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CCP come clean about 1989 June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

“The ones who should die did not, but who should not died!”

A slogan pointing at Deng Xiaoping and other hardline communists.

Update 1 September 2021 : BBC radio 4 podcast 'Reunion' programme :


When will democracy and the rule of law come to China?

Your authors' humble suggestion: please read below the thoughts of Zhao Ziyang on reform (published by New York Times) to understand more about China in 1989 and today. Thank you!

The CCP is in an ideological war with the democratic World lead by USA either the democratic World wakesup and acts to ensure the rule OF law and democracy or CCP will increasingly be empowered Worldwide using it's rule BY law. CCP promotes a form of nationalism which is self-serving and narcassistic. Because of COVID-19 and the paradigm shift CCP's authoritarianism is no longer relevant.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) needs to finally come clean and tell the World the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about everything! CCP can NOT!

On 5 April 1976, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China "officially" mourning the death of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, a widely respected senior Chinese leader, on 8 January 1976, prompted this incident. The real cause was factional infighting amongst Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members, as it often is, involving reformists and the communist hardline Gang of Four. Up to two million people may have visited Tiananmen Square on 4 April 1976. Then reformists such as Deng Xiaoping, who in 1989 ordered the brutal PLA crackdown of protesters in Tiananmen square, appear to have been involved.

From December 1986 until mid-January 1987 Student demonstrations took place in a number of Chinese cities. The demonstrations started in the city of Hefei before spreading to other cities such as Shanghai and Nanjing. The movement was heavily influenced by the Chinese intellectuals Fang Lizhi and Wang Ruowang, who were critical of the Chinese government's lack of political reforms. The demonstrations quickly dissipated by mid-January before achieving any of its stated goals. The lack of response from Hu Yaobang, who was General Secretary of the Communist Party of China at the time, would result in his removal from power on January 15, 1987, and his replacement by Zhao Ziyang (see NYT article below of his memories).

The 1989 June 4 Tiananmen Square protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the military to occupy central parts of Beijing. Set off by the death of pro-reform Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang in April 1989, amid the backdrop of rapid economic development and social changes in post-Mao China, the protests reflected anxieties about the country's future in the popular consciousness and among the political elite. The reforms of the 1980s had led to a nascent market economy which benefited some people but seriously disaffected others, and the one-party political system also faced a challenge of legitimacy. Common grievances at the time included inflation, corruption, limited preparedness of graduates for the new economy, and restrictions on political participation.

The students called for greater accountability, constitutional due process, democracy, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech, although they were highly disorganized and their goals varied. At the height of the protests, about 1 million people assembled in the Square. Its memory is widely associated with questioning the legitimacy of Communist Party rule and remains one of the most sensitive and most widely censored topics in China.

By May, a student-led hunger strike galvanized support for the demonstrators around the country, and the protests spread to some 400 cities.

The international community, human rights organizations, and political analysts condemned the Chinese government for the massacre. Western countries imposed arms embargoes on China. The Chinese government made widespread arrests of protesters and their supporters, suppressed other protests around China, expelled foreign journalists, strictly controlled coverage of the events in the domestic press, strengthened the police and internal security forces, and demoted or purged officials it deemed sympathetic to the protests.

And yet USA and other leading democracies Worldwide continued to invest and purchase goods and services made in China! Why?That is something democracies must now ask themselves and correct!

Han Chinese people and all of humanity need to hear the truth about the events which are referred to as the 1989 June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre, also know in China as the "June 4 incident." Until this is done nobody can move forwards!

On June 4 1989 the natural path of human development in China halted and has, under an increasingly repressive Xi Jinping, regressed - another great opportunity for progress has been lost to humanity. 1989 marked the end of the communist Soviet Union (USSR) as the Berlin Wall came down, yet China remained in the communist past.

According to R. J. Rummel's book Death by Government (1994) an estimated 77 million citizens of China were killed by Chairman Mao Zedong. This makes the CCP the world's worst ever authoritarian power!

In 2017 a BBC article estimated that in Beijing alone 10,000 people died in the 1989 June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre. BBC reported "...China's statement at the end of June 1989 said that 200 civilians and several dozen security personnel had died in Beijing following the suppression of "counter-revolutionary riots" on 4 June 1989..."

German media DW reported that in 1989 the Tiananmen protests were in 60 cities across China (see article below).

CCP has a proven aversion to telling the truth to anyone about anything! For example, China's official data on Wuhan coronavirus COVID-19 including numbers of infections, critical cases and deaths when compared to the rest of the World is simply unbelievable and therefore CCP's action under the UN WHO's Treaty "International Health Regulations" remains unacceptable! CCPvirus.

Because of COVID-19 there is now zero to little trust that many people Worldwide have about anything that CCP says or does.

There are those, mostly the older Chinese generation, who say that the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976 killed upwards of 20 million citizens and caused a much wider spread of problems for much longer and therefore this truth needs to be told first. CCP obviously also needs to finally come clean and tell the truth about the Cultural Revolution!

The younger generation in China wants to know the truth about the 1989 June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre. The World needs to know the truth.

Everyone needs to be able to face the truth about what CCP has done in China, the time to process it and to move on - if this is not done everyone worldwide will be unable to process this event in their own way. After the end of apartheid South Africa successfully went through a Truth and Reconcilliation Commission - this needs be done in China.

Like all monolithic power structures the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) depends upon the obedience & goodwill of the masses of people to remain in power.

It is clear that the link between the Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen is CCP factional infighting and a lack of reforms in the face of realities; for example,see below Taiwanese video the "Four Basic Principles". CCP must change or it and China's society and economy will remain irrelevant!

Quote (NYT article below): "[Zhao] Ziyang told me more than once, 'China's failure to turn to democratic politics is against the trend of the world and against the hearts of the people.' He also said, 'the banner of democracy, if our party does not hold it high, it will be taken away by others."

Pepe & Jeremiah B.

This Taiwanese video has many important facts and details previously unknown to the public (Chinese language only no subtitles):

Deng Xiaoping

  • Used his “highly upheld” Four Basic Principles to rule the country:

  1. The principle of upholding the socialist path

  2. The principle of upholding the people's democratic dictatorship

  3. The principle of upholding the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

  4. The principle of upholding Mao Zedong Thought and Marxism–Leninism.

  • De-facto dictator, got into power because he was tortured during the Cultural Revolution and survived, also because he was one of the founding members of CCP and Communist China

Hu Yaobang

  • Pushed for freedom of speech

  • Redressed mischarges made against party members during the Cultural Revolution, including Xi Jinping’s father Xi Zhongxun who was jailed and tortured

  • Attempted to change “life-time term policy” for senior party officials, primarily targeted at Deng Xiaopeng, who got Hu and Zhao into power but remained the de-facto leader of the party based on his role as the head of the PLA (“whoever controls the military, controls everything”).

  • Was then forced to resign because of his “reformist” beliefs and endeavors, which let then premier Zhao Ziyang become the Secretary General, but Deng stayed behind the curtain as the controller

Zhao Ziyang

  • Premier (assistant) to Hu Yaobang

  • Became Secretary General of the CCP after Hu’s “resignation”

  • Respected by the students. Rumoured that Ziyang visited students in Tiananmen the night of the massacre and told them the decision had been made to send in the PLA to clear the protests and he then left the square. If he had remained in the square it is likely the PLA could not have entered Tiananmen? After Tiananmen massacre he lived out his life under house arrest until his death in 2005

  • See his memoirs in NYT article below

Fang Lizhi

(February 12, 1936 – April 6, 2012) was a Chinese astrophysicist, vice-president of the University of Science and Technology of China, and activist whose liberal ideas inspired the pro-democracy student movement of 1986–87 and, finally, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Because of his activism, he was expelled from the Communist Party of China in January 1987. For his work, Fang was a recipient of the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1989, given each year to an individual whose courageous activism is at the heart of the human rights movement and in the spirit of Robert F. Kennedy's vision and legacy. He was elected an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1980, but it was revoked after 1989.

"June 4th [1989]" memory: outside Tiananmen Square, protests broke out in more than 60 cities across the country "六四"记忆:天安门之外,全国60多个城市爆发抗议

點擊查看中文原文 Deutsche Welle 3 June 2019

Translated from Chinese using Google Translate

The "June 4th" democratic movement thirty years ago was more ambitious than people thought. Scholars such as Lin Mulian and Wu Yuting told the Voice of Germany that the large-scale and fierce struggles in Chengdu and Changsha were ignored by the outside world to a certain extent.

(Voice of Deutschland China) More and more Western media have noticed that the "June 4th" democratic movement thirty years ago was more ambitious than people think. It is not just a political protest centered around Tiananmen Square and Beijing college students, but also involved college students and people from all walks of life across China. The large-scale and fierce struggles in Chengdu, Changsha and Xi'an have been ignored by the outside world to a certain extent.

[Ignored, that is] Until the publication of the book 'People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited' by journalist, scholar, and writer Louisa Lim five years ago, the history of the events in Chengdu in the year and later shock. On the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of June 4th, the Chinese (Traditional) version of the book was published in Taiwan.

Lin Mulian interviewed by Deutsche Welle said that there were more than 60 cities that protested and [were] suppressed at that time, and besides college students, workers, intellectuals and other social strata participated extensively. But over time, many people have forgotten that this is a national-scale democratic movement [collective amnesia].

Lin Mulian gave a detailed description of the protests in Chengdu after her in-depth investigation. She said that the "June 4th" movement in Chengdu was similar to Beijing. Protesters occupied Tianfu Square in the center of the city, sat on a hunger strike, and were suppressed on June 4. The difference is that, as far as she knows, the Chengdu police cleared the armed protest forces, mostly using batons and tear gas, instead of [openly] using tanks and machine guns like in Beijing. Unlike Beijing's crackdown, for several days after the crackdown, students and people on Chengdu Street continued to protest every day.

Lin Mulian emphasized that the armed police who carried out the repression mission in Chengdu also brutally hit the protesters' heads with truncheons, resulting in a large number of deaths and injuries. According to the official "The Beginning and End of the Chengdu Riot" published in July 1989, Sichuan authorities claimed that only eight people were killed, two of them were students, a total of 1,800 were injured, and 1,100 were police officers. However, the diplomatic telegrams of the United States and the United Kingdom pointed out that there were an estimated 300 dead.

Zhao Ziyang's cronies, was it cruel or cruel to suppress?

The New York Times published a report on "Little Tiananmen Square: American Congressmen Recalling Chengdu's June 4th" on June 2, 2019, saying that like Beijing, the demonstrations in Chengdu Tianfu Square were met with bloody suppression by the government. But unlike Beijing, because no foreign media were present, few witnesses of the violent bloodshed in Chengdu from June 4 to 6 were able to show it to the world.

One of the earliest [foreign] witnesses to bring the news out was Andy Levin, the current US Congressman. He was studying for a doctor[ate] at the time and was traveling in western China. He witnessed the fierce fighting around the square and the brutal beating outside the Jinjiang Hotel in Sichuan. He wrote a report to his hometown Detroit News. He said that during the crackdown "the crowd had trampled on, and the police took the opportunity to attack them. I saw many people beaten and arrested."

Lin Mulian, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said that during the June 4th Movement, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang, who sympathized with students, opposed repression, and was removed and placed under house arrest, in a rural area of Sichuan. At that time, Yang Rudai, secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee, and others were all Zhao Ziyang's close friends. It is very likely that he did not carry out more cruel suppression. However, some people believe that they have more need to express their loyalty to the Deng Xiaoping authorities and have not been weak in the repressive measures that can be used.

There were many touching scenes in China before and after "June 4th". Lin Mulian also gave an example. After the crackdown, a party cadre in Chengdu visited several hospitals and carefully recorded the files of the victims, including their names, work units or schools and their experiences, leaving a 30-page manuscript. Prior to his death, the veteran cadre handed the manuscript to others and took it to Lin Mulian's hands as the material in the book. "I can imagine the long-term spiritual struggle that this party cadre has experienced," Lin Mulian said, "For me, it seems that I suddenly got the Time Capsule buried in that year."

Changsha protests written in the "Four Two Six" editorial

The "June 4th" struggle was a political awakening movement for the whole people. Andrea Worden, an East Asian research scholar at Johns Hopkins University, told the Voice of Germany about the protests in Changsha that year. Wu Yuting recalled that the students of Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine who she taught at that time had always been regarded as politically cold, but in the parade on May 17, 1989, the school had 1,500 students, accounting for half of the total number. They wore white coats symbolizing humanitarianism, which was very impressive.

Like Beijing and Chengdu, the protesters also took a sit-in hunger strike and demanded a dialogue with local government leaders. From May 18th to 19th, the protests in Changsha showed some fierce behaviors and were included in the famous People's Daily "Four Two Six" editorial: "During the mourning activities, some abnormal conditions also appeared .... In Changsha, there were serious incidents in which criminals hit, smashed, robbed and burned."

Wu Yuting said that the "Four Two Six" editorial has put pressure on the protest movement in Changsha, and since then the organizers have been very careful not to give the authorities repression. After the bloody massacre in Beijing, students and citizens in Changsha expressed great anger and even tried to intercept the train on a horizontal track. Officials were also somewhat at a loss, and were careful not to make mistakes, and ultimately it did not lead to a bigger incident.

During the "June 4th" period, Wu Yuting saw on the streets of Changsha that many citizens were holding cameras to photograph students' demonstrations, and even recorded protesters' speeches with tapes. She believed that a lot of precious materials were left at the time. However, after the bloody crackdown, keeping these materials was very dangerous, and most of them must have been destroyed.

On June 11, 1989, Wu Yuting and her foreign colleagues evacuated from China. Her Chinese friend told her she "must tell the world what happened here, otherwise no one would know." However, she said that because there are relatively few foreigners who can work outside of Beijing, and the media is mainly focused on Beijing, the protests in other cities have not received the attention they deserve.

Leica faced criticicm from CCP for this advertisement video.

Talk under house arrest: listen to Zhao Ziyang talk about reform 软禁中的谈话:听赵紫阳谈改革

點擊查看中文原文 New York Times October 16, 2019. By Shan Shaojie

Translated from Chinese using Google Translate

Zong Fengming (1920 ~ 2010) is Zhao Ziyang (1919 ~ 2005) 's best friend during his lifetime. The two joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1938 and served as the secretary of the county party committee in the Jiluyu base of the Chinese Communist Party. They also experienced the War of Resistance Against Japan and the Second Kuomintang War. In the 1980s, Zong served as the executive director of the National Economic System Reform Research Association, and the first director of the research society was Zhao Ziyang, then China's CCP General Secretary.

After Zhao Ziyang stepped down because of "June 4th", Zong repeatedly entered the Fuqiang Hutong No. 6 to record many conversations of his old comrades, and gathered together the book: "The Conversation under Zhao Ziyang's house arrest." Li Rui commented on the book: "The most outstanding value lies in its 'uniqueness', that is, the 'uniqueness' continuously describes Zhao Ziyang’s hundreds of conversations during his ten years of house arrest, thus truly reproducing his presence here. The trajectory of thought for a period."

Interviewer Shan Shaojie, now a professor at the School of Philosophy of Renmin University of China, has been trusted by interviewer Zong Fengming, and read the original manuscript of "The Conversation under Zhao Ziyang's house arrest" earlier; The manuscript writes an interpretive treatise, namely "China's Reform Model: Developing Capitalism under the Leadership of the Communist Party".

From December 2007 to May 2008, Shan Shaojie and Zong Fengming conducted many dialogues on Zhao Ziyang's political thought and heritage. On the 100th anniversary of Zhao Ziyang’s birth, Shan Shaojie decided to take out the interview. During the conversation, Zong Fengming, who was 88 years old, preached, "I think that many words Ziyang talked about under house arrest are of historical value. They not only talked about many historical facts he experienced personally, but also talked about many of his thoughtful thoughts. It’s a pity not to write down your views. "

The following content has been abridged and edited.

Shan Shaojie: The younger generation noticed that you have used a lot of space in these books to talk about Zhao Ziyang's thoughts. In addition, in your previous conversations with me, you have repeatedly stressed that Zhao Ziyang's greatest legacy to future generations is his thoughts. I want to know, why do you always value Zhao Ziyang's thoughts like this?

Zong Fengming: Studying Zhao Ziyang's thoughts is a topic that Du Lao ( Du Runsheng ) has repeatedly proposed to me. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Du Lao and Zhao Ziyang worked in the Central South Bureau for many years. After the reform and opening up, Zhao Ziyang was transferred to the Premier of the State Council and the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Therefore, Du Lao has a deep understanding of Zhao Ziyang's thoughts. After the "June 4th" incident, Zhao Ziyang stepped down and Du Lao was very sad. He repeatedly said to me: Zhao Ziyang has both "internal merits" and "external merits" and is a "talent for the country." His step down is a big loss for China, "it is the sorrow of the Chinese people!"

Jiang Zemin's ruling (at the beginning) probably accepted Yao Yilin's view. Yao Zeng declared that China will be torn apart by implementing a market economy. He believes that the reform is almost complete, and it is necessary to focus on "chaos" and "dispersion"; he proposed to jump out of the reform circle of Zhao Ziyang and the reform circle of Western design. This is to "collect power" and "concentrate". Jiang Zemin proposed to counter "Westernization" and "Differentiation", and also proposed to counter "Peaceful Evolution", claiming that imperialism will never die. This is to carry out a comprehensive retrogression, that is, to force China, which has already undergone reform and opening up, to return to the old planned economic track.

In view of the reversal of the reform situation, Deng Xiaoping first reprimanded Yao Yilin: if your suit is not good, you will let others do it; then in the speech of the South Tour issued a warning: whoever does not reform, who will step down; this forced Jiang Zemin to turn back. The market economy is on track.

In addition, Deng Xiaoping also pointed out that in the past few years (referring to the period when Zhao Ziyang presided over the work of the central government), the Chinese economy has reached a higher level; he also said that the words "political report of the 13th National Congress" made by Zhao Ziyang could not be changed. So, there were rumors in the society that Deng Xiaoping was going to use Zhao Ziyang again.

For this rumor, Zhao Ziyang said to me with certainty: This is impossible. He said that although Deng was dissatisfied with this Jiang Li leadership team, he still thought that it would be better to maintain the Jiang Li system unchanged for the "June 4th". Deng later gave a message to Wanli: In the future, not to succeed in the heroes, but also to let the Yang family brothers (Yang Shangkun and Yang Baibing) out, were to remove obstacles to the Jiangli system.

Zhao Ziyang once said to me that Deng Xiaoping's creed is that the party's leadership should never be shaken, and that the party's power must never be shared. How can this shift China to democratic politics?

Shan Shaojie: How does Zhao Ziyang govern?

Zong Fengming: I think that Zhao Ziyang has the idea to govern. His ruling philosophy is to wholeheartedly transform China into a country with democracy and the rule of law. It was at the conference that criticized him that Zhao Ziyang also claimed: Democracy is the trend of the world. If we do not hold high, we will be taken away by others.

Deng Xiaoping is quite certain about Zhao Ziyang's ingenuity and leadership. It was at the conference that criticized Zhao (after "June 4th") that Wang Zhen said fiercely: Zhao Ziyang organized a fleet of large and small ships in an attempt to subvert China; To support the school tide, we must mess up China; Deng Xiaoping said nothing.

Later, when talking with a foreign scholar, Deng Xiaoping also said: Zhao Ziyang transferred him to Sichuan. At that time, the Sichuan people did not swallow it. Zhao solved this problem in Sichuan in three years. In fact, there are only two. In another year, it was disturbed by the "gang of four". Later, in his speech on the South Tour, Deng Xiaoping praised Zhao Ziyang again.

During house arrest, Zhao Ziyang also talked to me again and again: The greatest regret in his life was that he failed to carry forward the reform and opening up cause pioneered by Deng Xiaoping.

Shan Shaojie: In the general direction of reform and opening up, Zhao Ziyang and Deng Xiaoping still agree with each other.

Zong Fengming: When Zhao Ziyang talked to me for the last time, when he was seriously ill, he was still thinking about the development direction of China and the world, and the development road. He said to me: China should develop in the direction advocated by the Social Democratic Party, and all countries in the world should formulate common social development indicators to replace the ideas of this doctrine. It can be seen from this that he is a man with a great sense of historical responsibility. Soon after that, he was hospitalized and never discharged again. It was really unrequited, and regretted for life!

Economic reform and old man politics

Zong Fengming: Ziyang believes that laborers should have the right to work freely and the space for free production. However, we used to control the workers to death. This is not allowed to be done. This has severely constrained their enthusiasm for production; therefore, one of the main points of China's economic reform is that the masses must be given production autonomy and their production enthusiasm must be fundamentally mobilized.

For example, Ziyang said that when he was working in Guangdong, he had to spend a lot of effort to arrange the production of small commodities, but he could not meet the needs of the masses every year, and he was very nervous; he later allowed the masses to produce small commodities himself. The problem was solved quickly, and everything was there.

Ziyang also cited the example that when he first came to work in Sichuan, the people were still hungry, and it can even be said that hunger is everywhere. The most urgent thing is how to solve the problem of "eating"; later, he engaged in "contracting households to households", also known as "joint production contracting. The essence of "responsibility system" is to give farmers autonomy in production and let them decide their own production and operation activities. As a result, they immediately mobilized their enthusiasm for production and quickly increased their grain output. The problem was solved.

Shan Shaojie: So there is a folk song: "If you want to eat rice, look for Wanli; if you want to eat food, find Ziyang."

Zong Fengming: Ziyang believes that only the implementation of a market economy can solve the poverty problem of the Chinese people; or that only through the development of capitalism can the elements of socialism be gradually increased, thereby achieving the goal of common prosperity pursued by socialism; and that is to say, the more capitalism develops, the more socialist elements are. Therefore, China's economic reform must develop a market economy. As far as China's national conditions are concerned, it is to develop capitalism under the leadership of the Communist Party.

Shan Shaojie: Can Zhao Ziyang's sentence be understood as: The essence of contemporary Chinese economic reform is to develop capitalism under the leadership of the Communist Party.

Zong Fengming: You can understand it this way. Ziyang also said that only by developing a market economy can we better integrate the Chinese economy into the world economic system, so as to better face globalization and better share the many benefits of globalization.

What is gratifying is that although Zhao Ziyang suddenly broke out politically due to the "June 4th" incident and failed to bring China to the path of democracy and the rule of law; the track of the commodity economy, that is, the track of the market economy, is just enough to go down in history, and it will last forever.

Shan Shaojie: You old men still value history.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang advocates that China ’s economic reforms should be “progressed gradually based on objective conditions” and should be carried out in an orderly manner, and not too slow or too fast. He did not approve of the "one-step reform model" that the Soviet Union carried out. He believed that it would be very costly, and it would be the ordinary people who suffered.

Ziyang said that reform in China is very difficult, and many difficult issues need to be dealt with. For example, China is engaged in the politics of the elderly, and it is the elderly who have the final say. Therefore, in order to promote reforms in China more smoothly, we must try to obtain the support of the elderly. But the problem is that most of these old people still hold the old ideas, they are afraid of the restoration of the capitalist system, and they are also more sensitive. They are easily affected by the "left" aspect. Therefore, if they are to support reform, at least not against it, it is not easy, and they must act cautiously. They must try to avoid practices and statements that might cause them to overreact.

For example, we actually want to engage in a "market economy", but not so much, but only to engage in "commodity economy." Because, in the minds of many people, the reference to "market economy" is easily associated with "capitalism" and has a certain stimulus, while the reference to "commodity economy" should be blurred and eased.

Shan Shaojie: Ziyang is more strategic.

Zong Fengming: After being placed under house arrest, Ziyang is still concerned about China's economic development. When he saw the authorities carrying out the so-called "Western Development" with great fanfare, he couldn't help but worry, so he asked Zhu Rongji to bluntly say: The economic development of the eastern coastal areas cannot be suppressed because of the economic development of the West. He said that at present, China's economic development should be gradually advanced from the coastal area to the inland area, first in the east, then in the central and western regions; after the development of the economy in the eastern region, it can drive the central and western economies and support the central and western economies.

Political Reform and the "June 4th" Position

Zong Fengming: Zi Yang said that he originally wanted to carry out economic reforms under the presidency of the State Council, and did not want to be the general secretary; later the situation changed and he had to accept the post.

Shan Shaojie: This should be around 1987.

Zong Fengming: At that time, a group of senior people at the top of the group jumped out to criticize Hu Yaobang for "liberalization". In addition, there has also been a wave of criticism of "liberalization" in society. The criticism has become more and more left-handed, and it has been criticized as a "big criticism." Ziyang said that in this case, it is better for someone to replace Hu Yaobang than to replace Hu Yaobang to clean up the stall. As the general secretary, he can stop this "anti-liberalization" counter-current, otherwise, it will hurt some people.

Shan Shaojie: In the general direction of reform, Zhao Ziyang is consistent with Hu Yaobang.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang said that his situation was better than that of Hu Yaobang at that time. Hu Yaobang had been put on a hat for "encouraging liberalization." He hadn’t been put on this hat yet. The key was to still get Deng Xiaoping ’s trust. [He] Took over as general secretary.

However, once he became the general secretary, he faced the issue of political reform and the question of whether and how to engage in political reform. Ziyang said that at this time, he felt that if he only engaged in economic reforms and did not engage in political reforms, the problem of corruption could not be solved first. The result could only be that the more economically developed, the more serious the corruption. Ziyang also said that it would be very difficult to initiate political reforms.

Shan Shaojie: After listening to your talks, Zhao Ziyang said that after he became general secretary, he really realized how difficult Hu Yaobang was in this position.

Zong Fengming: Zhao Ziyang has ideas to engage in political reforms. The idea is to implement democratic politics and turn China into a country with democracy and the rule of law.

Shan Shaojie: This idea is what you always call Zhao Ziyang's political ambition.

Zong Fengming: Yes, it is his political ambition and his sense of historical responsibility. In the long-term communication with Ziyang, I can deeply feel that he is a person with a sense of historical responsibility. Ziyang once said to me: The reason why he insisted on the uncompromising position on the June 4th issue is that he is right, and that it is because "as the general secretary, I must have my own attitude, this is history, the responsibility lies [here]. I don’t want to leave an account in history. "

Shan Shaojie: Hu Yaobang also said, "I can't make people scold at the backbone of the bones decades later" and "should return to the original face of history." In addition, Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai, and earlier Qu Qiubai and Chen Duxiu also said similar things.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang said that in order to engage in political system reform, Deng Xiaoping must be persuaded and he must be supported. At that time, I did persuade him, obtained his consent, and set up a political system reform laboratory.

Shan Shaojie: The major thing is still Deng Xiaoping's final word, and he has to let the old man "get down to listen to politics".

Zong Fengming : Zhao Ziyang has a set of design plans for political system reform. This set of design schemes is described in detail in Wu Guoguang's "Zhao Ziyang and Political Reform". In a nutshell, it is first inside the party and then outside the party, first at the top and then at the grassroots level, starting from the Party Central Committee and first from himself. When you start, proceed in an orderly and stable manner, and you can't do it in one step. Otherwise, social chaos will occur.

Shan Shaojie: That is from the inside out, top to bottom.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang believes that in order to carry out the political system reform in an orderly and stable manner, we should start with the expansion of democracy within the party; and if we want to expand democracy within the party, we should start with the highest level of the party. He proposed that the routine practice that all major decisions in the past be decided by the Central Standing Committee should be changed. At the first regular meeting of the Politburo of the 13th CPC Central Committee, he presided over the formulation of rules of procedure for the Central Conference, stipulating that all major decisions must be submitted to the Central Committee and the Politburo for voting, with the minority obeying the majority.

Before that, he also proposed that there should be no general secretary at the highest level of the party, and the Central Standing Committee should take turns to sit in the village, one person and one vote. Ziyang said that the purpose of this is to prevent the party ’s top leader from embarking on the path of personal dictatorship, and prevent him from handling everything and personally deciding major issues.

Shan Shaojie: It is to prevent acting like Mao Zedong.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang said that the issue of the Cultural Revolution is, in the final analysis, the issue of the party’s central leadership system and Mao Zedong’s personal arbitrariness.

Shan Shaojie: Zhao Ziyang could become the general secretary, but proposed not to have a general secretary, indicating that he was not greedy for this position.

Zong Fengming: I know this person, Ziyang. I have always been greedy for power and individuals, and can consciously put myself within the framework of the system, willing to accept the restraint of the party organization. He once said that depending on the system and not on people, the system is more important than people.

Shan Shaojie: In this centralized system of "seeing all powers," especially at the highest level of this centralized system, it is not easy to be greedy for power.

Zong Fengming: In Ziyang ’s view, it is not only necessary to expand democracy within the party, but also social democracy; to expand social democracy, it is necessary to change the ruling party ’s all-inclusive approach and to separate the party from the government. He proposed that there should be no party groups in the ministries and commissions of the central government, no counterparts in the party committees at all levels, and no full-time party teams in the basic units such as industry, mining, enterprises, and schools.

He also emphasized in particular that the top leaders of the party at all levels must not be treated as Emperors.

He also proposed to increase transparency on issues such as deliberations and personnel, change the default model to an open model, implement open party affairs, open government affairs, and financial disclosure, directly elect cadres in villages, townships, counties, and cities, and elect cadres at or above the provincial level.

He also proposed that various social organizations must be used to implement villagers ’self-government and workers’ self-government (strengthening the role of trade union supervision) and let the masses manage themselves; they must guarantee the citizens’ civil rights and give people freedom of speech.'

He has repeatedly pointed out that the ruling position of the Communist Party can be unchanged, but the ruling method of the Communist Party must be changed and enlightened ruling must be implemented. He also emphasized that the party absolutely cannot control everything, the party should strive to establish a new order of democracy and the rule of law, and supervise the government to act in accordance with the law.

Shan Shaojie: As the general secretary of the ruling party, Zhao Ziyang made these proposals, especially the proposal to cancel the full-time team of the ministries and commissions of the State Council and the party of the grass-roots units.

Zong Fengming: However, Ziyang is still more cautious about how to implement these claims. He said that we can neither engage in economic utopia nor political utopia. Contemporary China's political reform should take a gradual path.

In his view, China has a vast territory and uneven development in various regions; its economic backwardness has not yet formed a middle class that can maintain social stability; the national quality is not high because of the influence of the feudal authoritarian ideology formed over thousands of years, Coupled with the influence of the "taming tool theory" advocated by our party, there is still a serious dependence, which is what Lu Xun called "slavery", and it needs to undergo a new enlightenment movement; therefore, China's political reform also should be gradually advanced.

Based on this understanding, Ziyang expressed his understanding of Sun Yat-sen's thinking that the road of Chinese republic should be divided into three steps: military, political, and constitutional.

Ziyang also believes that "due to the past party-oriented education and orthodox ideological constraints, the conservative forces are very large, and an authoritative figure must be promoted at the beginning of the reform"; and Deng Xiaoping has assumed the role of this authoritative figure and played other Unable to play a role. It is for this reason that Ziyang's reference to "new authoritarianism", although he did not expressly agree or disagree, believed that it was "justified".

Shan Shaojie: I remember that Zhao Ziyang wrote a letter to the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and talked about the June 4th issue.

Zong Fengming: In this letter, Ziyang proposed to re-evaluate the "June 4th" problem, saying "early solution is better than late solution, active solution is better than passive solution, and when the situation is stable it is better than some kind of trouble."

He also pointed out that it was precisely because of the wrong handling of the "June 4th" issue that led to the death of the political system reform since the 13th CPC National Congress. As a result, the more economic development, the more various social ills intensified, especially the problem of corruption is getting worse. He also talked to Jiang Zemin: If there are any problems that are not easy to solve, he is willing to come forward to help resolve them.

Shan Shaojie: As a result, the authorities not only did not listen to his suggestions, but strengthened supervision over him. They were not allowed to go out, nor were other people allowed to visit him, which made you unable to enter the door of Fuqiang Hutong No. 6 for a long time.

Zong Fengming: I can't enter Ziyang's house for half a year. However, I can still understand why he wrote such a letter, such words. Because, Ziyang believes that the living conditions of the Chinese people are still difficult, so there is an urgent need to develop the economy; to develop the economy, it is necessary to maintain social stability, especially at this stage, the Chinese economy as a whole is still relatively fragile and cannot withstand large Social turmoil. Based on this consideration, Ziyang pointed out that if the ruling party's upper levels take the initiative to solve the "June 4th" issue, there will be no violent social unrest in the General Assembly, nor will it affect China's economic development.

The problem is that although the cost of solving social conflicts from top to bottom is relatively small, the possibility is also relatively small, because rulers, especially authoritarian rulers, are mostly selfish and stubborn, and most of them will not take the initiative to the people under the rule will make concessions, and will not humbly put down their bodies and achieve reconciliation with the people under the rule. Of course, there are exceptions, with Jiang Jingguo of Taiwan and Gorbachev of the Soviet Union being the exceptions. Jiang Jingguo took the initiative to open the "Party Ban" and "Report Ban", while Gorbachev actively promoted "new thinking" and "openness."

Zong Fengming: Zhao Ziyang praised Jiang Jingguo and Gorbachev, praising them for consciously breaking the shackles of authoritarian ideology and taking the initiative to embark on the road of democratic reform.

In comparison, Zhao Ziyang gave Jiang Jingguo a higher rating, saying that he was not only influenced by the Kuomintang ’s one-party dictatorship ideology for a long time, but also by the Soviet Union’s proletarian dictatorship ideology for many years, but he could break through these authoritarian ideologies. The shackles of Taiwan have promoted Taiwan ’s democratic politics and at the same time developed Taiwan’s economy. It is indeed not simple.

Shan Shaojie: Is it true that Zhao Ziyang himself also broke through the shackles of two authoritarian ideologies: both the traditional Chinese authoritarianism (feudal authoritarianism) and the contemporary Chinese authoritarianism? (Proletarian dictatorship) Ideological constraints.

Beyond ideology and globalization

Zong Fengming: The reason why Zhao Ziyang can put forward a series of good ideas on economic reform and political reform is that he has transcended the ideological disputes and broke through the boundaries of "ism". We can examine the progress of human society from a very high angle.

Shan Shaojie: Fair-mindedness, the perspective is broadened.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang once told me that he is not interested in this doctrine and that doctrine. What he is concerned about is how to better promote the development of society. In addition, he also said that public opinion is the trend, and he is not limited to formulas and teachings.

Shan Shaojie: Zhao Ziyang’s thinking about transcending ideological disputes, that is, not thinking about this doctrine but only focusing on whether it can promote social development, with Deng Xiaoping about “regardless of white cats and black cats, catching mice is a good cat.” The ideas are very similar, and they all pay attention to the effect. Of course, the "mouse" they want to catch is not completely similar: Deng Xiaoping just wants to carry out economic reforms, just thinking about quadrupling the economy; Zhao Ziyang wants not only to carry out economic reforms, but also political reforms, democracy and the rule of law.

Zong Fengming: The value orientation of the two of them for reform is very different. The starting point and destination of Deng Xiaoping’s reform is to consolidate the leadership of the ruling party. The purpose of Zhao Ziyang’s reform is to change the status of the ruling party’s monopoly. It is to weaken the ruling party's control over the entire country, and to renew and transform this party so that China can embark on the road of democracy and the rule of law.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang is a historic figure and a figure emerging from the new trend of the world. He has a very broad vision, not only focusing on Chinese issues, but also on international issues. Thinking down the background. In his later years, he paid close attention to the issue of globalization.

Ziyang told me again and again that in this century, China has lost many historical opportunities. First, Cixi pursued passive reforms and insisted on "middle school as the body". As a result, more and more contradictions were accumulated. Finally, it was crushed by the gunfire of the 1911 Revolution and triggered a long-term civil war, making China lose the possibility of quickly turning to industrialization. Historical opportunities. Then Mao Zedong closed the door and launched the "Cultural Revolution". As a result, he passed by the new technology revolution, and made China lose a historical opportunity that could quickly turn to modernization.

Ziyang said that today is the era of global economic integration, the era of the information revolution, the era of the renaissance of democratic ideas and the awakening of personal values. China is facing another historical opportunity. Don't lose it again.

Shan Shaojie: Is Ziyang worried?

Zong Fengming: Ziyang is indeed a bit worried. In this increasingly open era, the authorities still adhere to a highly centralized political line and adhere to a one-party dictatorship national system. As a result, social conflicts can only accumulate and accumulate. Once an unexpected event occurs, it will lead to social unrest and China will once again lose its historical opportunities.

Shan Shaojie: The result he is worried about is a bit similar to that caused by Cixi's passive reform in the late Qing Dynasty.

Zong Fengming: From Ziyang ’s point of view, the wave of globalization not only affects the economic fields of all countries, but also the political and ideological and cultural fields of various countries; not only does it include countries in the global market economy system, but also includes countries Incorporate into the global modern civilization system. Therefore, when faced with the wave of globalization, China should not only consider the impact at the economic level, but also at the political level and other levels. It should not only talk about linking with the world's advanced economies, but also with the world's advanced civilizations.

Shan Shaojie: What does Ziyang mean by advanced world civilization?

Zong Fengming: Mainly refers to "modern Western civilization".

Shan Shaojie: Ziyang seems to hold the "Westernization" viewpoint.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang does not shy away from this. He once told me clearly that the so-called "modernization" is "Westernization", which is to merge with Western modern civilization; Eastern culture is backward, and freedom, democracy and human rights cannot be developed. He also said that he was in favor of the idea of ​​"Western learning is the system, and middle school is the use", and he was not in favor of the "secondary school as the body, and the western culture is a use".

In his view, not only the market economy implemented by the West has become the mainstream economy of the world, but also the democratic politics implemented by the West has become the mainstream politics of the world. The "freedom", "democracy", "human rights" advocated by the West, ideas such as "rule of law" have universal human values.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang told me more than once, "China's failure to turn to democratic politics is against the trend of the world and against the hearts of the people." He also said, "The banner of democracy, if our party does not hold it high, it will be taken away by others."

Shan Shaojie: It can be heard that Zhao Ziyang's democratic heart in his later years is very heavy. This is his awakening and his pain.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang also told me repeatedly that the United States is worth studying. Her system and values ​​are rooted in the hearts of the people, so she can give full play to the enthusiasm and creativity of citizens, and she can also play a good role in the supervision of social organizations on the power of the state.

Based on these views, Ziyang said that from an international perspective, the United States is the "three represents." He also said that the world is better led by the United States than by other countries, and better than by Germany, France, Japan, Russia, and China. Although the foreign policy pursued by the United States is also based on safeguarding national interests, the values ​​of freedom, democracy, and human rights that she advocates are beneficial to the progress of human society.

Shan Shaojie: Ziyang's remarks may not be accepted by the nationalists in China.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang knows this very well. He said that by asking questions like this, someone will definitely say that I am a nationalist, but this is an objective reality, and even if I am scolded, there is nothing to worry about.

Shan Shaojie: It can be seen that Zhao Ziyang's thoughts in his later years were so thorough that he was fearless, neither afraid of others accusing him of engaging in capitalism, nor of others accusing him of traitorism.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang appreciates the autonomy system of each state in the United States. He believes that this system can handle the relationship between the central and local governments well and give full play to local enthusiasm. He said that we also have experience in this area. As long as the provinces are empowered, the provinces will find a way to suit their own development, rich provinces have rich provinces, poor provinces have poor provinces. However, in general, we still put too much emphasis on the central government's right to govern the localities, and often manage the localities to death. Therefore, we should learn from the autonomy system of each state in the United States, expand the autonomy of each province, and give full play to the enthusiasm of each province.

Ziyang also said that the reason why Hong Kong and Taiwan are able to develop as much as they are today is not because these two places have always been in a state of autonomy. Conversely, if these two places have been under the administration of our continent, there will be no development results like today.

Shan Shaojie: Zhao Ziyang's idea is also quite thorough, and touches the pain of the ruling party.

Zong Fengming: Zi Yang said that Deng Xiaoping believes that China cannot engage in confrontation with the United States, and China can develop a good economy only if it has a good relationship with the United States.

Zong Fengming: Ziyang went on to say that for China to have a good relationship with the United States, it must improve the image of the Chinese government on human rights issues, because both the US government and the American people are very sensitive to human rights issues and autocracy.


Flickr photos

Human Rights Watch

Tank Man; the day after the massacre June 5, 1989

Zhao Ziyang, 1990-4-17, Reuters

1989 talks about thousands of students from Nanjing marching North. Chinese language only, no English subtitles.

Talks about Wu's prison experiences. Chinese language only, no English subtitles.

PLA soldier talks about Tiananmen massacre

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