Tiananmen Square Revisited

When I was writing and posting Part 8 for China’s Capitalist Revolution, there was a scene in that segment of the documentary of a student dressed in pajamas sitting in a chair.  This so-called student leader for the Tiananmen Square incident was rude, arrogant and demanding.

There was no sign of the piety I see everyday—that I have lived with and witnessed since I married into a Chinese family. My wife and her family lived in China during Mao’s time. They suffered through the same changes everyone else did but their respect for piety never changed.

I read the “What is the truth about Tiananmen Square?” post again.

Why did President H. W. Bush change ambassadors in the middle of the incident with a man who had once been an operative for the CIA working in Asia inserting agents into China? James Lilly wouldn’t have to meet with the students himself. He knew who the double agents in China were. He had to know.

“The protesters were not demanding Western style politics or an end to Communist Party rule as many in the West believe.  They wanted the government to listen to their opinions about   reforms and corruption.  The banners the protesters carried said, “We Support the Great Glorious Communist Party of China.” Source: China’s Capitalist Revolution, Part 7

It was the Western media and the rude, arrogant students, who turned the event into a democracy movement but only after Lilly was in the country or on his way. Did President Bush seize an opportunity?

In fact, it wasn’t until after that student treated his elders with disrespect, that Deng Xiaoping sent the troops in—a reaction to be expected in a country with a collective culture like China’s where practicing piety is the same as breathing.

What choice did he have?  After all, the students had demanded the negotiations be broadcast live on TV to the nation. Embarrassed in front of the country he ruled, Deng had no choice. It was a great loss of face for him and the government.  Loss of face is probably the leading cause of suicide in Asian countries like Japan and the two Koreas.

That student acted as if he was untouchable–that he had insurance. Maybe he did. He had taken a huge risk to gain face, and it turned into a tragedy.

Moreover, why has America’s media made such a big deal out of the Tiananmen Square incident where hundreds died and almost nothing about the slaughter conducted by (an American ally) Chiang Kai-shek’s troops in Taiwan where almost thirty thousand were murdered? See 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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2 Responses to Tiananmen Square Revisited

  1. Terry K Chen says:

    Even if that student hadn’t been so blatantly disrespectful, I’m sure deng would have done the same thing. The protests had dragged on for two months with the economy at virtual stand-still and social unrest and riots all over the country. Had he waited any longer, China could have been plunged into another cultural revolution. Apart from that, the longer the protests dragged on, the more time the western countries and the conspiring double-agents would have to further worsen the situation. If he hadn’t quelled the protests, they would have overrun him and his reforms.

    • As a comparison, how quickly did the United States react to the Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles in 1992? The riots lasted six days, and to end them, 2,000 California National Guard troops were called up by the governor the second day.

      On the fourth day after the US President got involved (the first Bush), 4,000 heavily armed US Marines and Army troops were sent in, martial law was declared, road blocks were set up and there were fire fights between the military and street gangs/rioters.

      It started on Wednesday, April 29 and ended on May 4.

      However, although Mayor Bradley lifted the curfew on May 4, signaling the official end of the riots, sporadic violence and crime continued for a few days afterward. Schools, banks, and businesses reopened. Federal troops did not stand down until May 9; the state guard remained until May 14; and some soldiers remained as late as May 27

      The casualties and damage caused — The Rodney King Riots and Uprising caused more than $1 billion in damage to Los Angeles and saw 53 people killed and thousands injured. The military had to be sent in to restore order and some of these troops were responsible for some of the deaths and injured.
      There were also two other riots that took place at the same time.
      • Tampa Riots of 1992
      • West Las Vegas riots

      Then we have these Western riots.
      • 1981 England riots – West Indian race riots across London, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool
      • 2001 England riots – South Asian race riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford
      • 2005 civil unrest in France – Widespread rioting across France
      • 2005 Cronulla riots – Beachfront riots in Sydney, Australia
      • 2006 Dublin riots – Love-Ulster Riots in Dublin, Ireland
      • 2008 Greek riots – Riots in Greece, mainly centered on Athens
      • 2011 London riots – Violence and looting across London (still going on as I write this reply)

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