On the night of June 3rd 1989, tanks and armored vehicles of the People's Liberation Army moved into Beijing and put an end to seven weeks of peaceful protest.
WANG DAN - Student
After the shooting on the night of June 3rd, when I found out that so many people had died, I felt neither anger nor sorrow - nothing. I was completely numb, there was a huge emptiness. I just couldn't believe they would open fire.
DING ZILIN - Professor
In the first few days after my son was killed, many friends, colleagues and students came to express their sympathy. They all said that soon the official verdict would be overturned.
But as investigations and arrests began, fewer and fewer people came to see me. When people ran into me, they were silent. It was as though nothing had ever happened.
Events do not deliver their meanings to us. They are always interpreted.
On the morning of June 5th, there was a moment that would come to symbolize the hope and the tragedy of those spring days.
MAN FACING THE COLUMN OF TANKS
He disappeared into the crowd afterwards, and no one knows where he is now. No one is even certain of his name.
But for the millions who saw this scene all over the world its meaning was clear: Here was human hope and courage challenging the remorseless machinery of state power.
The Chinese government interpreted the scene just as simply, but differently:
Anyone with common sense can see that if our tanks were determined to move on, this lone scoundrel could never have stopped them. This scene recorded on videotape flies in the face of Western propaganda. It proves that our soldiers exercised the highest degree of restraint.
In the days after the end of the protest at Tiananmen, large numbers of people were arrested all over China.
HAN DONGFANG - Worker
I heard the government's "most wanted list" on the radio. At first it seemed only students were on the list, but I finally heard my own name.
I couldn't stand the humiliation of being hunted down by the police. I wanted to maintain as much dignity as possible while facing the inevitable. So I decided to go to the police on my own.
I told the police, "I've come here because you've got your facts wrong. I
don't know if it's deliberate or because you don't understand what really
happened. Since I was involved I feel it's my duty to straighten you
When individuals stand up to power, they bring to the encounter the lessons that power has taught them, and the harm it has done them. Merely to stand up does not free us from these things.
Behind every gesture of hope and courage lies a life, a society, a history.
Tiananmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, is the gate leading into the Imperial City, for centuries the center of power in China.
In 1919, though the Emperor had long been overthrown, students gathered at Tiananmen to denounce the government's failure to stand up to the foreign powers.
Their protest spread quickly through the country and came to be known as the May 4th Movement. Years of student demonstrations followed.
Despite violent government repression, arrests, and killings, generation after generation the students came out to protest, inspiring other Chinese to follow them.
China was in danger, and corrupt officials didn't care. Young intellectuals felt they must place their lives on the line to awaken the people. They aimed to save the nation through democracy and modern science, and the discarding of oppressive traditions.
1949 ARMY ON THE MARCH
When the great change did come, it came from the countryside -- a peasant army led in part by people who had participated in the student protests.
Mao Zedong's Communist army entered Beijing in 1949. National power returned to the city.
And to Tiananmen.
The traditional rulers of China had always remained hidden behind the closed gates of the Imperial City. When Mao appeared before the people atop Tiananmen, he reversed centuries of symbolism.
The center of power was visibly shifted, from the Imperial City behind the gate to the broad masses in front -- all facing the leader, who stood above.
GE YANG - Former government official
Before the founding ceremonies of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Tiananmen Square was full of weeds as high as your waist. Students from Beijing and Qinghua Universities volunteered to clear away all the weeds. Yes, it was students then too. At that time, young people were very enthusiastic about the People's Liberation Army, and about the revolution.
It was at Tiananmen that the People's Republic of China was founded. It was at Tiananmen that Mao announced, "The Chinese people have stood up."
MAO, October 1949:
The central government of the People's Republic of China is hereby established!
DAI QING - Writer
When I was a child, I went to Tiananmen twice a year for the parades. Mao stood on Tiananmen Gate. After the parade had passed, a huge crowd of children would rush up to the Gate, shouting joyfully. No words, just the sound of children's voices. This created the desired effect.
I was one of those children. I would wave flowers or release balloons or doves. Mao would wave his hand like this.
At that time, many Communist leaders moved into quarters within the old imperial city. Before, they had lived with the peasants, and it was said, "Fish cannot live out of water." But after the Revolution if a peasant went into the city to look up a leader he had known in the past, he wouldn't be able to find him--the water could no longer find the fish; the fish were inside the Palace.
And Mao himself became in effect the Emperor, hailed as a man who would live forever.
Of course, I was unable to see it like this in the 1950's.
BUILDING TIANANMEN SQUARE
In the 1950's the Government ordered the building of a great square in front of Tiananmen to accommodate the Masses.
Several of China's later leaders first came to prominence as dedicated model workers in the building of the Square.
The gigantic Square would become the largest public space in the world, and the center of Chinese political life. On one side of it was built a Great Hall of the People, on the other a Museum of History and the Revolution.
In the center of the Square stood the monument commemorating the martyrs of the Revolution. A tombstone of the great dead which consecrates the Square as sacred ground.
The monument depicts scenes from China's history since 1840. There are no recognizable individuals; collectively, they represent the people.
Among the ancestors of new China pictured on the monument are the students
of May 4, 1919, protesting before the Gate itself.
When the students of 1989 occupied Tiananmen Square, they made their headquarters here, beneath images of other students who changed China's history. They were consciously associating themselves with the tradition of student protest in China. By their own actions, they were adding further meaning to this place: the place in all of China most charged with meaning.
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
Good morning, beloved Peking.
Good morning, beloved Tiananmen, Gate of Heavenly Peace.
In Mao's era Tiananmen became the symbol of the new China. The Gate and the Square: the people, and the leader who expressed the people's will.
Tiananmen had once led into the Imperial Palace. Now it was the focus of Mao's Square.
Mao and Tiananmen were one.
Tiananmen Square became completely entangled with the lives of the Chinese people. This was because under the Communist Party, everyone's life became involved with politics.
When I graduated from university in 1966, I sincerely believed what I was taught, that I was a brand new bolt to be used in the construction of the great mansion of Communism. I was willing to be put wherever my country needed me, and I was prepared to stay in place my whole life.
To me, Mao was like God. I believed that he was not only the great leader of the Chinese people, but also the great leader of people throughout the world. I feared the day when he would no longer be with us. I really hoped there'd be a scientific breakthrough that'd enable young people like us to give up voluntarily a year of our own lives, to add a minute to his. That way the world would be saved.
In 1976, Mao died between an earthquake and a solar eclipse: traditional portents of the end of an era.
At the funeral the great throng faced Tiananmen, but the place where Mao had often stood was empty. All the leaders remained on a platform below.
Mao still resides in the Square.
The mausoleum built in 1977 at the south end of the Square is not a tomb so much as a grand villa. It contains a huge marble armchair for the Chairman.
And a bed too where he lies.
I didn't shed a single tear when Mao died. I felt I'd been cheated. I've never visited the Mao mausoleum. It is so disgusting.
Mao is dead but not gone.
The great portrait that hangs on Tiananmen still presides over every parade and celebration held in the great Square.
During the student demonstrations of 1989 three men from Mao's own home province of Hunan splattered the great portrait with ink. The students immediately distanced themselves from this act. They denounced the outrage, and helped arrest the men responsible.
Shortly after the desecration, gale force winds blew and torrents of rain fell on the Square.
Some people actually wondered: was the Chairman displeased?
Within hours the portrait was replaced.
But it is not only Mao's face: his vision of history, his language, his actions, still loom large in China's imagination.
Communism is actually a promise of something perfect. It is easy for people who are dissatisfied with all the imperfections of real life to be attracted to it. During the 1930's and 40's, many people were drawn to the Communist Party because they wanted to escape the ugly reality, and they longed for the promise.
Throughout the first decade of the revolution, that promise had the support of large segments of society.
Mao provided the vision of an ideal society, but he had little interest in the day to day work of bringing it about. That was left to his associates. Among them was Deng Xiaoping.
Mao had the personality of a romantic poet. Deng's is that of a pragmatist. He is not a puritanical theoretician or an idealist. He is different from Mao in that he knows that when people are hungry they need to eat. They can't live on poetry.
During the 1950's, Mao launched wave after wave of persecutions against people who held different views. By 1959, no one dared express any dissenting opinions any more. He had to have the last word on everything. And people would have tolerated it if his policies had worked out well. But he made a mess of things. Millions of people starved to death. So his comrades had to help patch things up. This meant a slight retreat from Mao's utopian illusions.
Deng liked to quote a Sichuan proverb: "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white; if it catches mice, it's a good cat."
But Mao's solution, when things went wrong, was always more revolution, not less. He saw anyone who stood between him and his masses as an enemy. He saw bureaucrats and lingering bourgeois elements undermining the original promise of the revolution.
Against the government bureaucracy, Mao mobilized his masses: A fresh uprising of the people, the only source of progress. Mao called it a cultural revolution.
The people were enjoying daminzhu , mass democracy. "Chaos can't harm us," he proclaimed. "It can only harm our enemies."
Mao lost control of the Cultural Revolution. It became a war of all against all.
Deng Xiaoping was among those attacked. Mao stripped him of his power, then later brought him back to repair a shattered society.
Like those in power who had experienced Mao's mass democracy, Deng Xiaoping's greatest fear would be dongluan : turmoil, chaos, upheaval.
When the students of 1989 took to the streets, they too were branded as stirring up dongluan . Many leaders in the government saw them in the light of the past; they were a throwback to the horrors of the Cultural Revolution that had nearly destroyed China.
At the end of the Cultural Revolution the Chinese economy was on the verge of bankruptcy. What could be done? Now here's where Deng Xiaoping was really smart. His prescription was capitalism -- reform and opening up actually meant learning from capitalism. But he couldn't say that outright, because capitalism was supposed to be our arch enemy.
Now how could you turn around and learn from our enemy? So Deng came up with something called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics."
He followed his instincts. First and foremost, the people didn't have enough to eat; they had to be fed. Secondly, people who had been politically wronged had to be exonerated. These were very practical things. Little did he know what tremendous changes would be triggered once this process began.
It was deep winter, 1979, when a thaw began to be felt.
A stretch of bare wall near the city center became a place where people posted their hopes and fears about the new China. There were a dozen unofficial journals too, and new voices heard.
A young man named Wei Jingsheng wrote a poster: what China needed was more than the "Four Modernizations" the government was promoting, in agriculture, industry, science, and defense. China needed a fifth modernization: democracy.
Democracy wasn't the result of progress, Wei Jingsheng argued, it was a pre-condition for progress.
Meanwhile Deng Xiaoping was on the road.
Apparently moving away from Communist ideology, Deng was welcomed in America. Time Magazine named him "Man of the Year." In the US, China's economic reforms were greeted with enthusiasm.
DENG AT KENNEDY CENTER
KENNEDY CENTER ANNOUNCER
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, and his Excellency, Deng Xiaoping, the Vice-Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China.
"Rocky Mountain High, Rocky Mountain High."
Mr. Vice-Premier, it is with great joy that we welcome you to our country, and it is with true love that we extend our very best wishes to you and your people, on your "New Long March Toward Modernization In This Century."
I thank you very much. Huitoujian.
Deng Xiaoping went to America, and soon after, Hope came to China.
BOB HOPE ON THE GREAT WALL
Hey we're off on the road to China, with fun and adventure in mind.
The Seventh Wonder of the World is here beneath our feet,
Compared to this the road to Mandelay is obsolete.
BOB HOPE ON TIANANMEN SQUARE
Hey, this is it, Peking, China. Amazing isn't it? Just 10 years ago who would've dreamt an American comedian would be standing here in Tiananmen Square, saying whatever he pleased and photographing anything he pleased. But in this fast-moving world, radical changes can occur overnight.
Take a look at this Square, almost a hundred acres. Looks like Jackie Gleason's patio. Now they can get a million and a half people in here. Of course they're not here today -- nobody knew I was coming.
Americans felt an enormous relief: the Chinese are, after all, just like us. They want what we want, and maybe we can sell it to them.
WEI JINGSHENG TRIAL
But even as China and the U.S. swapped celebrities and made deals, the dark gates closed on others.
For his warning that Deng might become a new dictator, Wei Jingsheng was framed and sentenced to fifteen years.
He was still in prison when the students came to Tiananmen in 1989 to demand democracy.
Few of them knew his story.
WU GUOGUANG - Former government official
In China, if you wanted to express your opinions you had to speak from within the Communist Party. If you talked outside they'd throw you in jail.
The only option for a pure idealist is to commit suicide. I once wrote an essay entitled, "Commit suicide and save the country." Of course it didn't pass the censors.
I'd completely lost faith in the Communist Party. I thought the only workable thing is trying to join up and change it. Committing suicide myself wouldn't do the country much good. A more useful thing to do was to help the Communist Party commit suicide. Lenin had taught us that the easiest way to take a fortress is from within. There's also the Trojan horse in ancient Greece. If you can't win through confrontation, you have to try sneaking inside. That someone like myself could join the Party was because cracks had already appeared. Before Deng's reforms, someone like me would never have been let in.
1984 NATIONAL DAY PARADE
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
Now begins the grand mass parade to celebrate the 35th anniversary for the founding of the People's Republic of China.
By 1984, when the People's Republic marked its 35th Anniversary, there was something new to celebrate -- the success of Deng Xiaoping's reforms.
Once, Deng had been purged by Mao for his disobedience.
Now Deng was no longer under the Great Teacher's shadow. He could make his own plans, and he had the power to execute them. He would be called the Grand Architect of reform.
By Deng's side were his loyal ministers, Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang: men given the task of reform -- men who could also be blamed when reform went too far.
Some students in the parade raised a homemade banner greeting Deng by his first name: "Hello, Xiaoping!" -- an unheard-of liberty.
People were genuinely grateful to Deng.
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
China's industry is advancing toward modernization. Like agriculture it will soon be carried forward on the wave of reform.
The early reforms brought quick and dramatic change.
In the countryside, communes were broken up. Rural markets were revived.
Farmers started to make money. There was a lot more money to be made.
The old men in charge were changing China. The results were going to be seen everywhere.
After decades of relative isolation, China was looking outward to the world.
Just ahead, all the enticements of capitalism beckoned.
RETURN TO PARADE
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
Our life is getting better and better. The light industry float shows how life is becoming more colorful as our living standards rise.
The National Day celebrations in 1984 were an elaborate, enthusiastic affair. Many people saw a bright future ahead.
But why did my friends and I feel so depressed? The overcast sky, the lone figure of Deng Xiaoping popping out of that car, riding stern-faced down Chang'an Avenue: I thought it all boded ill for the future. That kind of spectacle was the heritage of the Mao era. It was an embodiment of revolution. And for us, revolution was made up of a small number of ambitious political careerists on the one hand and the frenzied masses on the other. And we were fed up with all that.
A measure of economic prosperity had been achieved by 1984, but we saw countless difficulties ahead, and we didn't know how heavy a price the Chinese people might still have to pay. All I could do was to help change things bit by bit. I knew I couldn't make that much difference, but that didn't matter, because there was nothing else worth doing anyway.
'84 NATIONAL DAY NIGHT CELEBRATIONS, FIREWORKS
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
Singing and dancing, a million and a half people in the capital attended the grand National Day evening carnival. The carnival evening will forever remain in our memory. Come to see Tiananmen, come to see our country in five years time!
FIVE YEARS LATER: 1989
GUNSHOTS, FIRE BURNING BEFORE TIANANMEN GATE
Petitioning the government is common enough in every country. It doesn't necessarily result in death -- except, of course, in China.
Lu Xun, 1926
On May 28, 1989, a student leader named Chai Ling requested an interview with an American journalist.
Tiananmen Square was then occupied by students for weeks. Martial law had been declared. No one knew what might happen.
The interview was recorded with a home video camera.
CHAI LING - Student
These may be my last words. Because the situation is becoming very grim. My name is Chai Ling. I am 23 years old. Oddly enough, my birthday is on April 15, the day Hu Yaobang died.
Hu Yaobang had been the General Secretary of the Party and Deng Xiaoping's chosen successor.
Public mourning for Hu would last for a week, and would become the ground from which all the demonstrations of 1989 would grow.
In many ways the movement is not very mature. An opportunity presented itself accidentally. No one knew Hu Yaobang was going to die when he did.
This movement is a great manifestation of the natural democratic instincts of the students and the people, a spontaneous expression of the people's own interests. I've come into contact with people from all walks of life. They feel they have no security. Many have gone overseas. I feel this country is finished! It's going to die!
Hu Yaobang had been removed from power two years before his death. He had been accused of leaning toward bourgeois liberalism.
No one protested openly when Hu was purged. But now people claimed him as a champion of enlightened rule.
Mourning for him became a cover for protest against those still in power -- or as it was said at the time: "The men who should drop dead are still alive; yet the man who should be alive is dead."
FENG CONGDE - Student
In Chinese culture, there's a phenomenon I'd call the cult of the dead. After death, all the man's flaws are forgotten and his memory is enshrined in a halo of glory. Then people use the dead man to vent their anger and express their hopes
It was clear to me that people weren't simply concerned with one man's death. Hu Yaobang's death made it possible for a crowd to gather in a public place, and gave them something to discuss. And that led to discussions of all kinds of other issues. Most of the talk was about our own lives.
ZHAO HONGLIANG - Worker
My parents kept saying, "In the past although wages were low, it was easy to raise you three children. How come these days, even with you holding a job, we're always short of money?"
Deng Xiaoping's reforms, which had been so popular, were disappointing a lot of people by the end of the 80's.
Workers could no longer count on life-long employment, the iron rice bowl, and the socialist safety net of medical benefits and pensions was being dismantled.
Factories had trouble paying their workers, so they kicked out a bunch of people. But they didn't use the word "fire." They called it "re-prioritizing the work force." All these things came with reform.
Everyone knows what happened in the early stages of capitalism. The competition was savage, and there was no protection for the weak. In the quest for profits there was a total disregard for the impact on the society and the environment. This is exactly what's happening in China right now.
We're in a transitionary period. The reforms are necessary, but workers have to protect their own interests.
To get rich was glorious, said the government, but those who got rich were mostly people in power and insiders who had always done well.
Only government and industry cadres could work the turnover: buying goods at fixed government prices and selling them on the free market at a big profit.
More than anything else, workers complained of corruption.
The officials take and take, damn it. So why can't we take? How come when we take, we're called criminals and when you take, you're not?
MOURNING FOR HU YAOBANG AT SQUARE
People needed to vent their anger, but they were worried because so many had been persecuted in the past just for speaking out.
In a crowd, they felt it was safe to let off steam. Often someone would rant and rave and then quickly disappear back into the crowd.
But I felt that the reason for a lot of my suffering was that hardly anyone took responsibility for what they said or did. I thought I should try to set an example. So I told people my name whenever I spoke, to show that I was prepared to take the consequences for what I said. I wanted to indicate to people that to change a society you had to start with yourself.
Students and intellectuals had been among the strongest supporters of the reforms. Yet after a decade of economic growth, they enjoyed few of the benefits.
There's a saying in Beijing: "You're as poor as a professor, and as dumb as a Ph.D." This was really true. No matter how hard you worked, you couldn't get anywhere.
There is something really wrong with the reforms. Those in power have benefited from them, not the people. Although there is superficial economic prosperity, the masses and intellectuals have been deprived of any hope or initiative.
HU FUNERAL CROWDS
MAN STANDING ON MONUMENT
Comrade Hu Yaobang passed away. He was an incorruptible official. He had no overseas bank accounts. His children did not climb to high positions because he was the head of the Communist Party. Yesterday we talked here about minzhu, democracy. What is minzhu? Min means "the people." Zhu means "to be in charge." We want to be in charge!
The Communist Party had always defined minzhu, democracy in just this way: the people, in charge.
But if real democracy was to be implemented, how were the people to take charge?
China is so huge, and communications are so bad, even if you were to call national elections tomorrow, how would people know whom to vote for?
Conditions weren't ripe for a sudden leap to that stage of democracy. But people did know whom they wanted to elect in their local communities. So, open elections were already possible at the village level. When this form of democracy became more routine, we could introduce broader elections on the county level and then higher and higher up.
Those of us who were working for Zhao Ziyang pushed for this type of grassroots-level democratic election. Of course, the hard-line Communists immediately saw this as a threat to their power, so they were deadset against it.
As for the intellectuals, they said, "Grassroots democracy is not important. What we want to determine is the fate of China, not just the fate of a village, a county!" So we had trouble getting support.
Students dissatisfied with the status quo might have taken up the hard work of building democracy at the local level. Or they might have organized to demand redress of their own grievances as underpaid and undervalued intellectual workers.
But that's not what interested most students. They talked, as Chinese students have always talked, of saving China.
Hu Yaobang's death was caused by the mental stress resulting from his illegal removal from office. We thought commemorating one man was not going to help China. To ensure our nation's positive development, we had to start transforming the political system. We wanted to use this opportunity to put forth our political demands.
Around midnight on April 17, we set out from Beijing University. We carried a banner that read: "The Soul of China."
On the morning of the 18th, over a thousand students held a meeting in the Square.
STUDENT ON SQUARE
Permit unofficial newspapers!
Guarantee freedom of association, and freedom of speech!
Raise the pay of intellectuals!
The students settled on seven demands, and wrote up a petition. They carried the petition to various government offices.
At Xinhuamen, the entrance to the old palace compound where China's top leaders live and work, the students waited for an answer.
The students surged towards the gate a number of times, so I went over to the big red columns. I called out to them, "I'm a worker. I've been a soldier myself, and I think what you're doing is very risky. This is the seat of the highest power in the nation. If you storm in, the government will have every reason to mow you down." I said, "To sacrifice yourselves like this is completely meaningless. We should use other methods to achieve our goals." I told people to stop pushing, to sit down and wait. Eventually the crowd settled down. There were no clashes that night. The next night I didn't go to Xinhuamen, but later I heard there'd been a bloody incident.
WUER KAIXI - Student
My friends! My friends! Move back!
Early this morning... Quiet! I'm an eyewitness to the April 20th atrocity which occurred early this morning. We were staging a sit-in, and we persisted until five this morning!
About one thousand police and soldiers brutally broke into our ranks. They savagely beat us up. They also beat up other citizens. They injured countless people! And they had their hands all over our women classmates!
Oppose suppression! Oppose violence! Down with dictatorship!
We are not a mob. We are civilized members of this society. I think everyone agrees that we must be orderly and disciplined in our actions. We are now coordinating with universities all over the city to boycott classes. We will not return to classes until we reach our goal.
To achieve concrete results, student activists felt they needed a new organization of their own.
Those who were willing to lead it were taking a great risk.
On the night of April 19th a new student union was formed at Beijing University. Seven people volunteered to be on the organizing committee. They became the leaders because they were courageous enough to step forward. There were no formal elections.
Later the committee made many efforts to organize elections. But because we constantly faced new crises, we couldn't do what we'd originally intended.
Organizing committees appeared on many Beijing campuses and, within days, formed a citywide coalition of independent student unions.
Before dawn on April 22, students gathered at Tiananmen for Hu Yaobang's official funeral.
The list of their grievances had lengthened. With every passing day, Hu and mourning in his name were acquiring greater significance.
Guarantee human rights!
Patriotism is not a crime!
Brutality is shameful!
We want free speech!
Hu Yaobang lives on!
On April 22nd, a memorial ceremony for Hu Yaobang was held in the Great Hall of the People.
When I entered, I felt that the atmosphere was very grim. The ceremony seemed hurried, and after Party Secretary General Zhao Ziyang read the eulogy, all the leaders from the Central Committee rushed off.
When I came out of the Great Hall of the People, I saw a huge crowd gathered in Tiananmen Square. I wanted to go over to them, but there were nine rows of police standing between us.
The students had brought their petition, and demanded that Li Peng, the prime minister, come out to accept it himself.
When we saw our classmates kneeling there holding the petition with raised arms, everyone cried. In it were our suggestions to the government, but we had to hand it in kneeling down. No one paid any attention. No one came forward to accept it.
LÜ JINGHUA - Worker
We all saw those three students. We workers felt: "Premier, you should come out. You should accept the petition and answer their demands. Even if you don't agree, you should at least make some gesture." But the Premier just left. He completely ignored the students. Now how do you expect people to take that?
How could the government be so callous? Many of us who had just gathered inside the Great Hall had taken part in student movements when we were young. So why were we treating the students this way now?
During those early days of the student movement, we pleaded with the authorities, petitioned them like loyal subjects in traditional China. At first we made direct appeals, then we pleaded with tears and on bended knee. Yes, we were even willing to kneel down before them, like subjects petitioning the emperor. We had to beg them to come out and talk to us. But then again, it is fair to say that the government virtually crumbled under the weight of our knees.
What the students were opposing now were the very same things we had opposed in our youth. Why had we turned into a party which was against the people and the students? This wasn't the same Communist Party I had originally joined.
NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH MARIA SHRIVER
Good evening. Thousands of Chinese students took to the streets today in defiance of a government ban on public protest. The students' chant was for democracy, their demands for political reform. The backdrop was a memorial service for fallen leader Hu Yaobang...
LIU XIAOBO - Teacher, literary critic
I was in New York at the time. This kind of news was on television and in the papers every day. When friends got together, all we talked about were these events. The TV images affected me deeply. I thought, what's the use of getting all worked up about it if you're so far away? I had to go back. So I got on a plane leaving New York on April 26th. When I was changing planes in Tokyo, I met someone who had just come from China. He said, "What do you think you can do back there? Haven't you heard about the editorial that just appeared? It calls the movement a plot of a small handful to instigate anti-party, anti-state 'dongluan.' "
Dongluan: turmoil, upheaval, chaos. A People's Daily editorial denounced the demonstrations.
"We must unequivocally oppose dongluan ," the headline read.
Such an editorial, appearing in the official Communist Party media, amounted to a charge of criminal conspiracy.
It was dangerous for me to go back then. I even asked about flights returning to New York. But then I heard the boarding announcement for my flight to Beijing. I didn't have time to hesitate. I had to get on that plane. I thought, What the heck, live or die, I'll just go.
With the April 26 editorial, the government took a firm stand against the student movement.
The Communist Party has a tradition of passing judgment on social incidents through the media. In the past, Mao had written quite a few People's Dailyeditorials himself. He launched a number of mass political persecutions this way.
That's why when the April 26 editorial came out, people assumed that it represented Deng's attitude toward the student demonstrations.
Everyone expected that the government would crack down on any new demonstrations.
LIANG XIAOYAN - Teacher
We were very angry. What petty minds! These people in the government have gone completely haywire! Just listen to what they're saying. It sounds like the Cultural Revolution all over again. The mindset, even the words, were identical to the editorial which came out after the Tiananmen Incident of 1976. We all lived through that episode. And we know how that ended up.
ZHOU ENLAI FUNERAL, 1976
The editorial of April 26 reminded many people of what happened after another great state funeral: the events of 1976 known to everyone as the Tiananmen Incident.
In January of 1976, Premier Zhou Enlai, Mao's close associate, one of the great heroes of the revolution, died.
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
The people of the capital could not restrain their bitter grief. They left their homes, and gathered on the sidewalks of the Chang'an Boulevard, along which the cortege would pass.
Zhou was widely regarded as a moderate, more humane and tolerant than other top leaders.
Just as the mourning for Hu Yaobang in 1989 was the occasion for protest, the outpouring of grief for Zhou Enlai was a reproach to the hard-liners in power.
OFFICIAL MOVIE VOICE-OVER
Can't you stop for a minute, dear Premier? This is Tiananmen. Don't you remember the many festive occasions that we celebrated here together? Your ringing laughter is still in our ears. Your warm gaze rests on our tears. Beloved Premier Zhou, how we miss you! How we need you!
The times when important leaders die are dangerous.
Zhou Enlai was a mentor of Deng Xiaoping. He helped bring Deng back into government to counter the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Deng gave the eulogy at Zhou's funeral.
But the events following Zhou's death would once again bring Deng Xiaoping down.
That April, during the traditional festival in honor of the dead, thousands of people gathered spontaneously in Tiananmen Square to lay wreaths in honor of Zhou Enlai.
They read poems, gave speeches.
Reports made to Mao said the agitation was really directed against him.
Police removed the wreaths, but people brought more.
Police ordered the crowds to disperse; the crowds overturned a police van and set it afire.
At last Mao took action. Workers armed with clubs were sent in. There were beatings and arrests.
In the official press the events in the Square were denounced as counter-revolutionary violence inspired by a small handful of conspirators.
The alleged mastermind behind the turmoil was that unrepentant reactionary, Deng Xiaoping.
CROWD IN ANTI-DENG RALLY
Resolutely denounce Deng Xiaoping's reactionary crimes!
Deng was denounced, condemned, forced from power.
Not until after Mao's death would he emerge as China's new paramount leader.
Then the verdict on the 1976 upheavals would be reversed.
The scenes in Tiananmen Square would be replayed, with a different meaning.
They became courageous demonstrations of the people's will.
And yet now, in 1989, the government of Deng Xiaoping, faced again with protests inspired by the death of a leader, reached for the old words of denunciation.
Once again the supreme leader heard reports that the agitation was directed against him. Once again a small handful of conspirators were supposedly plotting to bring down the state. Once again the irrevocable judgment was passed.
The April 26th editorial caught the students by total surprise. We didn't expect that the government would jump to such a vicious conclusion about us.
We felt that without large-scale street action, we couldn't compete with the propaganda machine of the government, and the people wouldn't know the truth about what we were doing.
The Chinese constitution guarantees the People free speech and the right to demonstrate. But Chinese law punishes "counter-revolutionary instigation" by the enemies of the People.
The final arbiter was the Communist Party.
Were the students the People? Or were they now enemies of the People who must be suppressed?
I got together with some friends to talk about the situation. All of us were teachers at various universities. We heard that huge numbers of police would be deployed the next day. This really worried us. We decided to demonstrate with our students. We felt that we must show where we stood at a moment like this.
APRIL 27 MARCH
Down with corrupt officials!
Patriotism is not a crime!
Continue the reforms!
In the early morning of April 27th, students set out from campuses all over the city and walked toward Tiananmen Square, the political center of China.
Patriotism is not a crime!
Justice will prevail!
Police were placed on alert throughout Beijing and positioned to blockade key intersections along the route.
Demonstrations without official approval are illegal and will be banned.
We were prepared to face great danger. Some students even wrote their wills. This was because we had heard that the government was moving in troops to suppress any further demonstrations.
Everyone showed a lot of self-control.
Since the government had accused us of instigating turmoil, we were eager to show the people that we weren't a lawless mob, nor were we trying to overthrow the Communist Party or socialism.
The press must tell the truth!
Many workers were furious. The government said that the students were instigating turmoil. Well, the way I see it, if the students were wrong, you wouldn't have to send the police or the soldiers! There are plenty of young workers like me who could beat them up. But the students were right! They expressed what was in the hearts of us workers. That's why we went out to support them.
I was really moved that day. The students held out cardboard boxes for donations, and I stuffed money in them. When I saw the students were sweating, I bought popsicles for them.
I supported this demonstration because it was focused against one of the most fundamental means by which the Communist Party maintains its rule, that is, to accuse people of fabricated political crimes. The students showed real conviction. They put their lives and their futures on the line to fight this unjust system.
When we started out I was very worried about the possibility of bloodshed. I kept telling the students that if we encountered the police, we should not force our way past them.
At one point the clash with the police was so intense that people could have been trampled to death. I was almost crushed in the crowd. But it was obvious that the police were not ordered to beat people up. They only tried to form a human blockade.
STUDENTS BREAK THROUGH POLICE LINE
The students met little further resistance. They continued their march toward Tiananmen Square.
The students were very pleased with themselves for breaking through police lines, and the cheering of onlookers made them feel like real heroes. The whole thing now turned into a carnival, because there was no more danger, and everyone was watching the students' big show. That was how I felt later that day, completely different from when I started out.
It had been an unprecedented day: a mass student demonstration, held in the face of government warnings, had been allowed to march peacefully through the streets.
And that very day the government announced that it was willing to talk.
In this event both sides had made efforts to exercise restraint. This unprecedented moment could have opened up new possibilities, if only people understood what it meant. But a historical opportunity is often easily overlooked, easily passed by. Unfortunately, this was just what happened.
I had just arrived back in China at that point. I suggested to the students that it was not a good idea to continue staging huge demonstrations. Once you have shown your strength, you should return to classes and try to secure some specific democratic rights on campus.
Few students were ready simply to go back to class.
But what should they do next?
The triumph of April 27 would be the last moment in which all parties working for change were united.
The euphoria soon began to fade and disagreements over tactics developed.
What a student movement represents is a call for social justice. There are times when we have no choice but to take to the streets to express our ideas, vent our anger, and show our determination to change things. April 27th was such a time. The students did a great job, and the government was forced to change its usual behavior. But our ultimate goal is to change the entire system. This cannot be accomplished by students staying in the streets.
The students demanded that the government grant legal status to their new organization, the Coalition of Independent Student Unions, and talk with them as equals.
They wanted duihua, dialogue.
One of the most important demands raised by the students was for the government to have a dialogue with them. Where did the idea of dialogue come from? Actually, Zhao Ziyang was the first to promote it.
He said government leaders should engage in dialogue with ordinary people. The Party hard-liners opposed this from the start: "It's absurd!" they said. "The Party and the People are one family, how can a family negotiate with itself? You're trying to imitate the West!"
They wouldn't even let us use the word duihua.
Duihua, dialogue, was a key part of the reformers' strategy to open up the political system. It was aimed at making officials at all levels more responsive to popular opinion.
The head of the Party, General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, was a leading advocate of these reforms. At the 1987 Party Congress, Zhao was finally able to get the principle of dialogue adopted as official policy.
But to have the entrenched party bureaucracy to behave in new ways was another matter.
On April 29, the government held a meeting with representatives of the official student union of Beijing. Only a few of the new activists managed to get in.
Yuan Mu was the government spokesman. His was not the new, more open face that Zhao Ziyang wanted. He spoke with the voice of standard Party authoritarianism.
And he did most of the talking.
The Independent Student Union called this meeting a fraud.
Surrounded by the media, the student leaders made the rounds of government offices to present their conditions for further talks.
Reporters, please don't create chaos. Please be considerate.
At one government bureau, a group from the countryside was trying to get their grievances heard.
Grassroots democracy hadn't reached their village. So they were doing what they'd always done: kneeling before the offices of the central government, to beg for official intervention in their local problems.
They were having little luck getting anyone to listen.
The students said that unless the government accepted their preconditions for dialogue, they would march again.
YUAN MU PRESS CONFERENCE
Their petition says right here, "We absolutely refuse to allow the existing student unions to organize dialogue with the government." Instead, they insist that the so-called Coalition of Independent Student Unions, which was formed during the demonstrations without any legal procedures, should be the group which organizes the talks.
Some student activists were trying to institute elections.
And they were getting support on campus.
LI WEI, chairing election meeting
Since the government keeps stressing the issue of legality, we should elect a legitimate body to represent us in talks with the government.
Through elections on many campuses, a Student Dialogue Group was formed.
The students now changed their tactics. Rather than demanding official recognition as a precondition for dialogue, they were willing to talk right away, and they wanted to talk about their constitutional rights.
XIANG XIAOJI - Coordinator of Dialogue Group
The aim of dialogue was not to solve everything at once. We wanted to establish some ground rules, open up some channels for communication, so that whenever problems arose, there'd be ways of resolving them. We wanted to lay some foundations for the future; we wanted to make a good start.
What we were hoping for was gradual progress, reform, not cataclysmic change, not revolution. Because, honestly, in 1989 the situation wasn't so bad that people felt they needed a revolution.
A new path seemed to be opening up, a path leading away from the confrontational politics that had dominated China for decades. The path China had, long ago, failed to take.
OFFICIAL MAY 4 CELEBRATIONOn May 4 China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the demonstrations of 1919, when patriotic students had first protested against an unresponsive government.
There were two celebrations on that day: the government-sponsored commemorations at the monument...
STUDENT CELEBRATIONSand a mass student march from the university district to Tiananmen Square.
The students sang a patriotic song from the 1930's.
Today we are blossoming,
Tomorrow we will be pillars of society.
Today we are singing together,
Tomorrow we will rise in a powerful wave
to defend our country.
Fellow students, be strong,
Shoulder the fate of our nation.
In official Communist Party history, the student protests of 1919 were but a prelude to the Party's revolutionary makeover of China.
But in fact many of the leading voices of the May 4th era spoke not for revolution but for democratic reform. After their days of street protest, many students went back to school, took up various professions and continued to work for social change.
Those who saw no hope for reform joined the Communist Party to fight for an ideal society. Over the decades, the voices championing gradual change were either stifled by conservative power-holders or drowned out by cries for revolution.
By marching into Tiananmen Square, the students of 1989 were saying to the Party: We are the true inheritors of the democratic legacy of the May 4th Movement.
But the May 4th spirit they were most familiar with was the one the Party had taught them.
In the value system of the Communist Party, revolution is placed at the top. So comrades are called revolutionary comrades, couples revolutionary couples, and families revolutionary families. Everything is revolutionary. Reform is not a good word in Communist vocabulary.
What we were trying to do was to introduce the idea of incremental change to the people of China. We were trying to tell them that reform was not a bad thing, and that revolution often failed to deliver its promise.
Once again, the government had not suppressed the march. In fact, the leaders at the top were deeply divided on how to deal with the protesters.
On the very day of the May 4th anniversary, Party Secretary General Zhao Ziyang made a speech that departed surprisingly from the hard-line April 26th editorial. In a nationally televised meeting with foreign bankers, Zhao told his audience that there was no serious turmoil in China.
Duihua, dialogue, Zhao said, was the solution to the present tension.
The students now debated: should they go back to class and show support for this conciliatory attitude?
Or did Zhao Ziyang's remarks indicate deep rifts in the central government that must be exploited by pushing harder, going farther?
Many students went back to class.
On May 8th, several leaders of the independent student union of my university came to see me. They complained about the students who had returned to class, and said they wanted to blockade the classrooms.
I said: "I thought you were demanding democracy. A basic principle of democracy is the right of individual choice. If you deprive others of their choice, how is that different from the way the communist party has always deprived you of your choice?" It had not even occurred to them that there was a problem.
They couldn't come up with any good arguments in response, but they still felt uncomfortable. They said, "Then how can we get anything done?" In China everything has always been handled this way: only by preventing others from doing what they want can you accomplish what you want.
The movement at Beijing University also reached a low point. More and more students returned to class. A lot of energy was wasted debating whether we should go back to class or not. I felt increasingly frustrated.
At that time I thought we should resume classes, because I felt a stalemate like this wouldn't necessarily get us anywhere. And the students were pretty tired.
On May 10th, Wang Dan gave an interview to a Canadian television reporter.
WANG DAN, interview by Canadian TV - May 10, 1989
I think that the student movement should move on to a new stage. No more large-scale, intense street action, no more boycotting classes. Instead, we need down-to-earth work to build democracy on campus: the legalization of student organizations, independent student newspapers and radio stations. This work might not look all that grand or glamorous, but it's extremely important.
And yet, over the heads of the prominent student leaders still hung the People's Daily editorial of April 26, the shadow of dongluan. That threat cut off any impulse toward moderation.
CHAI LING leads chanting before the office of the People's Daily
Full of nonsense!
Lying to the people!
Where's your conscience?
You may think you're safe!
But your time will come!
When the time is here!
The people will have their day!
Once we were chatting. I said, "How many years do political offenders get?" Someone said it used to be three years, then it was increased to five years, then seven and then seventeen years. I felt very sad. If I got seventeen years, I'd be forty by the time I got out. I really didn't want that to happen.
On May 11th, six of us discussed the situation. We had placed a lot of hope on talks with the government. But they kept putting it off. We feared that the movement would run out of momentum. Then the government would have been able to arrest the student leaders one by one and disband the independent unions.
So it was necessary to escalate the movement, to use more radical methods and apply more pressure to force the government to concede to our demands. Since demonstrations and sit-down strikes no longer bothered the government we felt the next step should be a hunger strike.
Wang Dan told me about the hunger strike, and I immediately signed up. Then we tried to persuade the leaders of the Independent Student Unions, but some of them were firmly opposed to a strike. I think they have a tendency toward opportunism.
As is so often the case, democratic procedures were getting in the way of political action.
Unable to achieve a consensus within the Independent Student Unions, the people in favor of a hunger strike bypassed the new organization and made personal appeals to the students.
On the evening of May 12th, Chai Ling and I addressed the students. She did most of the talking. She said that the government was forcing us to put our lives on the line.
She was crying emotionally. This got everyone really stirred up.
I said, "We are staging a hunger strike in order to reveal the true face of the government and the true face of the people. We want to see whether the Chinese have any conscience, whether there is any hope for China."
I said, "We are prepared to face death for the sake of true life. The oath written by our lives will brighten the skies of our country."
At noon on May 13, the hunger strikers shared a last ceremonial meal.
The strikers wanted the government to repeal the April 26th editorial, and hold televised talks with the students.
That morning, the government had met one of these demands: they'd agreed to talks with the Dialogue Group.
But by the time this news reached the universities, the hunger strikers had already set out for Tiananmen Square.
Their declaration, born of a tradition of romantic communist rhetoric, was both heroic and deeply emotional. It even included some lines from Mao's youth: "This country is our country, this people our people: If we don't speak out, who will? If we don't take action, who will?".
"At the height of youthful happiness and beauty," the hunger strikers proclaimed, "we must resolutely leave everything behind us."
"Mother China, witness now the actions of your sons and daughters. Can you remain indifferent as hunger devours our youth and death approaches?"
MORNING OF 14TH, WANG DAN LEADS HUNGER STRIKERS IN CHANT
WANG DAN leads call and response
We will not give up!
Until we reach our goal!
CHAI LING gives speech to hunger strikers
We've had a hard night. In the pre-dawn hours everyone was cold and hungry, but we made it through. We may have to endure many more nights like this. I hope we will all persist to the end.
VOICE IN CROWD
Are we determined?
Thank you. You are such good comrades-in-arms!
The hunger strike could not have come at a worse time for the government.
That week a historic meeting, years in preparation, was to take place: the President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, was coming to China.
A grand welcoming ceremony was scheduled to take place in Tiananmen Square -- which was filled, at the moment, with thousands of students.
On May 15th, the government planned to welcome Gorbachev at Tiananmen Square. Everyone knew that the Square would have to be cleared.
So the students thought that if they staged a hunger strike there, the government would definitely respond by May 15. I heard many students talk like this.
On the afternoon of May 14 -- less than twenty-four hours before Gorbachev's arrival -- the government began talks with the Dialogue Group. The main official representative was Yan Mingfu, a leading reformist minister. Some students who had initiated the hunger strike were also present. Wuer Kaixi was one of them.
The biggest victory of the whole movement was that our hunger strike forced the government to the negotiating table. We demanded a live television broadcast, but the government agreed only to a pre-recorded broadcast. So we made a concession on this point. We felt that a pre-recorded broadcast was in itself a hard-won achievement.
But the hunger strikers who were waiting at the Square did not hear the promised broadcast.
HUNGER STRIKERS CHANT
Suspicious that they had been sold out, many of them rushed to the hall where the talks were being held and disrupted the session.
So the talks were wrecked by the students themselves. I felt that May 14th was a big setback for the student movement. After this, the students missed many more opportunities by repeating the same mistakes.
It was the eve of Gorbachev's arrival, and talks between the students and the government had broken down.
When we speak of the government we're talking about two kinds of people: the reformers who were in power at the time and the hard-liners who opposed them. Reform was in a very precarious situation and came under constant attack. The reformers hoped for social stability, so that they could continue their difficult work. The hard-liners had been using all kinds of underhanded tactics to get Deng Xiaoping to turn against the reformers. But they hadn't seen much success. So they wanted to create a massive crisis in order to get rid of the reformers, as they had Hu Yaobang.
INTELLECTUALS MARCH TO SQUARE
STUDENT WITH MEGAPHONE
The twelve most famous writers and scholars of China are coming to present their emergency appeal at the Square!
I was worried that reform would be derailed. If that happened, then all that grand sloganizing about democracy, about abolishing dictatorship, and so on, would simply be a lot of hot air.
DAI QING, speaking to hunger strikers on Square
We oppose the use of violence against the hunger strikers on any pretext. Anyone who resorts to violence will go down in history as a criminal.
The twelve scholars, journalists, and critics were well known supporters of liberal reform in China and widely-respected. They all praised the students, but called on them to change their tactics.
DAI QING, speaking on Square continued
Avoid actions which will hurt our friends and please our enemies. Let the Sino-Soviet summit proceed smoothly. We plead with you to continue in the rational spirit which has characterized the movement so far. If the government makes a concession, then we propose that the students temporarily leave the Square.
The problem with these intellectuals was that they were playing the wrong role. They were acting as mediators between the students and the government. We made the government agree to face-to-face negotiations. This was unprecedented in the last forty years and this was accomplished by us, the students, acting as an independent political force. And then when we invited the intellectuals to join us, they came to the Square and addressed us as "children."
SU XIAOKANG addresses students on Square
We should have patience! We should be rational! We have to educate the government! Can we be rational?
Good! If the government makes a concession, will we be able to respond rationally?
That's all I have to say.
The message that we got from them is this: "You people have gone too far! You have to listen to your mommy and daddy, listen to your government." Well, all I have to say is, what have you done to give you the right to criticize us?
The 12 scholars had made an accurate assessment of the situation and they were well-intentioned. They knew this stalemate would harm the students' cause. But all the students had put so much into the hunger strike, how could the government simply ignore us? If we left, it would have been like encouraging a bully. Emotionally we couldn't accept that. You can tell me all you want about what a rational person should do, but I say, excuse me, I can't be that rational because I'm not facing a rational opponent.
We failed completely. At the time, I felt that we intellectuals were caught between a totally irrational government and totally irrational students. What could we do?
Although most students were unimpressed by the intellectuals' attempts at mediation, some shared their belief that Gorbachev's visit would help the cause of reform in China. As a last-minute compromise, Wuer Kaixi led the call to make room for the official welcoming ceremony for the Soviet leader.
WUER KAIXI, speaking on Square
Our demands are reasonable. But if we forget patriotism, we will be hurting our own cause.
We should make a gesture. I'm not saying we should quit, but we should move aside! I'm now speaking only on my own behalf. I'm Wuer Kaixi. I'm pleading with you. Don't lose sight of the big picture. I'm begging you!
We really were not willing. We decided not to move. Because--well, I'll quote the words of a foreign reporter. He said, "You're already on a hunger strike. What more can they ask of you?"
On the night of the 14th, everybody was waiting for the clearing of the Square. Everyone was restless. "Why aren't they coming, why aren't they coming?" On the morning of the 15th, I phoned a friend. We both felt that the situation was very grim. If the government ignored the students on May 15, they would be put into a very awkward position. What were they going to do, stay on a hunger strike forever?
"If the government can simply stand by and watch while the students' lives slowly waste away like this, we will have to take even more drastic measures. We will set ourselves on fire. If the government is callous enough to see these children starve to death, then I will be the first to die." I said this over the loudspeakers. I said I was willing to be the commander-in-chief - I don't remember my exact words - I said the only criterion for a person to join the hunger strike leadership was a willingness to be the first to die, so that other students could live on.
GORBACHEV'S ARRIVAL AT BEIJING AIRPORT
The government chose to cancel the grand ceremony planned for Tiananmen Square. Gorbachev got only a quick welcome at the airport.
The first visit to China by a Soviet head of state since 1959 had been upstaged by the students.
Gorbachev met with Party leaders like Zhao Ziyang, who looked to the Soviet Union as an example of political reform; and with others, like Premier Li Peng, who were wary of everything Gorbachev represented.
Both groups in the Chinese government needed the backing of Deng Xiaoping, who was in charge of the military, and thus held the real reins of power.
By now the hunger strikers had been in the Square for two days and their numbers were increasing constantly. Still there was no official response.
As time dragged on, sympathy for the students and anger at the government grew.
I couldn't even convince my own students to leave. The female students cried whenever I spoke to them. In the morning sun, the students looked so young, with only sheets of newspapers between themselves and the bare ground. It was really a touching sight. They were putting their young lives on the line, sitting there stubbornly. But the government was ignoring them. I was moved. So I decided to stay on the Square to help them run errands.
We workers and ordinary people had been looking on. Then, when the students started the hunger strike, using their own lives to awaken the whole nation, people felt their responsibilities, and they rose up too.
On May 16, while Gorbachev continued his discussions with the Chinese leadership, 300,000 people marched in the streets of Beijing.
On the 17th and again on the 18th, that number rose to one million people.
I went to the Square every day after May 15th, because a lot of students from my university were taking part in the hunger strike. I went there to help them with logistics, and run errands. I also took part in the picket line to ensure that the ambulances could move freely.
The students had been on their hunger strike for nearly a week, but still the government paid no attention to them. We said, what bastards! Any son of a bitch would have acted better than Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng.
Moderate government leaders tried to defuse the mounting crisis with whatever concessions they could make. The official media was allowed to report sympathetically on the hunger strike. Emergency medical teams were sent in to ensure the health of the hunger strikers.
Actions like these suggested that the party line was shifting, and nobody wanted to be left on the wrong side.
Local party leaders and managers started permitting their workers to go to Tiananmen to show support for the students.
Organized contingents started showing up carrying the banners of their workplaces.
To participate now was beginning to look not only right, but safe.
The spectacle was overwhelming, and highly photogenic.
The foreign press, in Beijing to cover the Sino-Soviet summit, walked into the biggest international media story ever reported out of China.
CBS NEWS, DAN RATHER REPORTING FROM TIANANMEN SQUARE
What a place, what a time, what a story! It's Friday morning here and this is Tiananmen Square. Today it's the people's square, all right. More than a million Chinese demanding democracy and freedom, and proclaiming the new revolution.
CNN NEWS, BERNARD SHAW (OFF-CAMERA)
Unbelievable! We all came here to cover a summit, and we walked into a revolution.
It's a great feeling to get the attention of tens of thousands of people. Before the movement, the students had been very depressed. All of a sudden they were at center stage. People needed them. They felt a heroic sense of being able to change history. This feeling was a boost to their egos and whet their appetites for more.
There's never been a generation like ours, one that mocked the state, mocked the government, mocked the leaders. And there's never been a generation that has seen that the outside world is so beautiful.
CUI JIAN COMES OUT OF HUNGER STRIKE BUS AND GREETS PROTESTERS
Cui Jian is China's most famous singer. His song, "Nothing to My Name," expresses our feelings. Does our generation have anything?
We don't have the goals our parents had. We don't have the fanatical idealism our older brothers and sisters once had.
So what do we want?
Nike shoes. Lots of free time to take our girlfriends to a bar. The freedom to discuss an issue with someone. And to get a little respect from society.
In this process there was something so pure, so unforgettable. There were also things that I couldn't accept, even things I found repulsive. But they were all mixed together. And this is history. History is this kind of process. There's no way to sort things out neatly.
For example, during the hunger strike some students were actually eating. They felt that the hunger strike was only a means to an end. "Our aim is to put pressure on the government, so why should we make real sacrifices?" One student was outraged, "You people are manipulating the public". He said, "Once you turn your sacrifice into a hoax, you lose your moral integrity." So he wrote in blood, "I want to use my blood to defend the purity of the hunger strike." I was very moved. This kind of gesture might not have any significant political impact, but to me it showed a deep sense of decency, something that had become very rare in China.
During the days of mounting protest, reformist officials faced a predicament: they didn't have the power to make the concessions the students demanded; yet they knew if they couldn't get the students to leave the Square, hard-liners were more than willing to use force. And the army had already been mobilized.
Furthermore, since the breakdown of the May 14 talks, it was no longer clear who really represented the students. The only way to communicate with the protesters was to appeal directly to the crowds in the Square.
On May 16th, accompanied by student leader Wang Dan, the reformist official Yan Mingfu made such an attempt.
He was on the verge of tears. He asked the students to give the Party reformers more time. He even went out on a limb to tell us that the problem of the April 26th editorial would definitely be solved, but it would take time. He was very sincere.
He said that the Central Committee had guaranteed the student activists wouldn't be persecuted. He said, "If you don't believe me, you can take me hostage."
Then I said, "I hope everyone will consider this proposal carefully."
But the atmosphere was so highly emotional, it was impossible for either of us to continue. So Yan Mingfu left.
Only hours after Yan Mingfu's appearance in the Square, a letter from Zhao Ziyang, writing on behalf of the Central Committee, was broadcast. In essence, it contradicted the April 26 editorial.
But the strike continued.
The following day, Premier Li Peng summoned a group of student leaders to the Great Hall of the People for a televised meeting. Some hunger strikers came straight from their hospital beds.
INSIDE THE GREAT HALL: LI PENG MEETS WITH STUDENTS ON MAY 18
The students are very concerned with two issues. We fully understand. As the Prime Minister and a communist, I do not conceal my views. But I won't talk about them today. Endless quibbling over these two issues now is inappropriate and unreasonable.
We're not the ones quibbling. It shouldn't be necessary for me to repeat what I said at the start of this meeting. But you leaders just don't get it. I'll tell you one more time. The problem isn't convincing those of us in this room. The problem is how to get the students to leave the Square. The conditions they've laid down must be met. I've made this very clear. There is only one possibility, and this is an objective fact. If but one hunger striker chooses to stay in the Square, we cannot guarantee that the thousands of others will leave.
In the predawn hours of May 19, a worn and haggard Zhao Ziyang appeared suddenly on Tiananmen Square. Zhao had lost out to the hard-liners in the party
On the verge of tears, he said to the students: "We have come too late. We deserve your criticism."
Zhao then disappeared from public view.
When the reformers were still in power - that is to say before Zhao Ziyang was removed, he was the most powerful person next to Deng Xiaoping. The students didn't accept any of Zhao Ziyang's compromises. They didn't want to cooperate with him in any way. Once he was defeated it was the hard-liners' turn to show how they deal with things.
The government was now ready to declare Martial Law. This news was leaked to the Hunger Strike Headquarters ahead of time. The students suddenly announced the end of their week-long hunger strike and began a mass sit-in.
On the evening of May 19th, Premier Li Peng addressed an emergency meeting of state and army leaders. His speech was broadcast as army units moved towards the city.
We must end this situation immediately. Otherwise, the fate and future of our People's Republic, for which numerous martyrs have shed their blood, will be in grave danger!
CROWD OF STUDENTS IN SQUARE
Li Peng, step down!
Li Peng's speech only served to incite the people of Beijing.
Street merchants got on their motorcycles. Calling themselves the "Flying Tigers," they sped to the Square to report on troop movements.
Convoys were blocked by crowds of protesters, and their supporters.
YOUNG MAN TO SOLDIERS IN TRUCK
Officers and soldiers of the People's Liberation Army, I appeal to your conscience and courage. Be a true People's Army. Do not become the tool of a small handful! Do not end up as the shame of our nation!
YOUNG WOMAN TO SOLDIERS IN TRUCK
Brother soldiers! Do you know? Do you know? Do you know anything about what we're doing?
Brother soldiers, you're supposed to be defenders of the people, defenders of students! You must not attack them! Don't you know? You cannot do this!
THE PLA AND THE PEOPLE - SCENES OF PLA ENTERING BEIJING IN 1949
The People's Liberation Army had entered Beijing once before--in 1949. It was a time when the PLA was welcomed in many cities.
Over the years the army was seen as a true People's Army: from the people, of the people, and for the people. The Party said that the army was like fish and the people like water: fish can't live out of water.
The PLA was the guardian of the state, protector of the people. In times of natural disaster, the army was there to help fight floods, famine, and fire.
Party propaganda promoted a popular image of the army. Films, fiction, and stage productions celebrated the PLA, and created a pantheon of army heroes for mass consumption.
In early 1989, the PLA received its annual tribute in the Chinese New Year TV extravaganza.
WOMAN SINGS FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR TV SHOW
Why is the banner of war as beautiful as a painting?
Because it glimmers with the soldier's fresh red blood.
Why does the spring linger o'er the earth forever?
Because the lives of our heroes have given birth to flowers.
Now, 40 years after being welcomed into Beijing, the army was coming again.
This time it came as an alien force.
On the morning of May 20th Martial Law regulations were announced. The police and the army were authorized to clear the streets.
But people ignored the government's orders. The city was still jammed with demonstrators. Helicopters were the only military vehicles moving.
LOUDSPEAKER ON BUS
This is the propaganda bus of the students' patriotic, democratic movement.
Faced with the threat of armed repression, the students tried to mobilize even greater public support.
LOUDSPEAKER ON BUS
Workers and citizens of Beijing, the democracy movement has reached a critical moment. Student hunger strikers and supporters are in danger of being punished. We call on the workers and citizens to go out on strike. Go to Tiananmen Square to uphold justice! To fight for the truth!
BUS BREAKS DOWNPush hard as we chant together. Li Peng, step down!
Just at the moment when the students most needed the support and protection of a mass movement, a group of workers declared the founding of an independent union.
They set up a public address station at the north-west corner of Tiananmen Square.
I became a broadcaster. People sent us a lot of letters. For the last forty years, there'd been no channel for them to express themselves. By broadcasting their letters, we gave them a voice.
There are many people like me. We wanted to listen to something simple, direct and to the point.
The independent workers' union not only put forth its own demands, it also helped out the students by sending them food and water. Without the people of Beijing: the workers, the farmers from the outskirts of the city, and the street merchants, the students couldn't have persisted for long.
The new union helped mobilize citizens to block the Martial Law Troops.
For some 48 hours the troops remained stuck in the sea of the people, moving neither forward nor back.
I saw an old woman lying down in front of a military truck. Her face was all wrinkles, and she had no front teeth. I saw all these ordinary people, acting not out of political calculation, or with any ulterior motive, but purely out of sympathy and a sense of justice, confronting the troops to protect the students on Tiananmen Square. I was very moved.
Sometimes I was disappointed in how foolish and childish the students could be. Once a couple of them came to me to discuss their plans. One claimed to be the Commander-in-Chief of student security guards. Tourist map in hand, he began to "command". He said, see here, to the south of us there are such and such troops, and to the north of us there are such and such troops. He had all four points of the compass covered.
CHINESE MOVIE "FROM VICTORY TO VICTORY"
COMMANDER IN "FROM VICTORY TO VICTORY"
The situation is extremely grave. Facing us are eighteen enemy divisions. They are pushing north towards us.
I was reminded of a movie I saw called "From Victory to Victory". In it the Communist commander points to a map and says, "Facing us are this many troops, on our flank are that many troops," and so on. I watched this kid carry on like this and felt like laughing.
He said, "If we blockaded every intersection we'd be spreading our troops too thin. I plan to concentrate our forces closer to the Square." I felt that this manner of military command, like a child playing at war, came straight out of Communist propaganda. And I wondered: How did I get involved with this lot?
MAN WAVING FLOWERS TO PLA SOLDIERS
On behalf of the people of the whole country, millions and millions of people, I will present them with this bouquet of victory!
The massive show of resistance to the army was successful. The troops pulled back to the suburbs.
CROWD CHANTS AS TRUCKS PULL AWAY
Long live the People's Liberation Army!
The danger had passed. People continued to pour into the streets. The workers had helped win a victory for the movement at the Square, but unlike the students, their need to make a living tied them to their work places.
A union unrelated to the work place is not really a union at all. Yet here we were, setting up a union at Tiananmen Square, inspired by a student movement. What kind of future could it possibly have?
But there was no way we could organize in the factories. Furthermore, I knew that the movement was going to come to an end soon.
All we could do was to try to take advantage of the popular fervor to educate the workers, to let them know that the constitution grants them all kinds of rights, none of which have been put into practice.
This way, after the movement in the streets ended and things returned to normal, some effects of the movement would still be felt. What I mean here is an awareness of constitutional rights: workers and peasants would know what rights they should enjoy, and they'd also know about the legal channels open to them so they can demand those rights.
Meanwhile, among the students a struggle over tactics unfolded.
Some of us wanted the students to leave the Square. Not only out of consideration for the students' safety, we also thought it was good tactics. By leaving the Square we would have undermined the rationale for imposing Martial Law, and that might have given the reformers in the government an opportunity.
Many students do not understand that the Square is our only stronghold. Some people keep saying that we should leave. But that could only please the government. What makes me really sad is that I am the commander-in-chief, and I can't let go of this power because I must resist compromise, resist these traitors. The leaders of the Independent Student Unions of Beijing and of the provinces are all after my power.
In the intense atmosphere of the Square, the leaders with more radical agendas had the advantage.
These were people who had come to prominence through the hunger strike. They had not stood for election on campus; their credentials were a determination to make the greatest sacrifices; their power base the continuing acclaim of their followers.
They set up a new headquarters to defend Tiananmen Square. Once more, Chai Ling became Commander-in-Chief. The Commander had control of the loudspeakers, the voice of the Square that broadcast to the masses.
CHAI LING'S VOICE FROM LOUDSPEAKERS ON THE SQUARE
For a brand-new, people's democratic republic, we will fight to the end!
The continued hard-line pursued by the government would further undermine moderation and encourage a hard-line among the students.
I used to believe that we could establish democratic processes, and then a lot of people could use science to really help our country. But now I've come to realize that unless we overthrow this inhuman government, our country will have no hope! Our people will have no hope!
After people prevented the army convoys from entering the city, there was a stalemate. During this lull, people were at a loss, and didn't know what to do next. This happened over and over again during the movement: following each new escalation, people fell into a state of confusion. No one knew what to do or what to expect. So the students simply hung around the Square waiting.
At night, music drifted from different parts of the Square. Once I was awakened after midnight by a rowdy concert. People were shouting, and laughing, making a huge ruckus.
HOU DEJIAN - Pop Star
Popular music, of course, came from the West. When young people try to express themselves, to sing about their own concerns, it is really a form of liberalization. That's why this music played a very important role during the movement. When someone takes part in a rock concert, that kind of crazy feeling is all about self-liberation and about self-expression.
HOU DEJIAN MUSIC VIDEO
The new music came via Hong Kong and Taiwan. One of the most famous Taiwan singers was Hou Dejian.
Hou moved to the mainland in 1983 in search of his roots. He was the first pop star to appear on national television.
Our culture, as well as the political system in Mainland China, suppresses the individual and promotes the collective. Collectivism and patriotism are used to make the majority serve the few. The message is: "You are not allowed to care about yourself. Any concern about personal interest simply means that you are selfish."
I call the 1989 movement a "Self-Liberation" movement. I don't like calling the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 "Liberation." Did Mao really liberate the Chinese people? Gradually people realized, "We're not really liberated. We want to liberate ourselves." But Mao didn't want that. Later, Deng Xiaoping didn't want that either. During the movement everyone wanted to release their pent-up anger and frustration - how come you can liberate me, but I can't liberate myself?
CROWD AROUND A PET HEDGEHOG
Put the headband back on! He's a guard in the movement.
This hedgehog is a guard? Can he block the police?
He can prick the police!
The police won't dare touch him.
Who'd like to hold him?
Many people in Beijing felt it in those days of protest: the sense of being lifted out of their daily drudgery by a cause greater than themselves.
Maybe, now, through real democracy, a perfect society was possible.
YOUNG CHILD HANDS OUT GARLIC ON SQUARE
Who wants garlic? Garlic, anyone?
There was a heightened sense of community, of giving, of shared sacrifice. It was said that even the thieves had gone on strike for the common good.
STUDENTS SINGING IN BUS
I love Beijing's Tiananmen,
The sun rises there.
The great leader Chairman Mao...
leads our forward march.
In the vast Square, in this space designed to make the many feel as one, a space dedicated to the manufacturing of public life, the personal gesture now became significant, each small act of generosity seeming to prophesy a new way of living together, a new civility.
It was a feeling as intense as it was transitory.
I watched the student movement on T.V. It was exciting to see so many people demanding democracy, but I was worried by the general, intangible nature of their demands.
In China, all information is so tightly controlled by the Communist Party that people whose lives are run by this huge machine have no idea how it really works. So they usually behave in one of two ways: They either accept Party rule passively, or summon the courage to try and smash it all to pieces. But what happens after it's been smashed?
Faced with a territory and a population to govern, the student leaders on the Square found themselves recreating in miniature all the real-life problems of having and holding power.
"External" threats of government repression meant enforcing "internal" security. Disagreements with the leadership were labeled "betrayal," "sabotage" by the familiar "small handful of plotters."
Struggles between the groups vying for power in the Square grew increasingly ugly.
As commanders we tried to make our decision-making process as open as possible. But many students still felt that they had no normal channels through which to express their opinions. When they wanted to be heard they'd try to seize power.
PEOPLE AT THE MARTYRS' MONUMENT, PUSHING AND SHOVING
No cameras! No cameras! Cover that lens!
Some student guard units were formed in a bizarre way. Someone from the Square would run to the train station to meet newcomers from the provinces. He'd announce, "I am the commander of the student security guards. Come with me! The Square needs you!" So the newcomers, who had no idea what was going on, would become the guy's guard.
Then they'd surround the student headquarters or the broadcast station and drive away our guards. Once they took control of the broadcast station, they were in power.
Often we had to suppress 3 or 4 coups a day. At the time I even joked, "Now I finally understand why Li Peng wanted to suppress the students."
Once I made a suggestion to the students. That was around May 23rd. I said, why not hold an election at the Square or on your campuses, one student, one vote, and elect the leaders of the student union. But they felt elections were unthinkable in the middle of all that chaos.
Then a week later I heard that the students were setting up a democracy university in the Square. I thought: "Well, that suggestion of mine was at the level of a democracy kindergarten. You people didn't like it, so now you're setting up a democracy university. But no matter what, you still have to vote."
By the end of May the students' resources--financial, political, and emotional--were running low, and the Square was getting more squalid every day.
Some concerned intellectuals had set up joint meetings involving workers' and citizens' groups, the independent student unions, and the Defend Tiananmen Square Headquarters. They had been meeting daily since May 23rd.
Wang Dan acted as liaison among them.
At the May 27th coalition meeting, Chai Ling and Feng Congde reported on the situation in the Square. The impression we got was that things were really chaotic. There was endless factional in-fighting, and sanitary conditions were terrible. We began to doubt whether anything positive could come out of this on-going stalemate.
So we drafted a proposal. The vote in favor of it was unanimous, including Chai Ling. Later, we held a press conference in the Square to announce this proposal.
WANG DAN, Press Conference on the Square
To avoid an irrational confrontation with this irrational government, and to create conditions to resolve this conflict through legal and democratic procedures, we propose suspending our peaceful demonstration in Tiananmen Square on May 30th, the tenth day after the declaration of martial law.
After the press conference, Li Lu raised objections to our proposal. Then Chai Ling changed her mind and decided to oppose it too.
The people who made the decision to leave the Square on May 30th had a very negative effect on the movement. I attended the meeting, but I didn't realize at the time how harmful their decision would be. The real issue at that meeting was that some people were trying to use the movement to make themselves famous, and we opposed this. I want to say to everyone that the Square is our only stronghold. If we lose it, the conservatives will overrun China!
I regret we didn't debate the issue further. Although we had many good arguments in our favor, we felt we could never compete with the emotional appeal of their position. So we gave up. I think we should have acted more responsibly.
After that I thought that any attempt to influence the situation on the Square would be futile. There was nothing more I could do. So I decided to go back to campus and do what I could to further democracy there.
Why did the students want to stay at Tiananmen? Because our goal was to awaken the people.
Tiananmen is the symbol of our People's Republic. When we took action there, we were telling people throughout the country that there were still some of us who dared to fight back. A lot of students felt that the longer we held out, the more time people would have to think freely.
We held a meeting at the Square every night. Two to three hundred representatives from the various universities would get together. The issue of whether or not to leave came up almost every time. At least 80% of the students always voted to stay. If we were to stick to the principle of majority rule, it was impossible to leave the Square.
The student population at the Square was constantly changing. As those who grew discouraged or disgusted left, they were replaced by enthusiastic newcomers from all over the country. At any one time there was a majority on the Square who would vote to stay; those who thought it best to leave voted with their feet.
HONG KONG CONCERT FOR DEMOCRACY
As the students debated whether or not to continue their occupation of the Square, a marathon benefit concert was being held on a race track in Hong Kong. Millions of dollars were raised for the movement in Beijing.
That night a shipment of tents and other supplies arrived at the Square, the first installment in a flood of support from Hong Kong.
CHAI LING speaking to crowd in the Square
I am Chai Ling. I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Defend Tiananmen Headquarters.
We will mobilize Chinese people around the world to protest martial law! Martial law won't succeed in ten days, in a year, in a hundred years! Those who lose the hearts of the people will perish! Overthrow the illegal government headed by Li Peng!
Chai Ling had successfully resisted the proposal to move the struggle back to the campuses, and allied herself once more with those determined to hold the Square.
On the following morning, she contacted American journalist Philip Cunningham.
I've been feeling very sad recently. The students themselves lack a developed sense of democracy. To be honest, from the day I called for a hunger strike I knew we would not get any results. Certain people, certain causes are bound to fail. I've been very clear about this all along, but I've made an effort to present a staunch image, to show that we were striving for victory. But deep down I knew it was all futile.
The more involved I got, the sadder I became. I already felt this back in April. All along I've kept it to myself, because being Chinese I felt I shouldn't bad-mouth the Chinese. But I can't help thinking sometimes -- and I might as well say it -- you, the Chinese, you are not worth my struggle! You are not worth my sacrifice! But then I can also see that in this movement there are many people who do have a conscience. There are many decent people among the students, workers, citizens, and intellectuals.
The students keep asking, "What should we do next? What can we accomplish?" I feel so sad, because how can I tell them that what we are actually hoping for is bloodshed, for the moment when the government has no choice but to brazenly butcher the people. Only when the Square is awash with blood will the people of China open their eyes. Only then will they really be united. But how can I explain any of this to my fellow students?
And what is truly sad is that some students, and some famous, well-connected people, are working hard to help the government, to prevent it from taking such measures. For the sake of their selfish interests and their private dealings they are trying to cause our movement to collapse and get us out of the Square before the government becomes so desperate that it takes action.
If we allow the movement to collapse on its own, then the government will be able to wipe out all the leaders of the movement, as well as those leaders in the Party and in the military who dare to oppose them, who represent the people. Deng Xiaoping has made it very clear that there is this small handful of people, not only in the Party and in society, but also among the students.
That's why I feel so sad, because I can't say all this to my fellow students. I can't tell them straight out that we must use our blood and our lives to call on the people to rise up. Of course, the students will be willing. But they are still such young children!
Are you going to stay in the Square yourself?
No, I won't.
Because my situation is different. My name is on the government's hit list. I'm not going to let myself be destroyed by this government. I want to live. Anyway, that's how I feel about it. I don't know if people will say I'm selfish. I believe that others have to continue the work I have started. A democracy movement can't succeed with only one person!
When Chai Ling finished her interview, she asked the American journalist to take the tape he had made out to the world.
She told him that she must now leave Beijing and go underground.
That day, students at the nearby Central Art Academy were finishing work on a statue, which they called the Goddess of Democracy.
The next night, as the Goddess of Democracy moved from the Art Academy to Tiananmen, a television reporter interviewed Chai Ling in one of the new tents on the Square.
She had changed her mind about leaving.
CHAI LING, interview on the Square
After I offered my resignation, many people said that it wasn't right for me to quit at this moment. Since I enjoy considerable prestige within the movement, my resignation would have a negative effect at a time when many students are wavering. So I've decided to stay on for the time being. I'll try to get some rest and help set up a new leadership structure.
Are you thinking of other ways to advance the movement?
Yes. The emphasis of our work should no longer be at the Square, but should be broadened to the whole country. I would like to travel all over the country, even to Hong Kong and other parts of the world. I want to learn about the situation outside and then decide how long we should carry on the battle of Tiananmen Square and determine what effect we can have.
Democracy: the ideal everyone talked about.
She stood facing Mao Zedong on the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Mao, who had said that he too wanted democracy: Mass Democracy.
What does democracy mean? What was it coming to mean in China? What could it be made to mean?
If democracy came to China, what would she look like? Whose features would she wear?
There seemed a chance at least that her face would look all too familiar.
PAN TO MAO PORTRAIT ON TIANANMEN GATE
Although some cracks have appeared in the system over the past 10 years, the way the whole nation thinks has not yet broken free of the mold created by Mao.
In the past century or so, the Chinese people have shed blood time and again, without losing the courage to fight for their ideals. Each battle, however, has ended in a new tragedy, another shattered dream. I believe that what the Chinese lack is not ideals, but the means through which to realize them; not courage, but the wisdom necessary to achieve their goal. What the Chinese lack is not a heart, but a mind. During the Cultural Revolution there was only one mind: that of Mao. After Mao's death, hundreds of millions of minds needed to start functioning again. It is much harder for the mind to recover than the stomach.
Though they gave the movement no new goals or direction, the bright new tents and supplies from Hong Kong -- which included massive infusions of cash -- would've lifted anyone's flagging spirits.
FENG CONGDE, at meeting with John Shum
We are grateful for the support provided by our Hong Kong friends. Your support has boosted our confidence.
And how did you raise the money in Hong Kong?
JOHN SHUM - Film and TV producer
Several -- many, many ways. For example, there was one concert, "Concert for Democracy in China." In that concert alone, fourteen million Hong Kong dollars, fourteen, was raised, okay; and through other channels, phone-ins, or other, many, many channels -- through federation of student union in Hong Kong -- they raised more than ten million. So we are talking about quite, you know, quite some money here.
International support suggested the possibility of a real victory for the movement; but money did nothing to stop the struggles for power being played out on the Square.
FENG CONGDE AND CHAI LING KIDNAPPING SEQUENCE
At 4:00 a.m. Chai Ling and I were sleeping in a tent. Several people burst in, gagged us, and tried to take us away. But I broke free.
CHAI LING speaking into telephone
My husband and I yelled with all our might, "I'm Chai Ling! I'm Feng Congde! We're the Commanders! We're being kidnapped!" So other students rescued us.
REPORTER to Chen Wei
Chai Ling said you were one of the kidnappers.
CHEN WEI - student from Shenyang
I didn't know of any plans to kidnap them. But before that happened, I heard many complaints about Chai Ling, Li Lu and Feng Congde. Some people disliked their leadership style and the messy finances. So they took radical action. This kind of personal attack is not right. I am absolutely opposed to it. We should use peaceful and democratic means to resolve such problems.
REPORTER to Chai Ling
What do you think were the kidnappers' motives?
Many signs show that this was a well-organized, premeditated plot. We've learned that the government has been buying off student traitors. They're trying to weaken the leadership at the Square and destroy our movement.
Holding onto the Square like this was absolutely meaningless. And I felt it was harmful to the students' cause.
One day a friend of mine who was a fairly well-known intellectual came to see me. I told him that I had been going to the Square every day to persuade all of my students to leave.
But he said that the students shouldn't leave. He said,"With the students at the front lines, we'll be safe. Once the students withdraw, the government will come after the intellectuals." I was furious. I said, "So you want the students to shield you from danger! What right do you have to hide behind them? Why don't you try living in the Square like that? It's easy for you to talk, never missing a meal and sleeping in your own comfortable home!"
After the May 27th decision to leave was overturned by people like Chai Ling, the students were in a predicament: they couldn't leave, yet by simply hanging on, the movement was losing its appeal, and the number of people coming to the Square was dwindling. In our joint meetings the discussions focused on how to straighten things out in the Square. The students should either take the initiative to leave or stay on but improve their image -- they couldn't afford just to sit there passively.
But none of us could come up with anything practical. So I thought I might as well go on a hunger strike.
Liu Xiaobo told me, "If we don't join the students in the Square and face the same kind of danger, then we don't have any right to speak."
On June 2, Liu Xiaobo and three of his friends set up a tent on the Martyr's Monument and began their hunger strike.
There's no way for me to know whether our hunger strike had affected the government's decision to launch the bloody crackdown. If it did, I would feel guilty for the rest of my life.
From the moment I walked out of the Square, my heart has been heavy, after all that bloodshed on June 4th. I've never gotten over this.
The four men saw their hunger strike as a chance, maybe the last chance, to persuade the students to live up to their democratic goals, and make their own decisions rather than simply reacting to escalating government threats.
We were making a plea to both the government and the students to abandon the ideology of class-struggle, to abandon hostile attitudes and act with greater tolerance. Everyone needed to examine their own behavior.
Our hunger strike was not a heroic act but a gesture of repentance for the years of cowardice of Chinese intellectuals.
LIU XIAOBO SPEAKS AT MONUMENT ON JUNE 3
LIU XIAOBO addressing crowd
A major problem with the student movement is that it is obsessed with opposing the government, but unconcerned with practicing democratic principles in its own ranks. To replace a military dictatorship with a student dictatorship would hardly be a victory; it would be a failure, a tragic failure.
We felt that under no circumstances should people involved in this movement act in secrecy or use underhanded tactics. That's what our fathers and grandfathers have been doing all along. If you act like the people you oppose, you'll end up just like them. And then you'll have to be overthrown. So, what's the point? Why start a movement in the first place?
HOU LEADS CROWD IN SINGING OF "HEIRS OF THE DRAGON"
The hunger strikers' gesture of humility and restraint had the paradoxical effect of revitalizing the flagging protest.
Once again the Square filled with thousands of people.
SONG, "HEIRS OF THE DRAGON"
It was a hundred years ago on a quiet night.
The deep dark night before the great changes.
How many years did those gunshots resound?
So many years and so many years more.
Hou Dejian's anthem "Children of the Dragon" was the best selling pop song ever marketed in China. Everyone knew the words.
Open your eyes.
For now and ever more,
Open your eyes.
I never thought our hunger strike would have such an impact. Once again the Square was filled with people.
But they hadn't necessarily been attracted by the ideas expressed in our declaration. I think the majority of them came because we had gone on a hunger strike, and especially because the famous rock star, Hou Dejian, was involved.
HOU DEJIAN addresses crowd at Monument on June 3rd
I'm joining this hunger strike not only on my own behalf, but also to represent the pop stars and everyone else at the "Songs for Democracy" concert held in Hong Kong on May 27th.
There was Hou Dejian, wearing his "Songs for Democracy" T-shirt. He was a real pro in the way he worked the crowd. He'd call out: "Do you know the singer Deng Lijun?" "Yes!" came the reply. Then Hou would look for the pop star's signature on his T-shirt. "Here she is, she's right here!" The crowd went wild.
The four hunger strikers were soon infected themselves by the intense emotions on Tiananmen Square, the very thing they wanted to temper.
During the movement, I was so often divided. In our hunger strike declaration, I wrote about getting rid of hatred in politics, and so on. But when I faced that cheering crowd and felt that we might actually defeat martial law, the voice of reason left me.
LIU XIAOBO addresses crowd at Monument on June 3rd
Let the world see us in a new light. Who will determine the fate of China? It's the people!
Once you get involved in the actual situation, it was just so hard to keep a cool head, to know who the hell you are! Facing the thousands of people who cheered me on, I was completely carried away. Now here I was, speaking at Tiananmen Square, I felt that my words could sway the fate of the nation.
SOLDIERS SURROUNDED BY CROWD
Go away! Go away!
In the early hours of June 3rd, army units once again attempted to get to the Square.
Most of the troops weren't in combat gear, but people were outraged to find that some were actually armed. Protesters confiscated guns, cattle prods, cleavers and knives and displayed them as proof that the government intended to use violence. Then they turned the weapons over to the city police.
When day came, crowds had stopped busses being used to transport weapons into the city and were ejecting the soldiers. Troops stationed in the nearby Great Hall of the People were ordered out to retake the busses. They too were surrounded and stopped.
So the soldiers sat down, and everyone started to sing -- soldiers and protesters each hoping, perhaps, to sing the other side into submission.
They all sang the same few familiar songs, from the days of the revolution. They sang "Without the Communist Party, There is No New China," "The PLA Anthem," and "The Three Disciplines and Eight Points of Attention."
Pay attention to these eight points.
Be courteous in speech.
Respect the masses. Don't be arrogant.
Don't mistreat prisoners.
No beatings, no insults, Don't search their wallets.
Defend our country!
Forever march forward!
We are supported by the people!
At the fringes of the singing match, nervous soldiers collided with excited citizens.
They're fighting again! Another one is hurt!
Those hurt rushed to the Square to tell their stories.
MAN WITH HELMET
See this? I was hit by this helmet!
Look at all this blood. This is the helmet.
At day's end, the troops from the Great Hall of the People were ordered back into the building.
MAN IN CROWD
Long live the People's Liberation Army!
But though the army was apparently retreating once more, a decision had been made for a full-scale military assault.
7:00 EVENING NEWS ON CCTV, 3 JUNE 1989
CHINESE TV NEWS ANCHOR
Emergency Announcement of the Martial Law Enforcement Troops.
CHINESE TV NEWS ANCHOR
Martial Law Units will take all necessary measures. Those who incite opposition must take the consequences.
PROTESTERS FACE TROOPS ON WIDE STREETS
Whose Army are you?
On the evening of June 3, troops and armored personnel carriers began converging on the center of the city.
Far from the Square on Chang'an Avenue, the Avenue of Eternal Peace, the great east-west thoroughfare, troops encountered crowds at every intersection. This time they would not be stopped.
STUDENT WITH BLOODY HANDS
This is the blood of a classmate. I was carrying him. Blood was gushing out of his neck. I couldn't stop it with two towels. Blood was coming out of his mouth.
Even after the soldiers opened fire many people couldn't believe they were using live ammunition.
The crowds blocking the intersections didn't always disperse when fired on; or they ran away but came back to yell at the troops. The sound of gunfire attracted even larger crowds.
We heard over the student loudspeakers that there was a state of emergency in Tiananmen. They called on people to go and show their support. He wanted to go at once but I wouldn't let him. I said, "You are just a high school student; what difference can you make?" As I watched the government warnings on TV, I became very scared. But it just made him want to go all the more. I tried to hold him back, but he was so much taller and stronger than me, I couldn't stop him.
All along Changan Avenue troops encountered barricades, and crowds throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. After an intersection was cleared, troops moved more quickly.
A young woman with a home video camera recorded the troops passing Fuxingmen Intersection, about two miles west of the Square.
Down with fascists!
Don't shout! Do you want to get killed?
Look what's written on that truck, "The PLA is for the people." What crap! They've just been shooting the people!
They're going to shoot their way to Tiananmen.
A lot of people will die in the Square tonight.
TIANANMEN SQUARE, STUDENTS AT MONUMENT SINGING
At that time all was still quiet at the Monument. Hou Dejian said that it was like being in the eye of the storm. A hurricane raged all around, but where we were, by our hunger strike tent, things were relatively calm.
HOU DEJIAN in tent on Square
This song is called, "The Beautiful Chinese." The students and the people of Beijing have done amazing things this past month. They've presented a beautiful image of the Chinese to the rest of the world.
Let's spread our wings.
People with a conscience,
Let's open our hearts.
LIU XIAOBO flashlight interview on Square
The government's intentions are now clear. There's nothing more to be said. The important thing right now is our unity and the improvement of our own organizations. In the past I have debated with a lot of people in my writings. I hope that in a moment like this we can put all our differences behind us.
Who will decide the fate of China? The answer is, the people will prevail!
HOU DEJIAN concludes song
Today we are beautiful.
Everything can be changed.
Everything is within our reach.
Around eleven o'clock, two hours before the main body of the troops arrived, a single armored personnel carrier drove into the Square.
Workers and Beijing residents stopped it. Someone hit it with a Molotov cocktail and it caught fire.
The fire hardly slowed it down. Frankly, I was scared and got out of its way. Everyone got out of its way.
The official loudspeakers around the Square suddenly came on and announced the emergency orders of the martial law troops. They said that the government was determined to suppress the counter-revolutionary violent rioting at all costs.
The huge Square, which had been filled with so many people, suddenly was emptying before my eyes. Only those of us on the Monument remained. It really was eerie.
That night I was at a friend's house. She came home around 11 o'clock and said the soldiers had opened fire at Muxidi intersection, and tanks were moving through the streets. I knew some of my students were still in the Square. I had to go there. I arrived at the Square around midnight and found all 12 of my students. I decided to stay with them and do whatever I could to help prevent bloodshed.
GAO XIN speaking to students at Monument
Calm down! Don't panic. There's still time before the troops get here. Let's not lose control. We will not back down!
Pushing the crowds before them, the troops now reached the stretch of Chang'an Avenue that lies between Tiananmen Gate and the Square.
We wanted to see what was happening, so we headed south and ran smack into some soldiers. They weren't shooting into the sky or at the ground. They were shooting straight at us.
Five workers beside me fell. At first, we said, "Come on, guys, stop fooling around and get up!"
But then we saw the blood. Some had been shot in the chest, some in the head. I rushed back to the Worker's Headquarters. Though I was really scared, I still managed to burn all the membership lists.
By now many people -- no one knows how many -- had been killed or wounded. So far most of the casualties were bystanders, and people blocking the advance of the troops.
Having surrounded Tiananmen Square, the soldiers halted and awaited further orders.
When taunted by the crowd, they fired.
At around 3:00 in the morning, several thousand students sat down at the Monument. They wanted to stay to the very end. A lot of blood had already been shed that night, but most of the students in the Square hadn't seen anything, so they didn't know what to believe. Everyone imagined that the soldiers would try to drive us away with clubs, and we would just sit there without budging, and let the blood flow.
Some students handed me a big padded coat and a helmet, and said: Mr. Hou, you're too skinny. You won't be able to stand big clubs or rubber bullets. Here, use this coat for padding. Everyone thought they'd only use rubber bullets. Then, sometime after two o'clock, a couple of doctors and students came running back to the Monument and told us that the soldiers were using real bullets.
Things were getting more tense all the time. Many workers whose friends had been killed in the streets gathered at the Monument. They were very angry and cried, "You students can talk about nonviolence all you want, but our brothers and sisters have been killed!" They pulled knives on us and told us to shut up.
One guy had a semi-automatic rifle. Some student guards and I took it from him. I was terrified. If any gunshots were fired from the Monument, the troops would have had an excuse to gun everybody down. So I tried to smash it on the marble railing of the Monument.
The people at the Monument faced a dilemma. If the students stayed and resisted, many might be killed.
But if they left, would they be betraying the many workers and citizens who had already died to protect them and support their stand?
We heard Chai Ling's voice over the loudspeaker. She said: "Those who want to leave, should leave, and those who want to stay, should stay." Chai Ling wanted to stay. We felt that Chai Ling's approach might be disastrous. People who wanted to leave couldn't do so safely, and those who stayed would be left in greater danger.
We came up with a plan to negotiate with the troops. We thought we should send two people, and asked Chai Ling to send another two representatives from the student headquarters. Together we would ask the army to give us enough time to leave the Square.
At around 3:30, the four people on the hunger strike came to talk to the students. They said, "Blood is being spilled all over the city. More than enough blood has already been shed to awaken the people. We know you're not afraid of dying, but leaving now doesn't mean that you're cowards."
Chai Ling told us she had heard that leading government reformers hoped that the students could stay on the Square until daybreak.
So Liu Xiaobo told her: "I don't care if it's true or not, but no leader has the right to gamble with thousands of students' lives at the Square."
Finally our student headquarters told them, "You can go ahead and negotiate, but you can't represent us."
So we went ourselves. We got into a van and drove only a few seconds before we saw the soldiers, all lined up on Changan Avenue. As we got closer the soldiers pointed their guns at us. They didn't know what we were up to.
A few minutes later, an officer appeared. He listened to what we had to say and went to report to his superiors. He came back and told us that they had agreed to our request. He said, "We hope you can convince the students to leave the Square." We rushed back to the monument to tell the students. Their opinions were divided.
There was little time to debate.
The troops sequestered in the nearby Great Hall of the People now came out and moved toward the Monument.
Soldiers with guns at the ready converged on the students from all directions.
The soldiers came right up in front of us. They were in full battle gear. The students all stood up. I was in the front row, with a gun pointing straight at my chest. It was only a few inches away. The soldiers looked really mean. Only later did the terror hit me. At the time I was simply stunned. I didn't feel a thing. I can't imagine what would have happened had they really opened fire.
I was in charge of the vote to determine whether we should leave. I said, "On the count of three, those who want to go, shout 'Go!'; those who vote to stay shout 'Stay!'" I couldn't tell which side was louder.
I knew that those who wanted to leave would be ashamed to shout very loud, while those who wanted to stay would shout with all their might.
Because of this situation, I felt that when the two sides sounded about the same, most likely more people voted to leave. So I announced the decision to leave.
At dawn on June 4th, after occupying the Square for more than three weeks, all the remaining students and their teachers and supporters left Tiananmen Square.
CROWD SHOUTING AT SOLDIERS
Down with fascists!
Tiananmen Square was empty.
But skirmishes between the people and the Army went on sporadically for several days. There were more deaths on both sides.
We filed out of the Square from the southeast corner. I was near the end of the line. When we turned the corner at the Concert Hall, several tanks came up from behind. Suddenly we heard shouts of panic. We looked back and saw people scrambling to get away, as a tank turned around right in the middle of the crowd. Then we heard screaming and crying. We ran as fast as we could, afraid that the tank was going to run over us.
A student I knew -- he was not from my university -- practically crawled out from under the tank. Two of his classmates were crushed.
His father and I waited at the university gate all night. At about 6:00 in the morning, one of his classmates came back and told us that at around 11 o'clock he'd been hit by a bullet and had bled a lot. He didn't know which hospital my son had been taken to.
I knew I'd never see him alive again. Ever since April when the first wall posters appeared on campus, I'd sensed that something terrible might happen. And, finally, it did. It happened to me, a person who had always tried to avoid trouble. I lost my son.
Within a week of June 4th the Army was firmly in control of the city. The government then began a much harder job: reestablishing its authority and credibility.
Arrests began immediately.
Those caught throwing rocks at the troops, or setting fire to Army vehicles, were tried and summarily executed.
The government compiled wanted lists of leading participants in the movement. Pictures of the 21 most-wanted activists were shown repeatedly on TV.
When the most-wanted list was broadcast, I was on a boat bound for Nanjing. I wasn't the kind of person who could take life on the run. I wanted to return to Beijing and hide because I had so many friends there. I thought, if I got arrested, so be it. As soon as I came back to Beijing they got me.
GOVERNMENT FOOTAGE OF DAI QING
Despite her efforts to dissuade students from prolonged street action, Dai Qing was among those arrested. She was jailed for ten months.
CHINESE GOVERNMENT VOICE-OVER
Dai Qing and others went to the Square adding fuel to the fire of dongluan.
WANG DAN - 4 1/2 years in prison
The crime of counter-revolution is very peculiar. What counts is not your actions, but your intention. I said, "My intention was to help our country democratize." But they said, "Everything you did shows that your intention was to overthrow the government, so you're a counter-revolutionary." Case closed.
HAN DONGFANG - 22 months in prison
When I was in jail I debated with my interrogators. They insisted that the movement was premeditated and well-planned. I told them it wasn't. I said that if conditions existed in our country for people to premeditate and plan such a huge movement, then the Communist Party would have been long gone, vanished without a trace.
Liu Xiaobo, the teacher and critic who took part in the final hunger strike, was jailed for twenty-one months.
CHINESE GOVERNMENT VOICE-OVER - EDITORIAL ON LIU XIAOBO
Let's examine Liu Xiaobo's deeds during the student unrest. Let's see how this evil mastermind conspired with reactionary forces at home and abroad to manipulate the students and instigate dongluan.
History will not conform to the will of reactionaries. The people, only the people, are the true masters of China!
When I left, I thought I'd never see my daughter again. She stood in the doorway. She grabbed my clothes. So I played with her and said, "Bye-bye."
No one else was at home. If my mother knew I was leaving, she would never have let me go. I slipped out when she went out to do the shopping. I said to my daughter, "Say bye-bye to Mama," and pretended not to be sad.
After I left Beijing, I was among farmers. They said to me, "Son, don't be afraid. We'll hide you now, just like we hid the Communists during the War against Japan. Back then weren't the Japanese all powerful? And we didn't let them find the Communists. And now the Communists are all powerful, but we'll never let them find you."
Almost as soon as the struggle over Tiananmen Square ended, the struggle over the story of what had happened there began.
The official account was this:
No one had died during the clearing of the Square at dawn on June 4th. In the approaches to the Square, "ruffians inciting a violent counter-revolutionary insurrection" had been killed, as had a small number of innocent bystanders.
The government went to extraordinary lengths to hunt down and punish anyone whose story strayed from the official line.
One outraged bystander telling atrocity stories to a crowd was interviewed by ABC News.
XIAO BIN, interviewed by ABC News
Is this what the People's Government does? Using tanks to crush people?
The Chinese government intercepted the satellite relay and used part of the interview in a nationwide broadcast. It called on informers to turn the man in.
He was spotted in his hometown, hundreds of miles from Beijing.
CHINESE BROADCAST, XIAO BIN INFORMANTS
She said, "Look at that man! We just saw him on TV!" I said, "Where?" She said, "There!" I looked and there he was!
CHINESE GOVERNMENT VOICE-OVER
This vicious counter-revolutionary instigator is Xiao Bin.
He is a 42-year-old laid-off worker.
I realize that I've committed a crime. I've taken a stand against the people. So of course I'm a counter-revolutionary. However the Party decides to deal with me, I accept it.
Xiao Bin was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
His case was a warning to all: there was only one correct version of events, the government's version.
Protesters who had been at the Square gave differing accounts of what had happened.
Chai Ling, now hiding somewhere in China, sent her story out via Hong Kong.
HONG KONG ANCHORWOMAN
And now here is the full 40-minute message in which Chai Ling recounts what happened between June 3rd and June 4th.
CHAI LING, in taped message
I am Chai Ling, Commander-in-Chief of the Defend Tiananmen Headquarters. I am still alive.
I am the most qualified person to speak about what happened in the Square between June 2nd and June 4th.
... Only later did we find out that some students still had illusions about the government and the army. They thought at worst they would be forcibly removed by the soldiers. They were exhausted and asleep in their tents. These students were crushed by tanks.
... Some say two hundred students died. Others say a total of four thousand people died in the Square. I don't know the exact numbers.
Some people said that two hundred died in the Square and others claimed that two thousand died. There were also stories of tanks running over students who were trying to leave. I have to say that I did not see any of that. I don't know where those people did. I myself was in the Square until six-thirty in the morning.
I kept thinking, are we going to use lies to attack an enemy who lies? Aren't facts powerful enough? To tell lies against our enemy's lies only satisfies our need to vent our anger, but it's a dangerous thing to do. Maybe your lies will be exposed, and you'll be powerless to fight your enemy.
Chai Ling's 40-minute message ended with a call for the Chinese people to rise up.
CHAI LING, in taped message
The more frenzied the fascists become in their brutal suppression, the closer we are to the birth of a true people's, democratic republic! The final moment has come for the survival of our nation! Compatriots, awaken! Down with fascists! Down with military rule! The people will be victorious!
There was no mass uprising.
In the weeks after June 4th, the government tried to clean away the evidence of the movement and its suppression. People stopped talking publicly about what they had seen and done in the spring of 1989.
At one point just about everyone got involved in the movement. Even many party organizations took part. But as soon as it became clear that the government was in control, the movement disappeared as quickly as it had emerged. So many people started saying the opposite of what they really thought. And they rationalized it: I have no choice but to go along.
This situation is not essentially different from what happened at the height of the movement -- words became more radical day by day and actions more irresponsible -- because in a crowd no one felt the need to take individual responsibility. And when the tide suddenly turned, they didn't have the inner strength to stand by what they had said.
These two extremes are actually two sides of the same coin.
The legacy of the movement at Tiananmen is that it made us think. There are two ways of going about change. One is the large-scale mass movement, romantic and grand, which aims to solve major problems overnight. The other method is gradual, grassroots, solidly grounded. It looks for cracks in the system and introduces specific democratic practices which don't necessarily carry a big label saying "democracy."
Which one is more effective in changing China? In changing the course of Chinese history?
I compare the 1989 Democracy Movement to an unripe fruit. People were so hungry that they were desperate. When they suddenly discovered a fruit, they pounced on it, and swallowed it whole. Then they got a stomach ache and a bitter taste in the mouth. So should they have eaten the fruit? You can say they shouldn't have, but they were hungry. And if you say that they should have, what they ate was still green, inedible.
Shortly after June 4th, Deng Xiaoping appeared on television to praise the Army for its heroic efforts.
CHINESE TV ANNOUNCER
Deng Xiaoping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave a warm reception to the officers of the Martial Law Troops.
Deng Xiaoping had presided over a decade of profound economic transformation. And he had many times shielded reform from the attacks of hard-liners. Even after the crackdown of 1989 he would continue to push for reforms.
More than once, Deng had suffered from the absolute power wielded by top leaders in China.
But his reforms stopped short of limiting his own power -- for good and for evil.
Faced with a crisis, he reached for the old weapons.
Deng may have wanted to be remembered as a man who understood the needs of the Chinese people, the Grand Architect of Reform, but the Beijing massacre will forever be a part of his legacy.
DENG XIAOPING speaking to Martial Law officers
I propose that we stand for a moment of silent mourning for the martyrs.
In the government's account, Tiananmen Square was now returned to the People.
Once again the revolution had been sanctified by the blood of martyrs. State ceremonies paid tribute to the soldiers who died, and honored their families.
All this talk about children being the flowers of the motherland, the hope of the nation, is all for show. When they feel that it is in the interest of the Party and the state, they bring on swords, machine guns and tanks.
So I can't watch this stuff on TV. It hurts too much. A life is a life -- why are people treated differently? All my son asked for was a little equality. And it cost him his life.
YOUNG PIONEERS TAKING OATH AT THE MONUMENT
Beloved revolutionary martyrs, may you rest in peace!
The Young Pioneers will remember you!
The people will remember you!
The motherland will remember you!
Let our brilliant red scarves serve as our pledge.
We love the Chinese Communist Party!
We love the socialist motherland!
We love the People's Liberation Army!
We will carry on the cause of Communism!
Communism was once a shared ideal held in the face of oppression and injustice.
The actual political and social systems built in its name fell far short of its original promise. For a long time before the killings in Beijing, Communism was losing credibility around the world.
It no longer grips the minds and imaginations of the Chinese people.
But the Communist Party has not thereby lost its power.
Power without faith leaves a vacuum that can quickly fill with anger, resentment, and despair.
GARBAGE DUMP MUSIC VIDEO
GARBAGE DUMP LYRICS
This world we live in is like a garbage dump.
People are like insects,
All fighting one another.
We eat our conscience,
And we shit ideology.
Is there any hope?
Is there any hope?
Is there any hope?
Is there any hope?
After my son's death, I became suicidal. I had to struggle to get through each day. I thought about other mothers like myself, and young wives who'd lost their husbands, young children who'd lost their fathers. I wanted to look for them so that we could give each other comfort and support.
Should we simply wait for another chance to start a Democracy Movement like 1989? Would that save China? I don't think so. The only way to change our situation is for each one of us to make a personal effort. Every small action counts.
When people abandon hope for a perfect future and faith in great leaders, they are returned to the common dilemmas of humanity.
And there -- in personal responsibility, in civility, in making sacred the duties of ordinary life -- a path may be found.
On the 100th day after my son's death, I brought his ashes back home. He's been here ever since.
One day I want him to be buried with the others who fell with him. I'm hoping that day will come, and I'm working towards it.
The Gate of Heavenly Peace
Produced and Directed by Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton
Editor and Associate Director: David Carnochan
Producers: Peter Kovler, Orville Schell and Lise Yasui
Writers: Geremie Barmé, John Crowley
Editor: Charles Phred Churchill
Associate Producers: Kim Roberts, Nora Chang, Dong Hua,
Kai S. Wang, D.W. Leitner, Liu Yuan
Associate Directors: Geremie Barmé, Gail Hershatter
Archival Research: Kim Roberts, Nora Chang, Karen Cariani, Lewanne Jones, Rosalind Bentley,
Elizabeth Taylor-Mead, Nancy Berliner, Raye Farr, Mia Galison
Interviewer: Carma Hinton
Narrator: Deborah Amos
Camera: Richard Gordon
Line Producer: Tim Callahan
Additional Associate Producers: Liu Baifang, Kathy Kline, Dede Nickerson
Original Musical Compositions by Mark Pevsner
Musicians: Eric Ruske (French Horn), Barbara LaFitte (Oboe) and Mark Pevsner (Piano)
Sound Recordists: Tim Callahan, John Cameron, Alex Griswold, David Shadrack Smith, Kim Roberts
Assistant Camera: Dick Williams, Shou Cheng
Research: Nora Chang, Cathy Clayton
Office Managers: Sue Cousin, Deb Bork
Principal Consultants: Geremie Barmé, Gail Hershatter and Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Consultants: Michael Frisch, Merle Goldman, Gong Xiaoxia, Harry Harding, Ellen Laing, Leo Lee, Andrew Nathan, Barry Naughton, William Parish, Elizabeth Perry, Jonathan Spence, Andrew Walder, Marilyn Young
Colorist: Jimmy Daglish, DuArt Video
Dailies: DuArt Film Laboratories
Audio Post-production: Greg McCleary and Geof Thurber of Heartpunch Studio
On-Line Editor: David M. Allen
Post-production Services by Multivision Inc.
Digital reformatting by Tape House Digital
Video to Film Transform by Four Media Company (4MC)
Negative Cutting: Elliott Gamson, Aaron "Bones" Denenberg, Michael Yetter of Immaculate Matching Inc.
Titles Design: Joanne Kaliontzis
Subtitled by Titra California, Inc.
Photomotion by Ed Joyce and Ed Searles of The Frame Shop
Spanish Wrangler: Juan Mandelbaum
Additional editing: Shady Hartshorne, Eileen Finkelstein
Voiceover Supervisor: Nick Kurzon
Production Assistants: Audrey Un, Luna Behar
Archival footage and still photographs supplied by:
ABCNEWS VideoSource; CBS News Archives; ETV Films Ltd.; Grinberg Film Libraries; Hope Enterprises, Inc.; NBC News Archives; The Sidney D. Gamble Foundation for China Studies; Valerie Samson.
Excerpts from "America Entertains Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping,"
© 1979 New Liberty Productions, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Prerecorded videotape supplied by CNN
© Cable News Network, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Special Thanks: Alberta Arthurs, Bob Bernstein, Laurie Block, Tom Brokaw, K.C. Chang, Pearl Chou, Phil Cunningham, Jack and Dorothy Edelman, Fairbank Center Library, John and Joan Gaines, Harriet Gordon, Howard Granowitz, Scott Greathead, David Haas, Nancy Hearst, William and Katherine Ch'iu Hinton, Huang Yongyu and Zhang Meixi, David Jackson, Linda Jaivin, Jimmy and Theresa, Phyllis Kaufman, Kathy Kennedy, Marty Kurcias, Banary K. Lam, Joy Lewis, Liang Yi, Debbie Lou, Frank Marshall, Ming Yue, Robin Munro, Richard Pendleton, Walter Scheuer, Emily Scott, Shen Shen, R. Shulsky, Bertha Sneck, Lynn Szwaja, Sang Ye, Susie Tompkins, Tan Dun, Barbara Watkins, the Research School of Pacific & Asian History (ANU, Canberra), and Louise Stevenson, Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
Major funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (ITVS).
Additional funding provided by: The Marjorie Kovler Fund, The Aaron Diamond Foundation, the John Merck Fund, The Blue Ridge Foundation, Mass. Council for the Arts, the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Institute.