Tiananmen Square, 25 years later

On 04-06-1989, the workers and students demonstration on Tiananmen Square in the ''People's'' Republic of China, was brutally crushed by soldiers and tanks of the ''People's Liberation'' Army. Workers and students united to oppose the capitalistic reforms, which started after Deng got political power in 1978. He started with the Free Economic Zones in which foreign capitalists were allowed to use Chinese workers at very low wages. These zones were very successfully and China started to grow. But workers were not happy with the turn to the right-wing by the Chinese ''Communist'' Party. Students were inspired by the social movements in Eastern Europe, who started to rebel against the Stalinist governments. The goals of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations were: Social equality, a communist party without corruption, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, genuine socialism and democracy. Never did the workers and students demanded a capitalist society!!

The current government of the ''People's'' Republic of China, tries to silence all people who dare to remember the bloody crack down. The official number of deaths is between 200 and 300. But the actual death number is far higher. We revolutionary socialists think that over 1.000 people were murdered by soldiers and tanks of the ''People's Liberation'' Army. The Tiananmen Square demonstrations ended in blood and death. The ruling caste of the Chinese ''Communist'' Party decided to halt some market reforms, but rolled back the political reforms. The party tightened their control over the Chinese media, forbidding them to speak about the 1989 demonstrations on Tiananmen Square. Even today the media in the PRC does not speak about the 25 year anniversary of this brave moment in Chinese history!

Deng Xiaoping is the traitor who caused the bloody crackdown. He was a reformist Maoist, a supporter of a ''socialist market economy'', a economy based on the dominance of the state-owned sector and an open-market economy. Deng worked close with Hu Yaobang who was General Secretary of the party between 1982 and 1989. While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the CCP, he nonetheless was the "paramount leader" of the nation from 1978 to 1992. As the core of the second generation leaders, Deng Xiaoping shared his power with several powerful leaders like Hu Yaobang!

As world stalinism started to collapse, Hu Yaobang wanted to enforce political reforms. Reforms that threaten the ruling caste of the party. Like most communist parties, all power was centralized in a tiny group known as the Politburo. Many members of this ruling body were old men by 1989. The workers and students wanted these old men gone, as their nepotism and corruption was destroying China. Hu Yaobang was removed as General Secretary of the CCP by the conservative party leaders, who opposed Hu's ideals of free speech and political freedom. He died on 11 April 1989, after a hearth attack!

Many workers and students blamed Deng Xiaoping for removing Hu from the position of General Secretary. On 22 April, more then 50.000 Chinese marched to Tiananmen Square to participate in Hu's memorial service and to protest against the conservatives who removed Hu from his position. Soon the protesters grew each day. What started as a demonstration of 50.000, turned into massive protests in over 400 Chinese cities. When Soviet leader Gorbachev visited China on 16 May, the workers and students remained in Tiananmen Square. The government of the PRC told Gorbachev that the Chinese ''Communist'' Party was still in control of the nation!

More Chinese started to join the protests against the communist party. Workers sang; The Internationale and demanded genuine socialism. Students build a statue of the Greek Goddess of Democracy, which became a symbol of the 1989; Tiananmen Square demonstration. On 20 May, the government declared martial law and ordered 250.000 troops from the ''People's Liberation'' Army into the capital. Like most Stalinist governments who are faced with a popular uprising, the ruling bureaucrats called the protesters ''counter-revolutionary''. This is a tactic used by many stalinists, who think they are the only genuine revolutionary vanguard of workers. In China however the working class turned against the ''vanguard'' party and demanded political freedom and democratic socialism. Deng Xiaoping could not tolerant this, because that would mean abandoning his hold on absolute power, which he and his party bureaucrats enjoyed for 40 years!

On the night between 3 and 4 June 1989, Deng Xiaoping and three members of the party politburo prepared to clear the square. PLA units advanced on Beijing from every cardinal direction. The 38th, 63rd and 28th Armies from the west, 15th Airborne Corps, 20th, 26th and 54th Armies from the south, the 39th Army and the 1st Armoured Division from the east and the 40th and 64th Armies from the north. The plan of Xiaoping was clear, removing the workers and students from the square with brutal force!

At 10.00 am, the PLA attacked the protesters, who became very angry and started to fight back. The government claimed the soldiers acted in self-defence when they opened fire. In reality the people only became mad when the soldiers attacked them. Around 12.00 am, armoured vehicles entered Tiananmen Square, were still 60.000 demonstrators remained. The workers and students threw chunks of cement at the vehicles. One vehicle stalled, perhaps by metal poles jammed into its wheels and the demonstrators covered it with gasoline which were set on fire. The intense heat forced out the three occupants, who were swarmed by demonstrators. Armoured vehicles had reportedly run over tents and many in the crowd wanted to beat the soldiers for this!

The people fought back, but were facing a massive army who used lethal force to clear the square. At the Monument for People's Hero's, the last thousand demonstrators were circled in. Soldiers opened fire with their Type-56 machine guns and fired over their heads. Students used megaphones and told the soldiers: "We entreat you in peace, for democracy and freedom of the motherland, for strength and prosperity of the Chinese nation, please comply with the will of the people and refrain from using force against peaceful student demonstrators''. But the soldiers did not stopped and many innocent students were killed. Soon the statue of the Goddess of Democracy was destroyed by the tanks of the People's ''Liquidation'' Army!

On 5 June, the demonstration was immortalized when a western journalist made a picture of a column of Type 59 battle tanks, moving into the square. They were rolling towards the city centre, when suddenly a man stood in front of them. The tanks tried to turn, but every time the man moved in their path. For a few moments, this unknown Chinese stood in front of four Type 59 battle tanks, hindering them from entering Tiananmen Square. Until this day we don't know who this ''Tank Man'' was. Some say he was captured by the secret police, others think he was killed during the assault on the square. Still the picture of ''Tank Man'' became the symbol of a Chinese hero who stood against the might of the PLA and was able to stop the tanks for a few moments!

The western world reacted with a arms embargo against China. But would not stop their capitalists from exploiting Chinese workers. Because in the 1990's, China would open up more to foreign business, creating huge profits for these enterprises. By 2014, most plastic products are Made in China. After the bloody crackdown, the government of India told its media to keep their criticism to a minimum. As they preferred not to anger the Chinese government. Again human rights came second to trading rights. India was also on the road toward laissez-faire capitalism by 1989, much like China!

Stalinist nations like Cuba, Czechoslovakia and East Germany supported the crushing of the demonstrators. East German leader; Erich Honecker called them a ''counter-revolutionary'' force. Fidel Castro also supported the killing of workers and students, who demanded; social equality, a communist party without corruption, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, genuine socialism and a democracy!

After the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, the Chinese government retook control over the media and limited more freedoms. The demonstrations also proofed that the government lacked anti-riot police forces, as the People's ''Liquidation'' Army was the only force capable of braking the lines. The People's Armed Police was strengthen to crush urban workers, we saw this during the latests strikes. Police officers work with the local bosses of capitalist enterprises and use brutal force in braking strikes. They invade striking businesses and use intimidation and violence against those who strike for better wages and fair treatment!

There are many books and movies censored in China which are about the 1989 demonstrators. Among the works banned are:

  • Political Struggles in China's Reform Era by Yang Jisheng, for featuring secret interviews with Zhao Ziyang and rejecting the Chinese government's position on the protests.
  • Summer Palace was banned in 2006, ostensibly because it was screened without permission, but likely also because of its mention of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
  • Forbidden City was banned in 2006.
  • Collection of June Fourth Poems, a collection of poems about the protests.
  • Writings or interviews with Zhao Ziyang or Bao Tong are banned. As such, Conversations with Zhao Ziyang in House Arrest by Zong Fengmin was not published due to government pressure. However, Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang was published outside of China in May 2009 after audio tapes were smuggled out of China.
Revolutionary socialists have never supported the deformed workers state that was China before Deng Xiaoping. Sure we supported the concept of a planned economy, but we rejected the single party state and Chinese ''Communist'' Party, who still rules China. The reason Deng choose for capitalism is because he was never a genuine communist. He wanted China to become rich and wealthy, so he sold his people to foreign capitalists. There is no greater betrayal then selling your own workers to capitalists. Western imperialists praise Deng for ending poverty for millions. Yet many Chinese still believe that under Mao Zedong the life was better. Sure the reject the revolutionary dogma's of the Cultural Revoltuion, but they want their social security back. The free healthcare and free education, all abolished under Deng Xiaoping!

Little Deng died in 1997, age 92. Officially, Deng was eulogized as a "great Marxist, great Proletarian Revolutionary, statesman, military strategist, and diplomat; one of the main leaders of the Communist Party of China, the People's Liberation Army of China, and the People's Republic of China; The great architect of China's socialist opening-up and modernized construction; the founder of Deng Xiaoping Theory'' 

Pure bullshit. Deng Xiaoping was a reformist Maoist until 1978 and then a supporter of state-capitalism until his death in 1997. He transformed China from a backward deformed workers state, into a nationalist state-capitalist republic. Under Deng Xiaoping, money became the new god and many young Chinese embraced the cult of greed and the exploitation of the weak. This is the true legacy of Deng and this is why we revolutionary socialists call for a second Tiananmen Square. To end the single party state and the dictatorship of capitalism. Workers of China have shown that they can unite, they only need a party that stands for their interests!

Red banners at Tiananmen Square, June 1989. Workers and 
students wanted genuine socialism!

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism