Asian Values Essay

1349 words - 6 pages

2. Tiananmen Incident

The incident started when a students’ favorite pro-reform politician, Hu, died on April the 15th 1989. He was a Chinese reformer or so considered by many, due to the numerous policies that he enacted while on duty, as he proposed some changes to be done within the government, wanting to make this last one more transparent and removing some governmental control over the economy. All these changes done, made him very popular among people, especially students, many of whom were very frustrated with the bureaucratic, corruption and strict party control of the government by then.

Thousands of people gathered together for a last good bye in his funeral. As more and more ...view middle of the document...

On the other hand, the student leaders quite eager to show the patriotic nature of the movement, also toned down anti-Communist slogans, choosing to present a message of "anti-corruption, anti-cronyism" but "pro-party". However, in a twist of irony, student factions who genuinely called for the overthrow of the Communist Party gained traction as a result of the previously printed editorial.
Shortly after the editorial came out, on April the 30th, the party's General Secretary, Zhao Ziyang, who returned from a trip to North Korea, was dismayed at the aggressive stance that the government had taken, and advised it to take a more conciliatory approach. Hence, he and Li Peng argued over the issue, but Li Peng managed to convince the overall leader of China, Deng Xiaoping, that the protests were a real threat to the security of the country and the legitimacy of the party, and that military suppression was necessary. Moreover, the party began to feel more and more pressure as people continued to join the protest and students started hunger striking. When Zhao Ziyang learned that Deng had agreed to militarily suppress the protests, he declined to participate due to the fact that he believed the student's concerns about corruption were legitimate, and that their movement was patriotic in nature, therefore he went to talk to the protesters, urging them to go home peacefully before the suppression started.
However, by May the 13th students had already begun a hunger strike right two days prior the highly publicized state visit by the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. What is more, knowing that the welcoming ceremony for Gorbachev was scheduled to be held on that Square, student leaders wanted to use the hunger strike there as a bargaining chip to force the government into meeting their demands. Thus, the hunger strike gained widespread sympathy among the population at large scale, earning the moral high ground that it sought by all, that by that afternoon, 300,000 people had already gathered at the Square.
On June the 2nd, it was already decided that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will be sent to clear Tiananmen Square, therefore soldiers started to move around Beijing the next day. As a result, the protesters violently displayed around against them accompanied by many local residents gathering together crowding the streets in order to block the opponents to get the square. By 1:00 AM that morning, the army had already gotten over Tiananmen Square, with only a few thousand protesters left behind. On June the 3rd, right after they declining of a final offer of amnesty, tanks rumbled got over the capital's streets and randomly started firing on unarmed protesters as the army moved into the square from several directions, leaving the square totally cleared by 5:40 AM.

All in all, the clearing of Tiananmen Square was criticized around the world, starting from an economic sanction to China given by the US, to large-scale protests taken place in Hong...

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