Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Document of 1989: President Bush's Secret Letter to Deng Xiaoping

On June 20, 1989, after his attempt to call Deng Xiaoping directly failed, President Bush hand-crafted a  letter himself, initiating a secret top-level contact with China as his attempt to preserving the US-China relationship. Deng Xiaoping responded immediately to the letter.

This letter was later published in Bush's book All the Best (It was also published in A World Transformed, but with more omissions):

His Excellency Deng Xiaoping
People's Republic of China

June 20, 1989

Dear Chairman Deng:

I write this letter with a heavy heart. I wish there were some way to discuss this matter in person, but regrettably that is not the case. First, I write in a spirit of genuine friendship, this letter coming as I'm sure you know from one who believes with a passion that good relations between the United States and China are in the fundamental interests of both countries. I have felt that way for many years. I feel more strongly that way today, in spite of the difficult circumstances.

Secondly, I write as one who has great respect for what you personally have done for the people of China and to help your great country move forward. There is enormous irony in the fact that you who yourself have suffered several reversals in your quest to bring reform and openness to China are now facing a situation fraught with so much anxiety.

I recall your telling me the last time we met that you were in essence phasing out of the day-to-day management of your great country. But I also recall your unforgettable words about the need for good relations with the West, your concerns about "encirclement" and those who had done great harm to China, and your committment to keeping China moving forward. By writing you I am not trying to bypass any individual leader of China. I am simply writing as a friend, a genuine "lao pengyou."

It is with this in mind that I write you asking for your help in preserving this relationship that we both think is very important. I have tried very hard not to inject myself into China's internal affairs. I have tried very hard not to appear to dictating in any way to China about how it should manage its internal crisis. I am respectful of the differences in our two societies and in our two systems.

I have great reverence for Chinese history, culture and tradition. You have given much to the development of world civilization. But I ask you as well to remember the principles on which my young country was founded. Those principles are democracy and freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of assemblage, freedom from arbitrary authority. It is reverence for those principles which inevitably affects the way American view and react to events in other countries. It is not a reaction of arrogance or of a desire to force others to our beliefs but of simple faith in the enduring value of those principles and their universal applicability.

And that leads directly to the fundamental problem. The early days of the student demonstration, and indeed, the early treatment of the students by the Chinese Army, captured the imagination of the entire world. The wonder of TV brought the details of the events in Tiananmen Square into the homes of peple not just in "Western" countries but world-wide. The early tolerance that was shown, the restraint and the generous handling of the demonstrations, won world-wide respect for China's leadership. Thoughtful people all over the world tried to understand and sympathize with the enormous problems being faced by those required to keep order; and, indeed, they saw with admiration the manifestation of policy which reflected the leaders' words: "The Army loves the people." The world cheered when Chinese leaders were seen patiently meeting with students, even though there were "sit ins" and even though disorder did interfere with normal functions.

I will leave what followed to the history books, but again, with their own eyes the people of the world saw the turmoil and the bloodshed with which the demonstrations were ended. Various countries reacted in various ways. Based on the principles I have described above, the actions that I took as President of the United States could not be avoided. As you know, the clamor for stronger action remains intense. I have resisted that clamor, making clear that I did not want to see destroyed this relationship that you and I have worked so hard to build. I explained to the American people that I did not want to unfairly burden the Chinese people through economic sanctions.

There is also the matter of Fang Lizhi. The minute I heard Fang was in our Embassay, I knew there would be a high-profile wedge driven between us. Fang was not encouraged to come to our Embassay, but under our widely-accepted interpretation of international law we could not refuse him admittance.

In today's climate I know this matter is of grave importance to you and I know it presents you with an enormous problem; a problem that adversely affects my determination and, hopefully, yours to get our relationship back on track.

We cannot now put Fang out of the Embassay without some assurance that he will not be in physical danger. Similar cases elsewhere in the world have been resolved over long periods of time or through the government quietly permitting departure through expulsion. I simply want to assure you that we want this difficult matter resolved in a way which is satisfactory to you and does not violate our commitment to our basic principles. When there are difficulties between friends, as now, we must find a way to talk them out.

Your able Ambassador here represents your country firmly and faithfully. I feel that Jim Lilley does the same for us; but if there is some special channel that you would favor, please let me know.

I have thought of asking you to receive a special emissary who could speak with total candor to you representing my heartfelt convictions on these matters. If you feel such an emissary could be helpful, please let me know and we will work cooperatively to see that his mission is kept in total confidence. I have insisted that all departments of the US government be guided in their statements and actions from my guidance in the White House. Sometimes in an open system such as ours it is impossible to control all leaks; but on this particular letter there are no copies, not one, outside of my own personal file....

I send you this letter with great respect and deep concern. We must not let this important relationship suffer further. Please help me keep it strong. Any statement that could be made from China that drew from earlier statements about peacefully resolving further disputes with protesters would be very well received here. Any clemency that could be shown the student demonstrators would be applauded worldwide. We must not let the aftermath of the tragic recent events undermine a vital relationship patiently built up over the past seventeen years. I would, of course, welcome a personal reply to this letter. This matter is too important to be left to our bureaucracies.

As I said above, I write with a heavy heart; but I also write with a frankness reserved for respected friends.


George Bush

Document of 1989

Document of 1989: President Bush's Diaries

In the book A World Transformed, coauthored with his national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, President George Bush included some of his diary entries written in June and July of 1989, reflecting his thoughts immediately after the Tiananmen Massacre. His focus was at preserving the US-China relationship:

June 5, 1989
[Representative Steve] Solarz on the left and [Senator Jesse] Helms on the right want us to move much more radically. Helms has always detested this relationship, and Solarz [, who wants me to recall our Ambassador,] is the guy who wants to overthrow no matter who's involved. He's the kind of guy that was delighted about the overthrow of Shah, not worrying about what follows on.

I talked to Nixon at 8:00 AM, and he was saying, "don't disrupt the relationship. What's happened has been handled badly and is deplorable, but take a look at the long haul." I told him I was not going to recall [Ambassador] Lilley, and he thought that was good. He doesn't think we should stop our trade [and should do] something symbolic, but we must have a good relationship in the long run...and that is what I will try to do while denouncing the violence and abuse of power...The reports from China are still crazy...There are rumors that "Li Peng has been shot," and rumors that "Deng was dead." All of this tells me to be cautious and calm.

June 10, 1989
Dissident Fang is in our embassy, and it turns out his wife may have been supported by unfriendly elements, and this will make the Chinese even more outraged. We had no choice but to take him in, but it's going to be a real stick in the eyes to the Chinese.

At the press conference, I pointed out we weren't sure who was in charge, but then yesterday--the day after the press conference--Deng and Li Peng...reappeared, and the stories are [that] all the hard-liners are in charge. China needs to make a clear statement about reform, and going forward. It would be good if they could make some statement of regret about what happened; but they seem to be circling the wagons, going after students, and showing pictures of soldiers that were abused... I want to preserve the relationship, but I must also make clear that the US cannot condone this kind of human rights brutality. You have the networks, led principally by Dan Rather, pitching everything with the highest emotional content and driving to...almost break relations with China, and that I don't want.

June 20, 1989
...I'm sending signals to China that we want the relationship to stay intact, but it's hard when they're executing people, and we have to respond. We've got to stand for what this country believes in--human rights, right for peaceful protests, etc. They killed three guys yesterday who allegedly burned a train in Shanghai, but I hope they won't go after all the student organizers in Beijing with the same brutality. Dissident Fang is making things much worse and Fang's son showed up at a hearing under the patronage of Jesse Helms--stupid--and it just makes things worse.

It's the morning of Wednesday, June 21. I told Brent Scowcroft that I wanted to [ask] Han Xu if he felt [sending an emmissary] was worth doing. I went to a meeting...and during that hour, Brent talked to Han Xu [who] said he wanted to come over. So within a couple of minutes of Brent having set the appointment up--and without me even knowing about it because he had not had time to get back to me--we got a press inquiry saying, is the President going to meet with Han Xu? Absolutely unbelievable. I walked down to Brent's office to talk about it, and Patty Presock was the only one who had some inkling of it; but the next thing she knew, she got a call from Brent's office, and it was overheard, apparently, by the press office. A terrible situation. So we immediately canceled the meeting. We cannot have a meeting like this in public--it just escalates our concern or attention to the matter.

June 24, 1989
It's June 24th...much to our surprise, on Thursday--less than 24hours later--we got back a personal response [from Deng]. He accepts my idea of a personal emissary. [The question is "who?"] Jim Baker does not want to be undermined, so I thought of a lot of alternatives: Kissinger and Nixon--too high profile, and too much propensity for leakage, though both would be very good; [John] Holdridge or other ambassadors--not enough standing; and Jim Lilley--no good, because of the dissident Fang. I don't want to embarrass Lilley by leaving him out to dry, but I don't want to undermine Baker's running foreign policy. I want to get the best expert who knows Deng--and that is Scowcroft. So on Saturday morning, I proposed to Brent that it be him and Eagleburger, and he's agreeable; I called Baker, and he's agreeable; and so we'll have a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

The plan at this point is to have an over-the-top flight in an unmarked plane going into some Chinese base. It's highly sensitive, China is blasting the United States for interfering in their internal affairs, and we are criticizing China, though not as vociferously as most in the congress would like me to do. This has been a very delicate matter--how to handle this relationship. China is back on track a little with the Soviets, and they could indeed come back in much stronger if we move unilaterally against them and cut them off from the west. Deng still worries about "encirclement," and so do I.

The dissident [Fang] matter is horrible. There was a little squib in intelligence that they might condemn him and kick him out [of the country], and that would be the best answer right now...So far, we're getting reasonable marks for the way we're handling it, and good support from Broomfield, Foley, and Lee Hamilton. The Senate is in a little more disarray, and Lloyd Bentsen told me today that he wants to help. It's highly complex, and yet, I'm determined to try to preserve this relationship--cool the rhetoric. I feel deeply offended by what China has done with the students and the others who courageously stood their ground. And I'm upset that Zhao Ziyang has been kicked out. But I rememebered his lecture to us on reform and "caution." I take this whole relationship very personally, and I want to handle it [that way].

July 9, 1989
It's now July 9th, and we're three hours out on our way to Poland. Down below is a bright blue Atlantic that you can see forever, and the gleaming blue and silver engines on Air Force One are over my right shoulder...China still worries me. We see nothing that I really want China to do in order to solve the existing problem of strained relations, and I don't think any other Western country does. I think they're glad I'm holding the line. They can be out front with more rhetorical overkill, but I will continue to try and hold the line, though I am uneasy about my ability to keep this relationship on track. As long as China tries to say there was no massacre in Tiananmen Square, no lives lost except for the lives of Chinese soldiers, then the matter will not be quiet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Document of 1989: 21 Most Wanted Student Leaders

Most Wanted Student Leaders
by Beijing Public Security Bureau
June 13, 1989

The illegal organization "Beijing Students Autonomous Federation" instigated and organized the counter-revolutionary rebellion in Beijing. It is now decided to pursue its head and key members, including Wang Dan and other 21 people, as Most Wanted. After receiving this order, please immediately arrange investigation work. If found, immediate arrest the targets and inform the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

The Most Wanted List:

(1) Wang Dan, male, 24, from Jilin, student of the Department of History at Peking University, 1.73m height.

(2) Wuer Kaixi, male, born on February 17, 1968, from Xinjiang, student of the Department of Education at Beijing Normal University.

(3) Liu Gang, male, 28, from Jilin, former graduate student of Department of Physics at Peking University, now jobless

(4) Chai Ling, female, born on April 15, 1966, from Shandong, graduate student of Department of Psychology at Beijing Normal University

(5) Zhou Fengsuo, male, born on October 5, 1967, from Shanxi, student of Department of Physics, Tsinghua University

(6) Zhai Weimin, male, 21, from Henan, student of Beijing Economics Colleage

(7) Liang Qingdun, male, born on May 11, 1969, from Sichuan, student of Department of Psychology at Beijing Normal University

(8) Wang Zhengyun, male, born in October, 1968, student of Central Institute of Nationalities

(9) Zheng Xuguang, male, 20, from Henan, student of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics

(10) Ma Shaofang, male, born in November, 1964, from Jiangsu, student of Beijing Institute of Films

(11) Yang Tao, male, 19, from Fujian, student of Department of History at Peking University

(12) Wang Zhixing, male, born in November, 1967, from Shanxi, student of the University of Political Science and Law

(13) Feng Congde, male, 22, from Sichuan, graduate student of Institute of Remote Sensing at Peking University

(14) Wang Chaohua, female, 37, graduate student of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

(15) Wang Youcai, male, born on June, 1966, from Zhejiang, graduate student of Department of Physics at Peking University

(16) Zhang Zhiqing, male, born in June, 1964, from Shanxi, student of the University of Political Science and Law

(17) Zhang Boli, male, 26, from Helongjiang, student of "Author Class" at Peking University

(18) Li Lu, male, about 20, student of Nanking University

(19) Zhang Ming, male, born in April, 1965, from Jilin, student of Department of Auto Engineering at Tsinghua University

(20) Xiong Wei, male, born in July, 1966, from Hubei, student of Department of Radio at Tsinghua University

(21) Xiong Yan, male, born in September, 1964, from Hunan, graduate student of Department of Law at Peking University

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chai Ling Forgives Tiananmen Murderers

On the 23rd anniversary of Tiananmen massacre, former student leader Chai Ling wrote on Huffington Post that she has now forgiven the murderers of that tragedy.

The article is written in a heavily religious tone, quoting the Bible liberally. It reflects her new mindset since being baptized two years ago. After citing her new understanding of human vulnerability and citing Jesus as an example, she wrote:

Because of Jesus, I forgive them. I forgive Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng. I forgive the soldiers who stormed Tiananmen Square in 1989. I forgive the current leadership of China, who continue to suppress freedom and enforce the brutal One Child Policy. 
I pray that a culture of grace will arise in China, giving all people dignity and humanity. I pray that the China's current leaders will follow Jesus and act with mercy and compassion. I pray that those who have suffered under oppression will not seek vengeance -- like King David's soldiers did when they killed Absalom -- but have the courage to forgive. Forgiveness does not justify wrong, but rather yields the power of judgment to God. 
I understand such forgiveness is countercultural. Yet it is only a small reflection of the forgiveness that Jesus gave, and I was filled with peace when I followed him in forgiving. When forgiveness arises, a lasting peace can finally reign.

Some of Chai Ling's fellow former student leaders, including Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, and her ex-husband Feng Congde reacted quickly to express their disagreement.

P.S. no words if Chai Ling has also forgiven the producers of documentary Gate of Heavenly Peace, to whom she had waged a legal battle of attrition but lost.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Document of 1989: Radio Beijing Broadcast on June 4, 1989

In the afternoon of June 4, 1989, hours after the massacre and amid a military crackdown on all media services nationwide, the English department of Radio Beijing broadcast the following message to the world:

Please remember June the Third, 1989. The most tragic event happened in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

Thousands of people, most of them innocent civilians, were killed by fully-armed soldiers when they forced their way into city. Among the killed are our colleagues at Radio Beijing. The soldiers were riding on armored vehicles and used machine guns against thousands of local residents and students who tried to block their way. When the army convoys made the breakthrough, soldiers continued to spray their bullets indiscriminately at crowds in the street. Eyewitnesses say some armored vehicles even crushed foot soldiers who hesitated in front of the resisting civilians. [The] Radio Beijing English Department deeply mourns those who died in the tragic incident and appeals to all its listeners to join our protest for the gross violation of human rights and the most barbarous suppression of the people.

Because of the abnormal situation here in Beijing there is no other news we could bring to you. We sincerely ask for your understanding and thank you for joining us at this most tragic moment.

Documents of 1989