1. Speech at the 32nd Anniversary of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre Network Conference
Wang Dan – Youtube – June 4, 2021
On the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy protests centered in Tiananmen Square and June 4, 1989 military massacre, today we look back on that momentous historical event in which we were personally involved and perhaps can see some issues more clearly. The relationship between that movement and China’s subsequent development is, in my view, a question of great historical and practical significance. Here I would like to provide a little personal reflection, to “throw a brick in order to expose jade” so to speak, and hopefully elicit some deeper insights.
My reflections arise from a question from a netizen: “If there had been no Tiananmen Square Pro-Democracy Movement in 1989, and reformists such as Zhao Ziyang had remained in power, perhaps this would have promoted political reforms later, and perhaps China would be more democratic today than it is now. What do you think?” This is actually an old but important question, because there are indeed many who believe that the student movement was too far ahead of its time, leading to a reversal of the political openness of the late 1980s and leading China onto a later path of political regression. I do not agree with this viewpoint.
In response to the netizen’s above question, my opinion is: First, if we change the word “movement” to “massacre,” I basically agree. In other words, it was not the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement that led to the downfall of Zhao Ziyang, the strangling of political reforms, and the absence of democracy in China today, but the June 4, 1989 military massacre. The 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement and the June 4, 1989 military massacre are two separate events. But they are inextricably linked to each other, and the responsibility for each must be clearly distinguished. If the Deng Xiaoping-led regime had not carried out the June 4, 1989 crackdown on the pro-democracy movement, reformists such as Zhao Ziyang would have remained in power, perhaps later promoting political reform, and perhaps China would be more democratic than it is today. Many outside observers criticized the student movement for bringing a halt to political reforms, but this is an erroneous judgment that inverts cause and effect.
Secondly, looking back at history from today’s vantage point, we must see that the outbreak of the 1989 pro-democracy movement was inevitable as a result of the influence of the social enlightenment movement in China in the 1980s, and the policy impetus of the two more enlightened Communist Party leaders Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang. The student movement itself emerged from the public consideration of political reforms. The issue of political reform was raised at the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1987, and the political report at that time proposed the reform of “consulting with society on major issues,” and students later took to the streets to demand political dialogue, echoing this reform policy of the authorities. In other words, it was not the student movement that led to the failure of political reform, but the development of political reform that inevitably led to the student movement, because marches, demonstrations, and political participation were – in the eyes of the students at the time – the right thing to do to promote political reform.
There is another angle to this question that is perhaps more worthy of consideration, and that is: If the political reforms that began in 1987 had been successful, and had established a certain amount of intra-party democracy that could have checked Deng Xiaoping’s dictatorial power, the subsequent crackdown on the student movement might not have occurred. As we know, the declaration of martial law at that time was very controversial even within the Communist Party, opposed by Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, Politburo Standing Committee member Hu Qili and other senior leaders, and seven People’s Liberation Army generals and other military officials. All were initially opposed to the use of force to resolve the conflict. But the political system at that time was still the old one-man dictatorship, and once Deng Xiaoping decided to use lethal force, all voices of opposition were immediately silenced, and even Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang was deposed without due process. The historical lesson of Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang’s dismissal without due process in 1987 was not learned, and the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party still stipulated that Deng Xiaoping alone would make decisions on important matters. This did serious damage to the development of democracy and the checks and balances on power within the Communist Party, and led directly to the subsequent tragedy. Thus, the opposite may be true: it was not the student-led pro-democracy movement that led to the failure of political reform, but the failure of political reform led to the crackdown on the student movement and subsequent military massacre.
Thirty-two years have passed since the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. As prinicipal participants and survivors, we have the responsibility and duty to clarify the truth of history and correct the rights and wrongs of the matter. This is our solemn duty.
Another thing that is incumbent upon us – the principal participants of the democracy movement and survivors of the massacre – is that we have the responsibility and obligation to pass on the historical memory. So I would like to take this opportunity to present to you precisely one initiative, which is: to create in the United States a bricks-and-mortar June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre Museum.
As we all know, in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKASPDMC) has built a memorial hall for the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, which has attracted a large number of people from mainland China to visit. But we also know that this memorial, and even the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China itself, will probably not survive in the future political climate of Hong Kong. Once the June Fourth Memorial Hall in Hong Kong is closed, there will no longer be a physical memorial hall in the world where historical memories can be publicly displayed.
And we know even better that it is very significant to have such a physical memorial. It could not only collect and preserve historical artifacts related to the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement and subsequent June 4, 1989 military massacre, but also bring historical memories alive in the real world through the display of these artifacts. I think that today, when Hong Kong is no longer in a position to preserve the historical memory of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, the establishment of such a memorial in the United States is our historical responsibility, especially the 1989 generation, and it is also an account of the period of history we passed through back then, and to those students and people who died. Therefore, I hereby call on all of us, from the overseas 1989 generation to the forces supporting democracy in China, from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China to the civil society groups in Taiwan, from the overseas Chinese groups around the world to the general public, let us join together with the greatest tolerance, the greatest unity, the strongest will, and the greatest effort to promote the establishment of such a memorial in the United States. I personally hope that we can get together at the latest on the 35th anniversary of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square military massacre and hold a grand opening ceremony for this memorial hall. Let us turn the slogan “Never forget, never give up” into reality in this way.
2. This is a Key Point That Has Not Been Clarified in the Revision of the Law in Hong Kong
Fan Peng – Beijing Cultural Review – March 31, 2021
Why Read This?
Recently, the two new revisions to the Hong Kong Basic Law were passed unanimously, arousing widespread concern. What does this mean? Can the loopholes in the system that have plagued Hong Kong for so long be fixed? This article argues that the emergence of an increasingly wide range of “veto holders” in Hong Kong over the past period has led to an increasingly fragmented political and administrative system in Hong Kong, which has evolved into a system in which no force has sufficient power to make major decisions, and this is precisely the crux of the problem in Hong Kong.（Read the full text）
3. Why Did China Launch the “Belt and Road” Initiative?
International Politics Scholars – International Politics Scholars – March 19, 2021
Why Read This?
Based on China’s domestic political economy, this paper argues that the Belt and Road Initiative aims to reduce three vulnerabilities that could undermine China’s economic growth and threaten its political system: Industrial overcapacity, large energy imports transported by sea rather than the safer land route, and underdeveloped western regions. Addressing these vulnerabilities will help maintain China’s economic model. Finally, the authors provide a preliminary assessment of the achievement of these objectives and summarize the research results.（Read the full text）
4. The Whole Network Explains the Dramatic Changes in China and the United States, but No One Piece of Writing Expresses the Truth More Clearly Than This
Qiang Shigong – Beijing Cultural Review – March 20, 2021
Why Read This?
The authors of this article argue that the key to understanding the changes in United States-China relations lies in understanding the “critical decade” of 2008-2018. After 2008, the United States shifted its strategic focus from the Islamic world to China in an attempt to adjust the rising economy of China into a country subordinate to the “New Roman Empire” system of the United States. However, the reality is not what the United States would like it to be. In 2018, President Donald Trump launched an economic and trade war against China, a comprehensive change of policy towards China, a decade of “engagement policy” was declared a failure, and the “New Roman Empire” was not completed as hoped.（Read the full text）
5. The Three “Views of America” That Dominate Chinese People’s Thinking Are Very Intriguing
Beijing Cultural Review Editorial Department – Beijing Cultural Review – April 1, 2021
Why Read This?
Something is wrong with the United States model. This is a common feeling in mainstream Chinese society today. The lighthouse status of the United States model is collapsing, the aura of the United States model is fading, and Chinese people need to get to know the United States again. Rather than reflecting the objective changes in the external world, the perception of the United States and the world reflects the Chinese people’s perception of their own changing status. For most Chinese who have not been to the United States, the United States is in fact a mirror image of the Chinese inner self.（Read the full text）
6. A New Cold War Will Not Happen – The Limits of U.S.-China Competition
Ke Qingsheng – International Politics Scholars – March 27, 2021
Why Read This?
The author points out that although China and the United States are in a strategic competition situation, this trend will not develop into a new Cold War for the following three main reasons: The U.S. and China are not engaged in a global ideological struggle against third parties; A highly globalized world cannot be strictly divided into independent economic blocs; and China and the United States are not leading a rival alliance system.（Read the full text）
7. The Later China’s Young Generations are Born, the More “Bitterness They Eat”?
Li Xiaoguang, Wu Xiaogang – Beijing Cultural Review – March 21, 2021
Why Read This?
Another year’s graduation time arrives. Every year during the job-seeking season, many school graduates experience “difficulties in finding jobs,” and the employment situation in the post-pandemic era is even more critical. Young people often feel that the value of diplomas in their hands seems to be getting lower and lower. There is no shortage of criticism in the society that China has a trend of “over-education.” Is this really the case?（Read the full text）
8. Don’t Again Squander the Last Freedom of Our Nation
Yao Zhongqiu – Beijing Cultural Review – March 24, 2021
Why Read This?
How the dead are laid to rest is related to a common understanding of life and thus constitutes the core of their culture. The author points out that in the context of reviving traditional culture, it is more important to reflect on the role of funeral culture in the rejuvenation of people’s hearts and beliefs in a large mobile society. The government’s intervention must be based on the premise of respecting the freedom of national funeral customs.（Read the full text）
9. Chinese Young People Insist on Calling Themselves “CP,” Behind This is a Revolution in Sexual Politics
Xu Yanrui, Yang Ling – Beijing Cultural Review – March 29, 2021
Why Read This?
The author points out that in the midst of the social anxiety of the “decline of the yin and the yang,” the culture of corruption has provided room for soft masculinity, and women have become active participants in the construction of masculinity and gender order for the first time, and the concept of gender in society has quietly changed, thus fundamentally touching the structure of sexual politics, and the relationship between gender and power is taking on a different pattern. （Read the full text）
10. Chinese People Who Harshly Criticize State-Owned Enterprises Really Do Not Understand Their Advantages and Disadvantages
Wen Yi – Beijing Cultural Review – March 16, 2021
Why Read This?
This writer believes that “management” is the biggest challenge for both State-Owned Enterprises [SOEs] and private enterprises. The biggest problem of State-Owned Enterprises at present is the lack of competitive market pressure in the sourcing and evaluation systems of management staff. But it has nothing to do with ownership, and everything to do with management. The mainstream Western economic theories that pit the state against the market and state-owned enterprises against private enterprises are the root causes of the failed economic reforms in Russia, the poverty trap in Africa, the lost years and the growing debt crisis in Latin America.（Read the full text）
11. Myanmar Arson of Chinese Companies Reveals a 10-Year Backlog of Difficult Problems
Yang Long, Li Xiangning – Beijing Cultural Review – March 17, 2021
Why Read This?
Recently, the political turmoil in Myanmar has affected Chinese enterprises, with large-scale vandalism, looting, and arson incidents against dozens of Chinese enterprises sending shockwaves both at home and abroad. Why are low-profile Chinese companies once again the main target of expressions of Myanmar’s internal conflict? This paper analyzes the challenges posed to Chinese companies by the transition to democratization in Myanmar a decade ago. It possesses predictive value, and assists us in determining the root causes and proper countermeasures of the difficulties of Chinese enterprises in Myanmar today.（Read the full text）