Those nights in Tiananmen Square …

13 Oct

In June last year the Australian not-for-profit, Critical Social Work Publishing House, ran a piece by Milton James: 1989 Tiananmen Square “Student Massacre” was a hoax. This was flagged as a thirty-four minute read.

I don’t like that ‘hoax’ descriptor. It’s accurate – the piece assembles too much detail to deny it – but too small a word. As with more recent allegations, debunked here, of mass atrocities on the Uighurs in a region bordering Afghanistan and central to a Belt & Road eloquently symbolic of why the US and its junior partners fear China’s economic rise …

… Tiananmen Square 1989 holds mythic status in the manufacture of Western opinion on China. Which is to say, in the fast accelerating manufacture of Sinophobia.

Two days ago – in Who wants a war with China over Taiwan? – I wrote of two implicit and sorely misinformed assumptions in almost any dialogue within the West about China:

  • We are better than Them because we are a democracy and they are not.
  • We are better than Them because we have free speech and they do not.

Both are rebutted in that post. More generally, how ill served we are by media business models which, the sincerity of many journalists notwithstanding, cannot but subordinate truth to power is the theme of many of my posts. This for instance.

Again, ‘hoax’ is too small a word given the stakes. Should ‘we’ go to war with China – if only by hair-triggered miscalculation after one round too many of “let’s play chicken” – our passive and characteristically uninformed consent will have been obtained on the basis of an understanding of China, as Evil Empire, skilfully woven from tissues of lies such as those on the Uighurs.

And those on Tiananmen Square, 1989. So since the stakes could hardly be higher, why not set aside the thirty-four minutes allegedly needed (I was too engrossed to keep tally) to read the Milton James piece? It begins:

In recent times, the words “Remember Tiananmen Square” have become a slogan serving to remind us that we are dealing with an “evil empire” here.

But what if the so called “Tiananmen Square Student Massacre” never happened, at least not in the way mainstream media continues to portray it? The story that Chinese troops machine-gunned hundreds of innocent student protesters on the night of 3rd or 4th June 1989 has been thoroughly debunked by many of those present in the Square on those nights. Among them was a Chilean diplomat (Second Secretary), a Spanish TVE television crew, a correspondent for Reuters, and protesters themselves, all of who said nothing happened that night other than a military unit telling the remaining students to leave the Square; there was no student Massacre in Tiananmen Square. Similarly, a well-known Taiwan-born writer Hou Dejian, who had been on a hunger strike in the Square in show of solidarity with the students, said “Some people said that 200 died in the Square and others claimed that as many as 2,000 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 myself was in the Square until 6:30 in the morning.”

I have come across three very interesting articles. The first is a blog dated 2nd June 2019 posted on World Affairs website and titled “Tiananmen Square Massacre – Facts, Fiction and Propaganda”. The second is an article by Gregory Clark, former Australian diplomat, published in the Japanese Times on 3rd June 2014 titled “What really happened at Tiananmen?” The third is a much older article by Long Xin Ming, titled “Let’s talk about Tiananmen Square, 1989: My hearsay is better than your hearsay”. It talks of a workers’ revolt in Beijing at the same time as the student protest outside of Tiananmen Square. This was a real and far more important event that was totally missed by Western journalists in Beijing, most of whom were hanging out in the Beijing Hotel at the time. 

Drawing on these sources, and on contemporaneous photographs – a few of them gruesome – Mr James assembles a very different picture of what happened on those nights in Tiananmen Square. Here for a third time is the link.

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4 Replies to “Those nights in Tiananmen Square …

  1. Thanks Phillip.
    I have told many people that what was reported about Tiananmen Square by the Sinophobic western pro imperialist press is a fiction of their own making. A con. A lie. And yes, a hoax. But to my mind a hoax is a prank and therefore no real harm was intended by the misinformation. That is wholly untrue and is an insult, not just to the Chinese Republic, who continue to embarrass their western elite regimes like FUCKUS with their reasoned, sober and equitable approach to the truth by words and deeds, but also to the western citizens for making the assumption that we are all rather stupid and extremely gullible.

    Both China and Russia, despite the many western imposed difficulties thrown at them, have performed better under their respective governments than the so-called (by themselves) superior democracies, in terms of housing, health care, job creation, Human Rights and poverty levels which is why the failing morally bankrupt “democracies” a myth in itself, rely so heavily on misdirection, misinformation, misrepresentation and outright lies along with double standards that defy belief and coercive bullying.

    In this way, telling the biggest whoppers whilst denying and hiding their own corrupt and murderous activities is obviously a sound and proven tactic in organising the narrative, morphing it into fairy tales rather than reality.

    Keep up the good work of exposing the malicious and perfidious, morally depraved liars!

    Will now follow the links you provided and enjoy a taste of the truths and facts available to people who aren’t either brain dead or simply brainwashed in their cognitively dissonant world.

    Stay safe
    Susan:)

    • Hi Susan. Yes, ‘hoax’ is the kind of prank children play on April Fool’s Day.

      On the bigger issues, as with the narratives on Russia, China and for that matter Syria, the uncritical assumption – usually unstated but I’ve more than once heard it said out loud – is that where all corporate media carry the same message, then it must be true.

      Whereas we whose eyes are at least partially opened say something different: where all corporate media carry the same message, then that message is crucial to ruling class interests. That too few see this is down, I think, to the enormity of letting in just how dark are the agendas of those who rule us.

    • In this way, telling the biggest whoppers whilst denying and hiding their own corrupt and murderous activities is obviously and sound and proven tactic in organising the narrative, morphing it into fairy tales rather than reality.

      We seem to have travelled a long way since Berney, via his pupil Goebbels, the MK Ultra experiments etc, in manipulating mass public perceptions and it seems on the basis of the links provided in this article

      … that we have not yet completed that journey. The sociopaths and psychopaths running the show in the West will never be satisfied until they control every conscious and unconscious thought of every single unit of production on the planet and beyond.

      As noted here.

      Many intellectuals believe that the Catholic Church is ‘an important precursor and ongoing contributor to globalization’ backed by a powerful theology that claimed: “Humanity itself would only have fulfilled God’s purpose for the world once, in the words of the Psalm, ‘the Word had reached to the end of the Earth’ (Psalms, 18.5). This implied a future state, but it was one that would one day be fulfilled, and when it was the purely Christian polis – the respublica christiana – it would come to embrace literally the whole Earth.” (Refer Anthony Pagden, ‘The Christian Tradition’, in States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries). The Catholic Church indeed had a desire to bring the world ‘under a common congregation of the faithful’ – hence, involvement in geopolitics was an integral part of the church DNA.

      There exists a long historical cultural and xenophobic dynamic in Western approaches which cannot cope with the existence of anything either on or off planet which is not of its own origin. Which it views as unique, exceptional and being the only legitimate entity with a right to exist. In this regard the nearest example I have encountered is the fictional entity ‘Morning Light Mountain’ in the science fiction writer Peter F Hamilton’s novel ‘Judas Unchained’ which saw the existence of any other life than itself as an affront to be exterminated and extinguished.

      The current state of play indicates that the only way to prevent the logical result of this trajectory will be via external rather than internal intervention in a way which eliminates the parasitic and dangerous system paradigm this represents and on a scale far greater even than that which defeated the German Reich in the 1940’s.

      • The current state of play indicates that the only way to prevent the logical result of this trajectory will be via external rather than internal intervention …

        I agree. It is precisely because of my own similar assessment that I look, for even a modicum of hope, not to resistance currents within the West but to China. See the opening paragraphs of my recent Open Letter.

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