Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Standoff at Tiananmen" on Google Books

My book Standoff at Tiananmen is now available on Google Books, where it can be searched, previewed, discussed and reviewed. Here is the book link.

The Chinese language version is also available here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happenings at the 21st Anniversary

There have been many commemoration events, large and small, real and virtual, around the world during the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. Here is an obviously incomplete list of the major occurrences, in no particular order:

  1. The good people of Hong Kong kept their annual tradition with an estimated 150,000 people attending a candle-lit vigil at the city's Victoria Park.
  2. "Tiananmen Mother" Ding Zilin and her husband made it to the spot where their son Jiang Jielian was killed on the night of June 3, 1989, at Muxidi, surrounded by heavy police escort and "protection." The couple stayed for 45 minutes and performed vigil for all known victims at that location that night. Ding Zilin fainted as she was leaving the scene.
  3. Wuer Kaixi attempted to turn himself in at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo and was refused by the embassy. He was eventually arrested by Japanese police for trespassing. He had tried a similar and unsuccessful tactic at Hong Kong last year.
  4. Chai Ling testified at the US Congress on the "forced abortion" policy by the Chinese government, calling it as "Tiananmen Massacre is happening ever day in China."
  5. Wang Dan organized a large-scale online commemorative gathering on Twitter.
  6. A book claimed to be the diary penned by Li Peng, the Premier during the movement and massacre, is published in Hong Kong.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gorbachev's Chilling Reaction to Tiananmen Death Toll

Claire Berlinski wrote in City Journal on the "hidden history of evil" of communism, in which she described some valuable archives from the Soviet era. The archives were smuggled out of Soviet Union by dissidents and are supposed to have been verified by "other prominent Soviet dissidents and Cold War spies" and approved as credible by British judges.

In one example, Claire cited Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's reaction to the death toll of Tiananmen massacre in a Politburo meeting on October 4, 1989, four months after the tragedy:
[Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Anatoly Ivanovich] Lukyanov reports that the real number of casualties on Tiananmen Square was 3,000.

Gorbachev: We must be realists. They, like us, have to defend themselves. Three thousands... So what?
The City Journal article did not explain the source of the "3,000" death toll number. It most likely came from the predominant figure cited by western media at the time.

Gorbachev has famously walked into the Tiananmen Standoff in May, 1989, for a historical summit with Chinese leaders. His visit, or the anticipation of it, was a major factor in students' decision to launch a hunger strike. Students had welcomed Gorbachev as "the true reformer," but Gorbachev also chided the students as "hot heads."

Thanks to Feng Congde for locating this article.