Chang Ping: China Needs to Address Causes of June 4

Chang Ping, a columnist and former senior editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly, writes in South China Morning Post about the People’s Daily editorial of April 26, 1989, which effectively declared the protests in Tiananmen Square an anti-Party revolt that must be opposed by the Party and the people. He also argues that a reversal of the verdict on the 1989 protest movement will not be effective without resolving the “problem of autocratic leadership”:

Between April and June in 2009, I visited the University of Hong Kong three times and watched from the sidelines the heated debate on June 4 that unfolded on campus that year. The dramatic result of the controversy was the ousting of HKU student union president Ayo Chan Yi- ngok, but the fiercest argument was between the Hong Kong and mainland students on their different views about the 1989 protests.

Some upset mainland students came to me for answers. I realised that their understanding of the movement was largely based on the so- called “4/ 26 editorial” and its conclusion that “without firmly putting down this upheaval, our country would have no peace”, and we could not enjoy the economic development today. I patiently filled in some of the missing history, but never thought to go through the editorial together with them.

The editorial marked a turning point in the June 4 movement.

Read a translation of the full April 26 editorial, via the Gate of Heavenly Peace website. See also more about the 1989 protests via CDT, including a series of posts in 2009 which revisited original news reporting from each day throughout the spring of 1989. Read more by and about Chang Ping via CDT.


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