lives in the struggle to maintain social order on behalf of their leadership. These sentiments were echoed throughout state-controlled media publications – once rogue reporters had been dealt with. Two news anchors who reported the event for the 7:00 pm show on June 4th for China Central Television were fired because they showed their sad emotions. Within a year, 150 films were banned; 8% of publishing companies, 12% of newspapers and 13% of social science periodicals were shut down. 32 million contraband books and 2.4 million video and audio cassettes were seized. In the internet era, similar censorship protocols are in place as you read this. In January 2006, Google removed information from their their Google.cn site on topics such as Taiwan independence, Tibet, Falun Gong, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Transmission 6-10 interviewee Matt Whitticase, of Free Tibet Campaign had this to say:

“French Tourism ministry, in a pamphlet, advised French businessmen and French hoteliers never to mention the ‘Three T Words’: Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen, because they didn’t want to offend Chinese people. This is a direct attack on our democratic principles and norms that we’ve built up over hundreds of years. And the view that we have to literally bow down in front of China and accept its anti-democratic processes is an extremely worrying one for the future of democratic societies in the west.”

Google did the right thing. Eventually. In January of 2010, they rescinded their co-operation with the CCP by moving their headquarters to Hong Kong. Freeing themselves from Party control.

The democracy movement of 1989 did not just occur in Beijing. It spread throughout the country. The West’s focus was Tiananmen Square, simply because that was where the journalists were stationed. What happened elsewhere escaped the global general population’s attention. Protests. Riots. Killings. It really was a threat to Communist Party rule. So much of a threat that Western observers foresaw the collapse of the Party as being imminent.

In the wake of the atrocities, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank suspended loans to China (now the West is actually in financial debt to the Chinese government). Foreign Direct Investment ceased. An arms trade embargo was put in place (which was objected to by the then leaders of Germany and France – Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac) by the United States and European Union. In response, the Chinese government increased its defence spending from 8.6% in 1986 to 15.5% in 1990. They did, to their credit, also invest in non-lethal forms of crowd control.

In the interests of maintaining peaceful relations with China, many Asian nations remained silent on the massacre. Most notably, India went as far as curtailing broadcasts on the subject so as to appease the CCP – Matt Whitticase was right! Not surprisingly, North Korea, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany supported Deng Xiaoping’s campaign to crush freedom.

The campaign also sought to eradicate sympathisers within the party itself. A lack of unity was exposed in the buildup to the use of military action. General Secretary, at the time, Zhao Ziyang (instrumental in the development of economic reforms) opposed the use of force. His stance was countered by Li Peng’s intention to flex the muscles. Zhao Ziyang was placed under house arrest, and remained there until his death in January of 2005. His crime? Compassion!

The economic reforms did lead to economic growth. The prosperity of China on the global scene meant the government regained the support of the people. The support of the people is heavily manipulated. 300 million citizens of China still live in poverty. They don’t count though, as they dwell in rural areas and are easily kept in check. The demographics that are the most important to control are the workers – they are happy, thanks to massive Western reliance on manufacturing – and the intellectuals. Artists come and go….just ask Wei Wei!

Jumping to the present day and then looking backwards. The current leader of the CCP is Hu Jintao. Hu deployed 1,700 armed police to Lhasa (capital of Tibet) as unrest in the region grew as the 30th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, drew nearer. When riots did occur, the armed police suppressed the subjugated Tibetans with brutal force. This occurred merely months before the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Unsurprisingly, Hu Jintao immediately gave his support to central government for their use of force on June 4th.

Hu Jintao succeeded Jiang Zemin. As mentioned in Part 1, Jiang was not shy of acting the dictator before his time either. It was Jiang Zemin who banned Falun Gong and initiated the worst of human rights abuses in known history. That an equally maniacal political figure should take his place is just evidence that the CCP intend to see the persecution of Falun Gong through to the end. It has been almost 12 years since the banning of the spiritual group on July 20th 1999. They have not given up their struggle for freedom, and the difference between Falun Gong and the protestors of 1989 is that they are dispersed in great numbers around the world, are organised, have financial means, and, can make use of technology that didn’t exists 22 years ago.

The computer that this is being written on was manufactured in China. The one you are reading this on was probably also manufactured there. Go ahead and look at almost anything these days and you will find at least a component that was manufactured in China. We in the West cannot live without the efforts of the Chinese workers – who are horrendously underpaid. We have a lot to give thanks for. We can also thank our governments for taking advantage of a dictatorship that cares not for its own people. But wait….what does that make us? Yes. It makes us all party to genocide. It is as simple as that. We elect our governments. They make decisions on our behalf. They trade massively with China despite knowing how the CCP treats its people. Oh. On second thoughts. You probably have absolutely no idea what is really going on in China. There is a simple reason for that. No-body has told you. Who would you expect to hear information from? Your media. Well…your media is hiding something from you. Perhaps, as is the case in any dictatorship, they are afraid that if you know too much, you may have an opinion on matters that is in stark contrast to the ruling elite. Sounds like we might also be living in a form of dictatorship. Control. Manipulation. Censorship. Coercion. It all exists just as much in the West as it does in China……which is why in Part 1, T610 points out that the West is just more subtle in how it ‘handles’ us.

Political liberalisation in other communist countries around the world was affected by the massacre – the first televised incident of its kind. Communist nations felt a greater sense of destabilisation, and in China, that meant re-structuring the party itself to ensure that dissent within the ranks would not hinder future monopoly of power. Prior to the protests, the President held a symbolic role. To prevent the authoritarian Moaist dictatorship, true power was spread between the Premier, the General Secretary and the President. Paramount power has been enjoyed by both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. It has also been wielded to the full extent of Maoist dictatorship.

Rather than face investigation (with 30,000 communist officers deployed to carry it out), several ambassadors took the opportunity to claim political asylum in their host nations. Four million people were investigated over their roles in the protests. One million government officials were scrutinised.

The focus of the investigation was not, as what one would expect, to discover who had ordered the killings or done the actual killing. It was to discern who had gotten in the way of the utilisation of the full armoury of tyranny. Those responsible never faced administrative or criminal sanctions. The United Nations requested that the State conduct a full and impartial investigation (they said the same thing about Organ Harvesting). Did it not occur to the UN that it was the State themselves, and no period of time lapse would make a difference, who had carried out the massacre – and from their perspective, rightly so. The United Nations was established after WWII to safeguard human rights. As an organisation, they have actually not achieved that…..China is not an exception in this regard.

Time has passed since 1989. A lot of it. In 2006 American broadcasters interviewed four enrolled students at the Peking University and showed them a picture of Tank Man. None of the four knew what the photo was about. The mechanisms of control work well.

Tiananmen Square is Massive (440,000m² – that is 63 UK football fields). It is the largest city square in the world. 1 million people had taken to the streets during the uprising of ’89. In Hong Kong, 1.6 million people (from a population of just 6million) echoed the sentiments of their Mainland counterparts in revulsion at the behaviour of their soon to be rulers. Since the hand-over of control from Britain to China, Hong Kong remains the one place where vigils are annually held. Mainland China has all but forgotten the incident – or rather, they have been trained to. Under Operation Yellowbird, some dissidents found refuge in HK. The people of Hong Kong long feared CCP rule, which led to many families moving overseas to the US, Canada and Australia prior to 1997.

Wherever Chinese people live in the world outside of the Mainland, the sacrifices their countrymen and women made have not been forgotten. The 20th anniversary of the Massacre was commemorated by them. In China, measures were taken to ensure that no such commemoration could exist. The internet was heavily censored and foreign journalists were denied entry to the square…just in case. Dissidents who resided in Beijing were forced to stay at home, or told to leave the city.

Political change is no-longer in the minds of the Chinese people. The country ‘feels’ more free. It ‘feels’ to be a greater part of the global community (the Beijing Games of 2008 helped with that). Those who can seriously rock the boat, rather than tread water along side it, ‘feel’ more prosperous. China has changed, in their eyes. T610 thinks otherwise, and believes that the West has played a major part in ensuring that. But that’s another blog!

Incidentally. Got to www.wikipedia.org and type in Tienanmen Square Massacre. Make note of the page title you are directed to!