June 7, 2021 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 283

China Bans Commemoration Of Tiananmen Square Massacre, But Democracy Movement's Heroic Flames Spread Across The World

June 7, 2021 | By Chris King*
China | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 283

On June 4, 2021, the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Chris King, Chinese expert and senior Research Fellow for the MEMRI Chinese Media Studies Project, who participated actively in the student protests in China in 1989, wrote an analysis in English and in Chinese, stating that even though the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned the June 4 commemoration, the spirit of that "peaceful" and "democratic" student movement lives on. King wrote: "Although there is no place to commemorate the June 4 Massacre in China, this magnificent democratic movement is an enlightenment, an epic, a goddess of democracy and an eternal monument of China!"

Below is the analysis:

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the June 4th Tiananmen Incident. From the night of June 3 to the early morning of June 4, 1989, the authoritarian regime of the CCP stunned the world by dispatching combat troops and brutally suppressing the students and Beijing residents who were peacefully petitioning and protesting for democracy and freedom in Tiananmen Square in front of the cameras of the world media, killing hundreds or thousands of people in what came to be called the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

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Xi Jinping Chose To Intensify His Efforts To Monopolize Power And Engage In Dictatorship

This year marks the centenary of the founding of the CCP. At the moment of June 4, the CCP, which has the world's second largest GDP and the world's largest army with more than two million active soldiers, is on guard for all possible dangers and has completely blocked the public from even minor commemoration and remembrance of June 4.

Hong Kong, the only place in China where the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre was freely and openly mourned for more than three decades, has lost its space for freedom under Xi Jinping. "One Country, Two Systems" is dead and "One Country, One System" is on its way. Not only did the CCP begin a harsh crackdown on Hong Kong's liberal and democratic activists, it also banned June 4 commemoration in Hong Kong for the first time and closed the city's June 4 Museum.

I am afraid only the seemingly powerful CCP regime knows why it is so timid and cowardly.

Before and after Xi Jinping came to power, many people had hoped that, because he did not directly participate in it, he would rehabilitate the June 4 Incident and apologize to the Chinese people, unloading the historical burden of the CCP regime and legitimize his administration. Unfortunately, he chose to intensify his efforts to monopolize power and engage in dictatorship.

June 4 was a major turning point in the history of communist rule of China. If there were illusions about the good and evil nature of the CCP before the Tiananmen Massacre, they have been completely shattered since then. The Chinese people have woken up completely and have a new understanding of the brutality of this party and its regime. They have despaired of the rule of the CCP. The Chinese people see clearly that the CCP is an evil mafia-style regime that takes maintaining its power and dominance at all times and in all places as its highest political pursuit, and that it will pay any price for that, even if it involves shedding people's blood and sacrificing countless lives.

The brutal, bloody, and horrific scenes of June 4 directly accelerated the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, which eventually led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the successful democratic transformation of the former communist bloc countries in Eastern Europe.

The June 4 Tiananmen Massacre Was A Heinous Crime Committed By Deng Xiaoping

The June 4 Tiananmen Massacre was a heinous crime committed by Deng Xiaoping. His predecessor, Mao Zedong, the CCP's great dictator, would not have even dared to crack down on the people so brazenly with machine guns and tanks, but Deng Xiaoping not only did it; he did it resolutely and ruthlessly, in a cold-blooded manner. After June 4, Deng Xiaoping, a master of power and strategy, knew his guilt was great, so he adopted an approach of "hiding our capacity and biding our time," and succeeded in winning the "understanding and trust" of Western leaders with such a big hoax. He quickly escaped Western sanctions and kept his power and the ruling position of the CCP. In this sense, Deng's successors, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping, have all been beneficiaries of the massacre.

Deng Xiaoping ruled the Chinese people with the rigor of communism after June 4, and developed the Chinese economy with the system of capitalism, hoping to use money to numb the nerves of the people and make June 4 be forgotten as soon as possible. Thirty-two years have passed, as a result of the strict blockade of the CCP regime and its strict control of the Internet, the younger generation of China is unable to learn about the June 4 Massacre, but the torch is passed from generation to generation: June 4 must not be forgotten.

A few days ago, the CCP Political Bureau conducted a collective study. Xi Jinping was obviously dissatisfied with the fact that the CCP under his control lacks discursive power in the world, and that a good story of China was not being told in other countries, especially in the Western world.

However, how can such a communist regime, that madly slaughtered its own people with the so-called People's Army, that has so far shown no remorse for the June 4 Massacre and that has taken the attitude of "no acknowledgement, no admission of guilt, no apology, no reparation" to it, that treats its people like dirt, and that is increasingly repressing and controlling them, tell a good story about China, and how can it possibly have a good story to tell?

A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Boulevard in Tiananmen Square, on June 5, 1989. (Source: AP/Jeff Widener)

The June 4 Spirit Lives On

China's dysfunctional society, its authoritarian and corrupt politics, its huge wealth gap, its high cost of living, and its lack of human rights in employment have led young people to find their own way into silent protest and resistance.

Just a few days ago, the CCP introduced a new three-child policy, which was met with widespread ridicule and rebuke by most of the public. How can young couples raise so many children in a country where ordinary people are struggling to earn a decent living for themselves?

Against this background is, since last year, the doctrine of China's Lying Flat-ism (aka tangpingnism躺平主义- Tǎng píng zhǔyì), which is not only a feature of the Internet age, but also a new form of June 4th Movement in which China's younger generation is dissatisfied and desperate with the reality and adopts a non-violent and uncooperative approach to the Chinese Communist authorities.

Nowadays, many people talk about the students' missteps during the June 4 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement and the radical intransigence that followed, calling for reflection. However, we believe that no matter how childish and immature the student leaders were, how they did not understand the top-level power operations of the CCP, how they did not know when to best leave off, eventually leading to the tragedy, it was, after all, a peaceful, orderly, passionate but generally rational democratic movement. The CCP, with its absolutely superior resources, had no reason whatsoever to use its field army, which should have been used to resist foreign enemies, to march into Beijing and slaughter unarmed students and citizens!

Although there is no place to commemorate the June 4 Massacre in China, this magnificent democratic movement is an enlightenment, an epic, a goddess of democracy and an eternal monument of China!

Today, we overseas Chinese are lighting candles together, praying for our compatriots who lost their lives 32 years ago, and sending endless thoughts of sorrow.

The June 4 spirit lives on, and it is here.

*Chris King is Senior Research Fellow for the MEMRI Chinese Media Studies Project.

Below is the analysis in Chinese:



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