As the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square protests approaches, we can expect the usual Western campaign of exaggeration and outright lies to build to a crescendo yet again.
The Qiao Collective has curated a short reading list that provides an alternative perspective on the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Qiao Collective has written a short reflection on the protests that is not meant to provide a comprehensive review of the event but instead provide a reframing of how Westerners approach the event. Read it linked here. Below is an excerpt:
The complexities of Tiananmen and its contradictory elements—anti-corruption protesters, bourgeois neoliberals, student reformers, disillusioned workers—all get erased by the simplistic, chauvinistic Western fairy tale of the Chinese masses calling out for regime change. The West always hoped to transform Tiananmen protests into a call for regime change, despite many protesters being deeply patriotic and wanting mild reforms within the Party. Thirty years on, like Pompeo and Trump before them, Blinken and Biden inherit the task of exploiting Chinese bloodshed for an imperialist agenda.
China at 1989 faced a crossroads. The Party always understood that market reforms would introduce neoliberal elements into the political spectrum. As a consequence, bourgeois intelligentsia flourished, as did Party corruption. The protests included competing agendas: a bourgeois factions demanding the neoliberal path, students protesting corruption, workers frustrated with market reforms. Working class consciousness was subsumed to elite factions, some of whom sought alliances with Western operatives. But the West clings to a savior narrative of Chinese people longing to be freed by Western intervention.
The version of Tiananmen Westerners mourn is nothing more than a fairy tale. It makes a mockery of the Chinese people and the political debates that have forged China’s path.
Clark, Gregory. “Birth of a massacre myth.” The Japan Times. July 21, 2008.
He Zhao, Robert K Tan, and Dennis Etler. “Notes for 30th Anniversary of TianAnMen Incident.” Medium. May 30, 2019.
Kanthan, Chris. “Tiananmen Square Massacre – Facts, Fiction and Propaganda.” World Affairs. June 2, 2019.
Li, Minqi. The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy. London: Pluto Press, 2008.
Matthews, Jay. “The Myth of Tiananmen.” Columbia Journalism Review. June 4, 2010.
Moore, Malcolm. “Wikileaks: no bloodshed inside Tiananmen Square, cables claim.” The Telegraph. June 4, 2011.