The Tian’anmen Square Protests
The protests are often seen by Western media and many western academics as a monolithic movement, all urging for the Communist Party to step down and a ‘liberal democracy’ to be enshrined in its place. This idea could not be further from the truth, as at its height, the protest movement in Tiananmen Square had over 80,000 people present.
The movement did not just include students, who were merely the most vocal group, but many factory workers, migrant workers, and rural farmworkers from near Beijing took part in the action; with almost every single group having different politics.
Some protestors were Marxist-Leninists, some were hardline Maoists, some were liberals, and others were placed there. This is not some shadowy Chinese-government conspiracy, but confirmed fact; a joint MI6-CIA operation known as ‘Operation Yellowbird’ was launched to train ‘pro-democracy’ factions in Chinese universities. On the ground, Triads were sent from Hong Kong to train the students in guerrilla warfare, arming them with iron poles and teaching them insurgency tactics.
Operation Yellowbird’s final objective was to ‘extract’ the ‘high-value’ individuals from within the protest movement, of which it succeeded in ‘extracting’ over 400. The reason that Western Media ignores the many thousands of communist protestors in the square, is that Yellowbird’s successes allowed them to focus on the liberal, pro-Capitalist students.
The most famous of these student protest leaders are Chai Ling and Wang Dan. Wang Dan gained power in his University’s new ‘pro-democracy’ group, not through an election, but by essentially declaring himself leader (irony).
Chai Ling is best known for her vitriolic statements calling for direct regime change in China:
“The students did a great job, and the government was forced to change its behaviour; but our ultimate goal is to change the entire system”
In a now-famous US documentary titled The Gate of Heavenly Peace, Chai Ling is interviewed by Peter Cunningham on May 28th, 1989, her now-infamous interview with Cunningham is listed below:
Chai Ling: All along I’ve kept it to myself because being Chinese I felt I shouldn’t bad-mouth the Chinese. But I can’t help thinking sometimes – and I might as well say it – you, the Chinese, you are not worth my struggle! You are not worth my sacrifice!
What we actually are hoping for is bloodshed, the moment when the government is ready to brazenly butcher the people. Only when the Square is awash with blood will the people of China open their eyes. Only then will they really be united. But how can I explain any of this to my fellow students?
“And what is truly sad is that some students, and famous well-connected people, are working hard to help the government, to prevent it from taking such measures. For the sake of their selfish interests and their private dealings, they are trying to cause our movement to disintegrate and get us out of the Square before the government becomes so desperate that it takes action….
Cunningham: “Are you going to stay in the Square yourself?
Chai Ling: “No.”
Chai Ling: “Because my situation is different. My name is on the government’s blacklist. I’m not going to be destroyed by this government. I want to live. Anyway, that’s how I feel about it. I don’t know if people will say I’m selfish. I believe that people have to continue the work I have started. A democracy movement can’t succeed with only one person. I hope you don’t report what I’ve just said for the time being, okay?”
Both Chai Ling and Wang Dan were seen, or at least declared, by western media as the ‘leaders’ of the student movement in the square, and they were given weeks of Western media coverage, whilst the other 79,998 people protesting were assumed to be in lock-step with Chai and the ‘pro-democracy’ protests. At least, that is what you would presume after reading a British or American report at the time.
Not only was this fundamentally not true, but the so-called leader of this movement was actively calling for thousands of people to martyr themselves in the name of ‘freedom and democracy’, as Chai herself points out, she was much too important to be martyred herself; so she opted for extraction to the USA, via the then-British puppet colony of Hong Kong.
Another student protest leader interviewed in The Gate of Heavenly Peace, Feng Congde, says the following about the undemocratic nature of the ‘pro-democracy’ factions in the Square:
“Once they took control of the broadcast station [in the square], they were in power. Often we had to suppress three or four coups a day, at the time I even joked: now I finally understand why Li Peng [Chinese Premier at the time] wanted to suppress the students!”
Clearly, the ‘leadership’ of this protest, or at least, the de-facto leadership that the US had placed in charge through funding (direct and covert), training, and by media attention, had a clear goal in mind; to create the conditions for a massacre in Tian’anmen Square. The protest had started off organically, as a way for Students and pro-reformers to show their support for Hu Yaobang, but it had become co-opted by malicious foreign agents.
The Chinese government, for their part, showed amazing restraint. The protests were allowed to go on unimpeded from the 16th April to the 20th May, without incident. If 70-80,000 sat in and occupied either Parliament Square in Britain or Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., this author doesn’t believe that protest would be allowed to continue without opposition for 7 weeks, be it in 1989 or 2021.