The Tian’anmen Square ‘Massacre’: The West’s Most Persuasive, Most Pervasive Lie.
Written By: Tom Published: 04/06/2021
On the fourth of June, 1989, in Tiananmen Square, Beijing; something happened. In the Western ‘free press’ media’s account, supposedly somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000 unarmed protestors were ‘massacred’ in the Square by the Chinese People’s Liberation army. According to CNN: “hundreds, if not thousands, were killed that day”. According to Reuters: “China has never provided a full death toll, but rights groups and witnesses say the figure could run into the thousands.” However our clearest ‘estimate’ comes from the BBC, who state:
“The Chinese army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests killed at least 10,000 people, according to newly released UK documents. The figure was given in a secret diplomatic cable from then British ambassador to China, Sir Alan Donald.
Previous estimates of the deaths in the pro-democracy protests ranged from several hundred to more than 1,000.”
The BBC makes many false assertions in its reporting, primarily here citing the words of a British diplomat as undeniable fact, but, furthermore, repeating the common western trope many western sources ‘reporting’ on the Tiananmen/6-4 Incident use; referring to it as a ‘pro-Democracy’ protest.
One other common lie is that the Chinese people do not know anything about the incident, due to ‘heavy censorship by their authoritarian government’. Not only is this lie easily disproven by speaking to anybody from mainland China, but Mango Press has previously produced a translation of an official government document, documenting the events of the night
So, what is the truth of the ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’/ ‘6-4 Incident’? That is the purpose of this article. To dig through Chinese sources, western sources, eyewitness accounts, and CIA-leaked cables in order to ascertain the truth of that fateful day. Finally; we will use corroborative evidence to see, once and for all, whether the western side, or the Chinese side, is lying, and to what end.
To understand why the ‘6-4 Incident’ occurred, one must have a basic grasp of the historical conditions that led up to the protests. Unfortunately, many of the historical explanations behind the protest are omitted from bourgeois sources, because when a reader actually understands the material conditions behind the protests they would begin to question the Western Narrative.
The Cultural Revolution
Many of the underlying causes of the 6-4 incident can be traced back to the Cultural Revolution. A full explanation of the Cultural Revolution is far beyond the scope of this article, but a brief summary would be;
In 1966, Mao Zedong’s power within the organisational structure of the CPC (Communist Party of China) had begun to wane after personal failures attributed to the failings of China’s Great Leap Forward. As such, Mao ‘launched’ a revolution to ‘overthrow the four olds’ and purge the party’s ranks of ‘bourgeois elements’. He did this by mobilising student groups in universities, disgruntled workers, and other members of the PRC’s society.
The Cultural Revolution achieved some of its stated goals, including the elevation of the ultra-left “Gang of Four” to prominence in CPC politics. Many contemporary Chinese sources, including People’s Daily, refer to the Cultural Revolution as “a major setback” and consider it a largely flawed movement that wrought chaos across China for an entire decade. People’s Daily, widely considered by bourgeois western media to be a “Chinese Government Mouthpiece” says this of the Cultural Revolution:
“The CPC has admitted, analyzed, and corrected the mistakes made by itself and the leaders of the country, drawing lessons from both failures and successful experiences.” (People’s Daily Online, May 17, 2016.)
But what do the Cultural Revolution and Mao’s ‘power grab’ have to do with Protests in Tian’anmen Square?
More than you can imagine.
The Gang of Four
Again, a complete history of “The Gang of Four” is beyond the scope and scale of this article alone, but to understand the 6-4 Incident, one must also understand what a key role these four individuals played.
The Gang of Four were ‘Ultra-Maoists’, comprising of Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, Wang Hongwen, and Mao’s wife; Jiang Qing. The many chaotic ‘excesses’ of the cultural revolution, including the destruction of religious and cultural heritage sites, have been attributed to their vitriolic activities.
The Gang lost power in 1976, when the premier at the time, Zhou Enlai, died. There was a brief ‘power struggle’ (as western media would refer to it) wherein the Gang of Four controlled the media apparatus, and Hua Guofeng, a ‘pro-Mao’ Reformist, held judicial support. Hua rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping, a famous pro-reform politician in China who had been denounced by the ultra Faction as “a capitalist roader”. Deng became China’s Acting-Premier in 1976 and, soon after, the Gang of Four was arrested.
Jiang Qing – Mao’s wife, attempted to foment an armed insurgency in Shanghai, aimed at overthrowing the Central Committee of the People’s Republic of China. This attempted coup d’etat failed, and the Gang-Of-Four were arrested for their attempts at instigating a counter-revolution. The vast majority of the blame for the chaos and denigration of Chinese society during the Cultural Revolution was attributed to the Gang of Four. All four of them received the death penalty for their roles. (Yan, J.Q., & Gao. G., 1996).
Bring Order out of Chaos
According to Western bourgeois academia, between 750,000, and 1.5 million were killed as a result of the excesses of the Cultural Revolution (The World Peace Foundation, 2016.). The lingering failures and societal damage caused by the brutality of the revolution affected various parties across Chinese society. The neglect of education during the revolution meant that many students lacked official qualifications and sought even greater reforms.
Following the defeat of the Gang of Four, Chinese leadership guided by Deng Xiaoping, launched the “Boluan Fanzheng” policy, (拨乱反正). This policy literally means; “To eliminate chaos, and return to normality” and its main objectives were to undo the chaos of the past decade, and rehabilitate those who had suffered unnecessarily under the hardships of the Cultural Revolution.
One of the leading figures in the Boluan Fanzheng campaign was a high-ranking communist official known as Hu Yaobang. Hu was seen as the ‘Liberal Reformer’ side of the Communist Party leadership, in contrast to the more ‘conservative’ Zhao Ziyang and the ‘centrist’ figure of Deng Xiaoping. Hu was disliked by many of the ‘party elders’ (older, more revolutionary members of the CPC), and following some controversial policy decisions, including further liberalisation to the new Socialist Market Economy, protests sprung up around China. The year was 1987, and many students began protesting in their universities; their message was clear: Further the Reforms.
It is important to remember that during the Cultural Revolution, which had only recently ended when the student protests began, students were encouraged to rebel and criticise their teachers. This was official government policy, and later into the Cultural Revolution, many universities were closed so that their students could be mobilised as paramilitary Red Guards. This mindset was still pervasive in many new students attending universities that had only recently re-opened.
The old guard party elders used this widespread disruption to urge Hu to step down. Now, the terminology ‘further the reforms’ seems like it gives credence to the western series of events; that these protests were a call for ‘Freedom and Democracy!’. Carl Zha, Twitter personality and host of the podcast ‘Silk And Steel’, who was present at the ’87 protests, explains in his episode(s) on Tiananmen that many of the students in 1987 were calling for further social reforms, rather than radical economic or political reform. One example he gives is that in post-cultural revolution China, holding hands with someone who you were dating on campus in university was forbidden. Many social norms were still very conservative, and based in Chinese culture; much of the urge for reform was more toward liberalising the society, rather than the economy or government. (Zha, C. 2019.)
Regardless, western media will purposefully ignore or obfuscate this narrative point in order to serve their own nefarious interests. On the 15th April, 1989, Hu Yaobang died of natural causes. In response, a de-facto funerary vigil began in Tiananmen Square, with many students arriving to lay wreaths or light candles in support of Hu’s Pro-Reform ideology.
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.
The Clearing of the Square
On the 20th May, Martial Law was declared and the protestors were told via news broadcast, and via loudspeakers in the square, to return home. Due to the multiple ‘suppressed coups’ within the protest leadership, and the centralised power of the US-funded Pro-Democracy groups, many people had grown dissatisfied with the protests, especially after protest leaders had failed to propose any tangible solutions when meeting with CPC officials.
Military forces from the surrounding central theatre command attempted to enter Beijing, but were turned away at the entry zones, mostly by disgruntled workers and, as the government reported; actual counterrevolutionary agents.
After regrouping, on the night of June 2nd, the first attempt to clear the square was made. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops sent in had rudimentary riot gear. Due to western sanctions preventing the purchase of anti-riot gear, PLA soldiers were mostly equipped with wooden sticks and plastic helmets, with approximately one-in-ten of the soldiers armed with an assault rifle.
Troops moving up westwards through Chang’an Avenue were set upon, with some mobs disarming the armed soldiers, and others using violence against the soldiers.
Some convoys managed to make their way into Tiananmen Square, where the unarmed soldiers were able to converse with students on the ground; convincing many to leave peacefully.
On the night of June 2nd, all of the violence took place in the side streets, and along Chang’an avenue. Weapons that had been confiscated from the few armed officers were handed out to rioters, APCs were set ablaze with molotov cocktails, and troop transports with more heavily armed soldiers (in response to the first few incidents) were captured.
According to a WashingtonPost article from June 5th, 1989: “anti-government fighters had been organised into formations of 100-150 people. They were armed with Molotov cocktails and iron clubs, to meet the PLA who were still unarmed in the days prior to 4 June” – this article has since been stricken from WaPo’s archives.
Again, weapons were handed out to the bandits manning the hastily constructed barricades blocking the streets. Soldiers who were captured within the troop transports were lynched, with some set ablaze whilst still alive. The below three images show the bodies of Lieutenant Liu Guogeng (刘国庚), Private Cui Guozheng (崔国政), and First Lieutenant Wang Jinwei (王锦伟).
In one instance, Rioters managed to commandeer a People’s Liberation Army Type-63 Armoured personnel carrier (APC) and were filmed ‘joyriding’ it around the streets adjacent to Tian’anmen Square. The video footage also shows rioters driving the stolen vehicle to a military ‘checkpoint’ disembarking its hull, and then firing the vehicle’s main heavy 12.7mm machine gun at the soldiers.
(this video is from China’s CGTN news agency; ‘state-run media’. Curious, we at Mango Press thought that this event was censored, and nobody could discuss it in China? What’s it doing on the national news?!)
Following the intense hostility that the mostly-unarmed riot-troops received upon entering the city, and with a total death toll of 4 protestors (ran over by an Army Trencher) and 15 soldiers/armed police dead, the decision was given for the army to withdraw. A second, more heavily armed attempt to take control of the side-streets would be mounted on June 3rd.
On the night of June 3rd, forces moved into the city and began suppressing the armed, counterrevolutionary rioters. The PLA was engaged by entrenched rioters who had taken up sniper positions in apartment blocks adjacent to Chang’an Avenue, and with their own vehicles which had been commandeered from them; after pushing through and successfully breaking down rioter’s barricades, the PLA could once again send mostly un-armed troops into Tian’anmen.
As corroborated by leaked CIA cables provided by Wikileaks, there was no fighting in Tiananmen Square. No students were executed, and no tanks drove over people. The cable in question recounts the events of the night from the perspective of a Chilean Diplomat named ‘Carlos Gallo’:
“Although gunfire could be heard, Gallo said that apart from some beating of students, there was no mass firing into the crowd of students at the Monument. When Poloff mentioned some reportedly eyewitness accounts of massacres at the monument with Automatic weapons, Gallo said that there was no such slaughter. Once agreement was reached for the students to withdraw, linking hands to form a column, the students left the square through the Southeast Corner.
Essentially everyone, including Gallo, left. The few that attempted to remain behind were beaten and driven to join the end of the departing procession. Once outside the square, the students headed west on qianmen dajie while Gallo headed east to his car.” (the CIA 1989.)
After the events of June 4th, the Chinese Government released a casualty estimate of approximately 300 killed. Immediately, the western world treated this figure with scorn and laughter; because the more insidious narrative had already been written by multiple western outlets. ‘Estimates’ from US ambassadors, British media reporters, and later British diplomats, ranged from 1,000 to 3,000 and then eventually to 10,000(!) casualties.
Although one week later, the Chinese government ratified its casualty total at 203. This figure hasn’t changed since it was proclaimed by the Chinese government, whilst western estimates seem open to increase whenever a western nation demands it.
One of the most quoted voices regarding the ‘massacre’ in the days following, was none other than US Media’s favourite rioter, Chai Ling.
Chai Ling said initially that: “They [students supposedly still in the square after it was cleared] were exhausted and asleep in their tents; these students were then crushed by tanks”.
Interestingly, the previously cited CIA Cable also debunks Chai Ling’s lies:
“The troops began a slow orderly approach to the monument from the north with soldiers on foot preceding APCs. From what he could see, Gallo felt that most of the tents on the square were empty when the armored vehicles rolled over them.”
Furthermore, it isn’t just the CIA itself that debunks the statement of one of its agents, but also another Student protest leader and famous Taiwanese Rockstar Hou Dejian, featured in The Gate of Heavenly Peace. Following Chai Ling’s incendiary lies to Western Media, Hou said:
“Some people said that 200 died in the square, some said 2,000 died there. There were also some stories [Chai Ling] of tanks in the square, running over the students who were trying to leave, I have to say that I did not see any of that, and I do not know where they did; I myself was in the square, until 6:30 that morning. — I kept thinking, are we going to use lies, to attack an enemy who lies?”
A recent investigation by one of the mother’s of a student who died on June 4th arrived at a total death toll of 188 (Globaltimes, 2017.) which is remarkably close to the official estimate given by the mayor of Beijing on the 6th June 1989:
“Report on Checking the Turmoil and Quelling the Counterrevolutionary Rebellion,” it was released on Jul 6, 1989, by Mayor Chen Xitong of Beijing.
“More than 3,000 civilians were wounded and more than 200, including 36 students, died in the riot”, he wrote.” (Wong, K., 2017)
Many westerners, including western reporters, genuinely believe that nobody in China has heard of Tiananmen. They believe that state censorship is so brutal that merely discussing the event can see you carted off to a gulag; this article has used many Chinese government sources to back the arguments presented, including many sources that have only recently been translated into English from their native Chinese.
Wang Dan, amongst many other protesters from within the Square on June 4th, were arrested, and some (including Wang) spent time in prison for their treasonous activities (including taking part in CIA clandestine operations.) – Wang Dan is now a free man, living in the USA. But didn’t the western media tell you that China executed every student protester they arrested? Just not the ring leader, I suppose.
Chinese people may not refer to the events of June 4th as ‘The Tiananmen Square Massacre’, but they are often far more knowledgeable about the events of that day than the average westerner who uses ‘Tiananmen’ as a cudgel to ‘prove authoritarianism’ – in reality, this Western obsession with a defeated Chinese counterrevolution shows how susceptible people from the West are to propaganda. The Chinese people refer to the event as the ‘6-4 incident’, for they know better than us that there was no massacre in Tian’anmen Square on June 4th, 1989; just a suppressed violent riot in the side streets.
The BBC simply informs you that they’re inflating the Tian’anmen Death Toll to 10,000 because: “we found some secret notes” and we are to take that as sovereign fact; but when the Chinese version of events has been cast-iron since 1989, one must ask oneself; why are they lying to me so much about China!?
When a nation, especially a Communist/Socialist nation starts to rival the world powers of the day, propaganda is written about it. This is a simple, inarguable, fact. But when this propaganda is presented to us, we accept it without question. Due to the material conditions of the capitalist societies that create this propaganda, the workers have little time, or energy left to critically analyse the ‘news’ that is being force-fed to them. A simple visual example would be the below two images; the first image is presented by the propagandists as ‘evidence’ to allude to the idea of a massacre occurring; if you, however, spend a few moments looking at the photo, all is not as it appears. The second image illustrates just how a picture of strewn-about bikes can be presented as cast-iron evidence from the Imperial Core.
The most infamous propaganda angle is the image of ‘Tankman’, standing in front of, and bringing to a halt, a column of over 30 Type-62 Main Battle tanks. The assumption made by this photo is the bravery of one man, standing in front of tanks that have (supposedly) just finished committing a massacre.
The entire video, ironically, shows how the entire column grinds to a halt to not drive over this one man, a strange move for the architects of a massacre. Furthermore, ‘Tankman’ climbs onto the Hull of the first tank, and bangs on its hatch. All the while holding his bags of shopping. ‘Tankman’ then converses with the tank crew for about 25 seconds, before carefully and gently climbing down, and being led away to safety by his friends. The tanks then continue onwards down Chang’an Avenue, back to base, leaving the square.
The cropped image, displayed by western media, shows the ‘Tankman’ blocking a few tanks, and they rarely show the full footage, including the nonchalant conversation the young man has atop the Type-62.
And anyway, if a protestor in ‘The Land of the Free’ took it upon themselves to replicate Tankman’s ‘brave’ action, it would go down just as it did in Beijing, right?
The western series of events, from the ‘so-called’ free, Liberal Media makes no coherent sense. There is never an explanation as to why the students were protesting in the square in the first place, and there is very rarely any discussion about the student groups’ very disparate aims.
If we are to believe that a column of Tanks would stop for one man, after just murdering 10,000 in a bloodlust, then what other increasingly ludicrous lies do the West write about China?
Note; Any time a western ‘news’ story about China is debunked, the 6-4 Incident is used as a cudgel. Every propaganda hit-piece written about China can be “justified” by pointing to the ‘Evil Chinese Government’s lies about Tian’anmen.’
In Tian’anmen Square, on June 4th 1989, there was No Massacre. There was brutal fighting in the side streets between armed, counterrevolutionary elements, and the Police and the Army. The death toll for the entire event was 241 total fatalities, including Soldiers, Police, and rioters.
Following the Violence, there were no executions related to the event. Wang Dan, a protest leader and an inciter of violence, who failed to flee to the West, was arrested. He received 4 years in prison, plus 2 years in custody awaiting trial; for inciting counterrevolutionary violence, the man received only 6 years in prison. He now lives freely in the sanctity of the capitalist west.
The real reason that the West is forced to lie to you about the events of this day, is to save face. They attempted to overthrow China’s sovereign government through the medium of fascist violence, and their coup attempt was crushed. Masterfully.
- CNN: Tiananmen Square massacre: How Beijing turned on its own people
- Reuters: Timeline: From reform hopes to brutal crackdown – China’s Tiananmen protests
- BBC: Tiananmen Square: What happened in the protests of 1989?
- BBC: Tiananmen Square protest death toll ‘was 10,000’
- NYT: The Tiananmen Square Anniversary: A Guide to Our Coverage
- People’s Daily: Commentary: China will never allow the repetition of Cultural Revolution
- Yan Jiaqi & Gao Gao (translated & edited by D.W.Y. Kwok), Turbulent Decade – A History of the Cultural Revolution (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1996)
- The World Peace Foundation (2016, December 14.). China: the Cultural Revolution.
- Zha, C., EP#19-Tiananmen Memories Part 2 [Silk and Steel Podcast, Episode 19]
- Mango Press: report on stopping unrest and quelling counterrevolutionary riots, translated by: Deng, Z.
- CIA (1989). LATIN AMERICAN DIPLOMAT EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF JUNE 3-4 EVENTS ON TIANANMEN SQUARE
- GT, (2017): West hypes false Tiananmen death toll
- Wong, K. (2017.): 2,800 or 10,000 dead? Dispute over Tiananmen death toll rages on 28 years later
- Sun, FY., & Day, R. (03.03.2021.). Another view of Tiananmen
- Tovarisch Endymion. (10.10.2019.). Truth about the Tiananmen square protests.
- Qiao Collective (04.06.2020) Tiananmen Protests Reading List