Friday, July 11, 2008

Beijing Olympics and Tiananmen legacy

Student leader Wang Dan addressing Tiananmen Square, May 27, 1989

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"Even if China occupies a certain position in current geopolitics, one has not to emancipate China's usual answer, which is, slaughtering her own people as soon as the regime decides a new campaign, or changes policy, implicating that heads will immediately roll in the middle kingdom. More than ever our job is to watch and monitor."

I wrote these lines on a professional forum of Tokyo based journalists because I am amazed to see how many people, including reporters, seem to have completely forgotten that next year will be the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen bloodshed.

I lived and worked in Beijing China in the dawn of Tiananmen events, when the seeds of liberty flourished into the society. I therefore spent months listening to students and workers of various units, helped in this by my hybrid Sino-French professional status. I still visit this country both privately and professionally.

The first demonstrations I saw from my Beijing balcony happened in spring 1986. Initiated by Middle East and Africa born students complaining about the increase of prices and difficulties of living with their meagre scholarship, and racism against non-Han people. They marched from Haidian to Tiananmen. It exerted considerable influence on young Chinese students from Beida for instance.

We observed things and all of us living and working with the Chinese society knew that as soon as the Deng Xiaping regime, too lenient with Hu Yaobang or Zhao Ziyang according to the marxists conservatives, would give signs of weakness, the country would again enter into chaos.

I think it is interesting to debate about neutrality on our blogs, fora, pages and media, watching youtube and daily motion images of the events, while reading straight and shocking allegations that there was no massacre on Tianamen June 1989. Is it a matter of location? Should we say that it was also in Xidan, Qianmen or on the highway crossing near Youyi Shangdian?

Regarding the case for instance of Liu Guogeng, this Chinese soldier killed June 3rd in the evening by the Chinese people and burnt later on by the masses, this is a case that was used in June 1989 and after by Chinese propaganda to describe the violence of the demonstrators and zigzag the People's attention far from the PLA units, in particular the soldiers who remained stationed within the forbidden city and near Zhongnanhai. Soldiers who used their guns against kids, ordered by the winning faction of the Chinese leadership. (It ended into a weapons embargo from US and EU on the sales of any weapons to the Beijing Chinese regime.)

It is not a matter of numbers of people killed as it has been said everywhere. It is not a mater of saying that there were or not Taiwan or other nations' spies on Tiananmen too. It ended into blood shed. 200 or 3000 dead? Bloodshed also is a matter of balance of power in China as it still is the case in the numerous cases of people who are killed or jailed to have opposed the party and mingled inadvertently with the political struggle at the top. Tibet, Xinjiang, Han farming villages.

Asking today to the witnesses, associations of human rights or to the mothers of Tiananmen and brothers or sisters of the killed ones (workers, students, military) what happened to their daughter or to their son like Mr Wu Xiangdong and to other parents who lost their children, is participating to the establishment of facts and therefore a perfect call to neutrality.

Today, near Tiananmen, facing the Raffles (Beijing) hotel is the building of the Chinese security. Powerful these days as claims of terrorism are hastily made here and there. It is still forbidden today to interview people or drop by the square passed a certain time in the evening. Ghosts, probably...

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