Thursday, May 22, 2008

NYT Archive 1989: Second Day of Martial Law

The much extended coverage of the "Upheaval in China" continued in New York Times on May 22, 1989. It included a cautious call by President George H. W. Bush for Chinese to "stand up for what you believe in". The journalist Liu Binyan(刘宾雁), who was in the States, spread a few rumors. Oversea Chinese students continued their own demonstrations to support their compatriots at home, in Hong Kong and New York.

There was also a pro-democratic demonstration at Muscow, led Boris Yeltsin and Andrei Sakharov. But it was unrelated to what was happening in China.

Meanwhile, in Beijing:
Workers and students blocked new advances by army convoys today, preventing a military crackdown on China's democracy movement from taking effect, and several dozen top legislators quietly began preparing a strategy to revoke martial law.
There was exhilaration as well as exhaustion on central Tiananmen Square as dawn broke this morning, for many of the tens of thousands of students occupying the square had earlier written their wills after widespread rumors that brutal repression would begin during the night.
While many still fear that there will be violence, there is a sense of triumph in the capital that ordinary citizens have been able to prevent the Government from carrying out martial law more than two days after Prime Minister Li Peng ordered it.
The optimism had obviously strengthened students' resolve,

'Tiananmen Square has become a holy spot for Chinese democracy,'' a student leader, Wang Dan, told the crowd today. ''If we stay here longer, we will contribute more to China's democratization and increase our influence. If we withdraw, we will let down the citizens who have defended us. We will stay until our victory.''
As the movement turned against Li Peng and Deng Xiaoping, NYT also profiled "eight elders", senior retired or semi-retired leaders, who were much closer with Deng Xiaoping in age than either Zhao Ziyang or Li Peng, who might ultimately decide the outcome of this crisis.

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