Saturday, June 04, 2005

A Grim Remembrance

Just read a CNN report on the anniversary of the Chinese government's massacre of its students in Tiananmen Squre in 1989 (CNN referred to it as a crackdown, but as far as I'm concerned, it's more than that when hundreds of people are killed)...

China's Communist Party has eased many of the social controls that spurred the 1989 student-led protests, which ended when soldiers and tanks attacked, killing hundreds of people. But Chinese leaders still crush any activity that they fear might challenge its monopoly on power.

And now they're engaged in a military buildup with Rummy shaking a stick at them. It's bad enough that the country is, far and away, the biggest financier of our debt, and now this...


In their rare public comments about 1989, Chinese leaders defend the crackdown by pointing to the nation's emergence as an economic powerhouse since then, saying it would have been impossible without the enforced stability of one-party rule.

Well, I guess that's the logic you'd expect from a totalitarian regime.

The anniversary, always sensitive for communist leaders, is especially touchy this year because it follows the death in January of Zhao Ziyang, the former Communist Party boss who was purged in 1989 after sympathizing with the protesters.

A retired senior Chinese official, Li Pu, called on Beijing to vindicate the 1989 pro-democracy movement, which was branded a "counterrevolutionary riot" by the Communist leadership.

"The students made big mistakes, but the government's military crackdown was even worse. It was extremely wrong to send troops against ordinary people," Li, former vice president of China's official Xinhua News Agency and a friend of Zhao's, said in an interview with Hong Kong's government-owned radio RTHK.
"History will give Zhao Ziyang justice. Some years later, June 4 must be vindicated," he said in the radio program.

We can only hope and pray that Li Pu is right. We can also hope and pray that those high school students who, when surveyed on the First Amendment earlier this year, said that it "goes too far" will eventually read about what happened in Tianenmen Square to their peers in China who sought the right that they disregard in such a cavalier fashion.

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