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Exiled Chinese activists pay tribute to general who refused orders to attack Tiananmen protesters

WTPOHK pays tribute to retired PLA General Xu Qinxian for his act of conscience in Tiananmen in June 1989 : Respect. R.I.P. love and light.

Perhaps the most important aspects of a 'human being' are simply 'being' (i.e. feeling, not 'doing') and 'humane' qualities. If we can 'be humane' with dignity for other beings who are also humane, we give trust and respect to ourselves and all others who are doing the same. This is recognizing the consciousness or good, or God in others.

I recall the WWII story of a German soldier who was ordered by his German Officer to kill his captured prisoner. The German soldier replied that despite this being an order he could not in good conscience, in cold blood kill another human being; the Officer said if you do not kill this man I will kill you - the soldier refused so the German Officer killed the German soldier. I feel the German soldier was a hero.

There is an old saying 'keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!' Perhaps there is a deeper meaning here - forgive, but don’t forget. Forgive your enemies because they are either insecure, giving in to societal pressures or going through something that makes them feel good about making you feel bad.

HK protests must always be peaceful non-violent protests. Ballots not bullets!

Exiled Chinese activists pay tribute to general who refused orders to attack Tiananmen protesters

Apple Daily 9 January 2021

Human rights activists and friends from overseas have paid tribute to Xu Qinxian on social media, showing respect to the deceased general who refused to use force against pro-democracy demonstrators during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Xu, who died in Hebei province’s Shijiazhuang on Friday aged 85, was a commander of the 38th Group Army in 1989. At the height of the demonstrations, Xu was ordered to lead his division into Beijing to crush the student movement, in what became the bloody crackdown of June 4. He refused to take the order and was later court-martialed, serving five years in prison.

The military has allowed his three children to go to Shijiazhuang where Xu spent his last years to discuss funeral arrangements, but banned his friends from attending, Radio Television Hong Kong reported citing unnamed sources.

Bao Tong, activist and policy secretary of the then general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Zhao Ziyang, posted a poem dedicated to Xu on Twitter on Friday. He cited Confucius’ words to praise Xu as a brave man and noble person in the poem.

Bao, who had once been jailed in the same building as Xu in Beijing’s Qincheng Prison, said he wrote the poem a few years ago but has had no way to send it to Xu, so he posted it online as a tribute. Bao is the highest-ranking official jailed after the 1989 protest.

Wang Dan, one of the most visible student leaders in the Tiananmen Square demonstration, called Xu “a general of conscience” on Twitter. Wang wrote on Facebook that: “General Xu has followed his conscience and given up his official title and freedom. Those of us students will never forget about him. Mr. Xu, rest in peace.”

Wang told Radio Free Asia that Xu was a rare character in the People’s Liberation Army with a conscience, and he has set an example for the Chinese army. He added that the army should protect its people instead of killing them. Should Xu have obeyed the order to attack protesters, he would have become vice-president of the Central Military Commission — one of the highest military posts in China — according to Wang.

Chinese human rights activist and former student leader Zhou Fengsuo also wrote on Twitter: “May he rest in peace and my thoughts are with this family.” Zhou also said that “Xu will be remembered, for he would rather be killed than become a sinner in history.”

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Chinese general who refused orders to attack Tiananmen protesters dies at 86

Apple Daily 9 January 2021

A Chinese general who refused a military order to crack down against pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, in 1989, has died in Hebei province, prompting condolences from Chinese democracy activists.

Xu Qinxian, 86, was a general in the 38th Grand Army when the student protesters occupied the enormous square in Beijing. At the height of the demonstrations, Xu was ordered to lead his division into Beijing to crush the student movement, in what became the bloody crackdown of June 4.

At least several hundred people were killed as Chinese troops attacked the protesters, although some estimates put the death toll at more than 1,000.

Xu was one of the few military leaders who refused to obey his commander’s order to attack. He was subsequently court-martialed and imprisoned for five years before being exiled to the city of Shijiazhuang, Hebei province.

The news of Xu’s death circulated on social media on Friday, and pro-democracy supporters sent condolences to his family from around the globe. They included Wang Dan, one of the protest leaders at the time, who sent “tributes” to General Xu. Wang currently lives in exile in the United States.

According to acquaintances quoted by Apple Daily, Xu’s health had deteriorated in recent years, and he was hospitalised with pneumonia for a long period in 2016. In his final days, Xu received care at his Shijiazhuang home, where he had lived in exile under 24-hour surveillance by government agents.

Apple Daily learned that Xu never regretted disobeying the military order to attack civilians. His biggest regret was that he was never able to publish his own first-person account of what happened during the Tiananmen crackdown, the newspaper learned.

Click here for Chinese version.

Apple Daily

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