Saturday, March 28, 2015

This Day in 1989: Poet Haizi Commits Suiside

On March 26, 1989, famous poet Haizi committed suicide.

This Day in 1989

This Day in 1989: The Democracy Salon Gets Authority's Attention

On March 29, 1989, Wang Dan once again led a session of the Democracy Salon at Peking University as scheduled. However, the invited speaker, President of the Institute of Economy, Jiang Hong (姜洪) failed to show due to interference by the city government. The school also dispatched dozens of security personnel to monitor the salon with cameras.

The salon still took place. Wang Dan read aloud a speech delivered by Hong Kong journalist Xu Simin (徐四民) at the recent meeting of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference instead. The speech called for democratization in Chinese politics and was attracting much attention in Beijing.

This Day in 1989

Saturday, March 21, 2015

This Day in 1989: The Democracy Salon is Revived in Peking University

On March 22, 1989, about a hundred students at Peking University attended a session of the Democracy Salon on campus. Wang Dan led the session and a graduate student gave a speech on the "New Authoritarianism," a trendy topic of the day.

The Democracy Salon was originally founded by Liu Gang almost a year earlier. In 1988, it hosted several prominent intellectuals, including American Ambassador Winston Lord, to provide interactive discussions with students. The Salon did not survive for long when the school banished it after an unrelated incident resulting to the death of a student. After that, Wang Dan had been hosting small, secretive sessions in his dorm building.

This is the first time the Salon is once again held outdoors in the open.

This Day in 1989

Friday, March 13, 2015

This Day in 1989: March 14, 43 Intellectuals Sign Open Letter to People's Congress

On March 14, 1989, 43 intellectuals, led by Dai Qing, co-signed an open letter to the People's Congress, calling for amnesty and the release of Wei Jingsheng. This is the third and last such open letter in support of the original call by Professor Fang Lizhi.

Days of 1989

Friday, March 6, 2015

This Day in 1989: March 7, Martial Law in Lhasa, Tibet

On March 7, 1989, as a response to two days of protests and riots, the Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng declared martial law in Tibet's capital city Lhasa.

Under the martial law, People's Liberation Army moved in and quickly suppressed the protests. It is not clear how many perished in the process. The Chinese government announced that a dozen people died. New York Times reported an unofficial number of 75 (and later cited a Chinese journalist who claimed that more than 450 died).

This is the first time martial law was imposed in China since the chaotic Cultural Revolution. But it failed to garner attention both inside China and abroad. The martial law was finally lifted on May 1, 1990, more than a whole year later.

This Day in 1989

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This Day in 1989: March 5, Protest and Riot Erupts in Tibet

On March 5, 1989, large scale of protests broke out in the city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Hundreds of monks, nuns, and youth marched on the street with the forbidden Tibetan flags. Looting and arson also occurred amid the protests.

Tibet had not been quiet in the late 1980s and saw several occurrences of riot and other incidents between police and people. In the early 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama Choekyi Gyaltsen was finally allowed to visit his home state Tibet after being confined in Beijing for decades. But he passed away suddenly soon after arriving Tibet. His death led to suspicions of conspiracy and heightened the tension.

This Day in 1989