30 Years Ago: Beijing Chiefs Face Opposition

30 Years Ago: Beijing Chiefs Face Opposition

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the nationwide, student-led movement in China, and the subsequent military crackdown in Beijing. To mark the occasion, CDT is posting a series of original news articles from that year, beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 and continuing through the tumultuous spring. 

From the June 6, 1989 New York Times:

Mao used to say that 95 percent of the people were with the Communist Party and only 5 percent against it…. With the current crackdown in Beijing, Mao’s estimate has been turned on its head. Or at the very least, China’s leadership, probably for the first time, is now actively opposed by large numbers of its own people.

If that is true – and the mass demonstrations and the Government’s brutal response to them indicate that it is -the events in China represent the long-term failure of China’s Communists to turn to their advantage a virtually unparalelled opportunity. Only a few months ago, most analysts of China believed that, despite many horrible mistakes, Chinese Communism had been, on balance, a success.

It had reunified the country for the first time in half a century, given it respect in international affairs and, particularly with the economic initiatives of the last decade, set it on an upward economic path.

Now the judgment would have to be far harsher. [Source]

See also from the same day:

– In Blood, a New China Is Born from the NY Times
– China’s Gunfire Echoes In London, Hong Kong from the Toledo Blade
– An Army With Its Own Grievances from the NY Times.

shells
Beijing citizens show bullets and shells to news reporters, via CND

[This series was originally posted by CDT in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the protests. If you have access to additional sources of original reporting, video, accounts or photos from the spring of 1989, please send them to us at [email protected] and we’ll consider including them in this series. Many thanks.]

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