186, 207, 221?
Power Struggle between the pro-democratic and pro-conservatism One of the reasons that led to such a tragic end for Tian’anmen Movement is the power struggle between the two camps of leaders, pro-democratic (Former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang) and pro-conservatism (Deng Xiao Ping). In 2009, a memoir was published based on audiotapes recorded by Zhao Ziyang, called Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang, he mentioned that he “didn’t want to be a General Secretary who opens fire on the people.” From this, we could clearly tell by that time, Zhao differed in opinion from Deng and other conservative leaders, like Li Peng on how to handle the student movement, i.e. whether to pursue a peaceful or a military solution. http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2009/06/03/tiananmen-1989-a-need-for-dialogue-20-years-later/ One very crucial turning point that we know is that by that time, the CCP General Secretary made a scheduled official visit to North Korea, which turned out to be a bad decision at the time of turmoil; this was because on April 26th CCP Central issued an editorial on “People’s Daily” in the absence of Zhao Ziyang, which was titled “Uphold the flag to unambiguously oppose any turmoil”, denouncing that the patriotic student movement as a turmoil ignited by an “extremely small handful of opportunists”. http://www.alliance.org.hk/64/6420/?page_id=521
According to Wu Jiaxiang, a former aide and a leading political scientist in Beijing, Zhao Ziyang, before leaving for North Korea on April 21st, had instructed that “no politburo meeting should be held in his absence” but other CCP leaders, likle Yang Shankun & Li Peng immediately convened a “CCP Expanded Poliburo Meeting”, then reported to Deng Xiaoping with meeting opinions, and then borrowed Deng Xiaoping’s mouth in stating that CCP “should not fear bloodshed”.
And in Zhao Zhiyang’s self account, recorded by Yang Jisheng, he claimed that it was li Ximing & Chen Xitong who contacted Wan Li on the night of April 21st in request of convening a commissar meeting; that Wan Li relayed the info to Li Peng. Later, according to ________, Li Peng convened the meeting on the night of 24th, reported it to Deng Xiaoping on 25th, and was authorized to relay Deng’s opinions to communist cadres; and that Li Peng took advantage of the occasion to draft a newspaper commentary for publication on April 26th. By the time Zhao returned to China after the scheduled visit, he found it was just too late to remedy the situation as hostilities between the government and the people have been greatly aggravated.
Other than the mis-communication over the People’s Daily’s editorial, we may gain further insights into the power struggle between the party leaders by taking a look at a previous document obtained by CNN and written by Bao Tong, a close aide to Zhao Ziyang, describing in detail the events leading up to the crackdown on student protests in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. September 25, 1989
Comrade Hu Yaobang died on April 15, soon after which the student demonstrations began. I was extremely worried. Comrade Xiaoping pointed out in his speech on April 25 that the overwhelming priority in China is stability – I completely agreed with his point; I also wanted to maintain stability and prevent turmoil. Specifically, I wanted to make an effort to reduce tensions and to avoid precipitating the tension into clashes. The People’s Daily April 26th editorial, in my view, was harsh in language and lacked analysis and persuasiveness; I had my reservations about it. On May 19 and 20, the Central Committee announced the decision to send the military into Beijing and declare martial law; in my heart, I believed we made a terribly wrong move; I was afraid that we would be trapped in a very difficult situation, “riding a tiger, hard to get-off.”
The Central Standing Committee collectively criticized Comrade Zhao Ziyang; I felt it was unfair. 1.1 – It was I who first informed Comrade Ziyang that the April 26th editorial had aggravated the confrontational mood of students and people who had previously taken a neutral position. Comrade Ziyang returned to Beijing from North Korea on April 30th. As soon as he returned, I reported to him as follows: Students have been demonstrating in the streets since April 27th. There were so many of them that it was impossible to blockade; there were also lots of onlookers following them. Some government officials sympathized with the demonstrations. There were signs that the incident was escalating and expanding; there were a great number of students and others who resented the April 26th editorial and believed that it was hostile towards them. I spoke about my opinion of the editorial: the positive side of the editorial was that it presented Comrade Xiaoping’s thoughts that China must maintain stability and must not fall into turmoil.
However, the editorial was written in a very harsh tone, did not adequately present reasons and lacked analysis. It also did not take into consideration the acceptance of people who were previously neutral. Since there were so many people who believed that the editorial was hostile to them, it was obvious that the editorial did not express its ideas clearly. Comrade Ziyang did not express his own opinions at that time. After a few days, he said to me: “It seems that there are flaws in the editorial.” Comrade Ziyang certainly formulated his opinions in his own way, but it was I who first reported to him about the editorial with this point of view. http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/east/04/22/tiananmen.document.01/ Students’ Uncollective Actions
As discussed above, power struggle among the party leaders is one of the factors in leading to the unwanted tragedy of the June 4th Movement, but as I argue down below, the chaotic and unsystematic internal management of various student movements are by nature underlying factors to the tragedy. After the April 27 demonstration, the government commenced to open up dialogues with students, and the government seemed to take the initiative to adopt a more positive approach towards the student movement. The government’s willingness to concede and negotiate have lit up the hope for the majority of students that the entire student movement might come to a peaceful end(Source: Book) Yet, almost by the same time, the leadership and organization of the movement among the student leaders became “problematic”.
Not only did the student movement organizations hold different points of views towards the movement strategies, some of the student leaders also paid no respect to organizational claims, and much often instead, they themselves acted on behalf of their organizations. One fine example would be the case of Zhou Yongjun, who was the president of Beijing Autonomous Federation. He helped organize another big demonstration on May 4. However, without any consent from his fellows and colleagues, he announced the end of class strike “without a clear resolution within the leadership”. http://www.standoffattiananmen.com/2009/04/people-of-1989-zhou-yongjun.html
In order to better describe the dividing powers among the student leaders during the late stages of June 4th Movement, Zhao (2001) simply grouped the student demonstrators by that time into three groups, which are called respectively Dialogue Delegation Group, Beijing Students’ Autonomous Group and the so-called “charismatic group” http://site.ebrary.com.eproxy1.lib.hku.hk/lib/hkulibrary/docDetail.action?docID=10402626 As Zhao (2001) noted, the students that belonged to Dialogue Delegation Group were “eager for the coming dialogue with the government”.
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