Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Day in 1989: May 26, Students Vote to Continue Occupying Tiananmen Square

Along with the new Headquarters for Defending Tiananmen Square, Li Lu had organized a new student parliament in the Square as a deliberate and decision-making entity. In the night between May 25 and 26, 1989, the parliament had an overnight session debating the merits of continued occupation in the Square. A vote was cast at 5 o'clock in the morning on four options:
  1. Defending the Square with a confrontational stance (坚守广场,主动出击): 162, 56%
  2. Persisting in the Square while seeking a dialogue (积极对话,坚持广场): 80, 27%
  3. Keeping the purity of the movement, no withdraw, no dialogue (保持纯洁,不撤不谈), 38, 13%
  4. Keeping the status quo, let chips fall where it may (维持现状,自生自灭), 8, 3%
It was not clear what the real differences between some of the choices, but the voting result clearly demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of the delegates to this parliament favored an aggressive and continued occupation of the Square. Li Lu would later use this result as his mandate to defeat various proposals of withdrawing.

In this afternoon, Yang Tao arrived at the Square from Peking University with his "empty campus" proposal, in which all students leave the city altogether. He appeared to have the ears of Chai Ling and Feng Congde but not Li Lu, who regarded it as just another attempt to get the students to withdraw.

Feng Congde continued to struggle with the chaotic financial situation in the Square. He had learned that the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation had taken a sizable donation fund with them when they were forced out.

At Tiananmen Square, a new red banner was installed on the Monument to People's Heroes, spelling out the new goals for the movement under martial law: "Commerce the National People's Congress, Improve democracy; Impeach Li Peng, End the Military Rule." (召开人大,推进民主;罢免李鹏,结束军管). Wang Dan posted a poster at Peking University with an urgent appeal for students to reinforce their comrades at the Square.

Days of 1989

No comments: