Friday, August 11, 2017

This Day in 1989: June 28, 1989, Thatcher Meets with Chinese Students in UK

In the morning of June 28, 1989, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher met with five Chinese student representatives in her office at No. 10 Downing Street. At that time, there were about 3,500 Chinese students and scholars in UK and some 205 of them were facing expiration of their visa and would have to return to China soon.

The Chinese student representatives expressed gratitude to UK government for her strong condemnation of the Tiananmen Massacre. They hoped the UK government would also suspend all high-level visits between the two countries and also provide protection to the Chinese nationals in UK.

Thatcher promised that her government would "look sympathetically at any applications to stay in the United Kingdoms from those who did not wish to return to China for the present," and provide assistance in the areas of employment permission and health insurance to those with financial difficulties. However, she discouraged Chinese students from seeking long-term political asylum and said that "they should see their future in terms of returning to China to help build a better society there."

The UK government recently released a set of Home Office documents about Hong Kong and British citzenship and it included those for the preparation as well as summary of this meeting.

Days of 1989

Pictures of 1989: May 24, 1989, Hong Kong Dignitaries Sign Petition Support Beijing Movement

Pictures of 1989

Pictures of 1989: On the Night of May 27, 1989, Camping Tents from Hong Kong Arrive at Tiananmen

Pictures of 1989

Pictures of 1989: On May 29, 1989, Hong Kong Student Delegation Meet Beijing Student Leaders

May 29, 1989, Hong Kong student delegation meet with Beijing student leaders. Lin Yaoqiang at left, Wuer Kaixi in the corner.

May 29, 1989, Hong Kong student delegation meet with Beijing student leaders. Wang Dan is in black shirt.

May 29, 1989, Hong Kong student delegation meet with Beijing student leaders.

May 29, 1989, Hong Kong student delegation meet with Beijing student leaders.

May 29, 1989, Hong Kong student delegation visit Beijing student dorm.

Pictures of 1989

People of 1989: Yu Zhijian (余志坚)

Born in 1963, Yu Zhijian had graduated from a teaching college in Hunan for five years by 1989. He was initially given jobs teaching at local elementary and middle schools. But he soon grew tired of it and resigned in 1988. In his own words, he spent most of this time with his best friends Lu Decheng and Yu Dongyue, enjoying a free lifestyle.

With the breakout of the 1989 student movement, the three started to display banners and make speeches in a couple of cities in Hunan province. By mid May, they decided to go to Beijing and arrived there on May 18.

On May 23, with the movement stalled after two days of martial law, they decided to do something dramatic. In that afternoon, the three came under the Tiananmen and threw egg shells filled with paint onto the giant portrait of Mao Zedong, defacing it.

It happened at the time when most student leaders were off the square at a strategic meeting. The remaining student picket team arrested the three. After a brief discussion, Zhou Yongjun and Guo Haifeng decided to hand them to the government, fearing for lending the government excuse to suppress the movement.

After the massare, Yu Zhijian received a life sentence (Yu Dongyue got 20 years and Lu Decheng 16). After eleven and half years of prison, Yu Zhijian was released early for medical reason. He managed to escape from China into Tailand in 2009 and arrived in US. With a political refugee status, he lived with his family in Indiana. They also have been taking care of Yu Dongyue, who had become mentally incapacitated by the experience.

Yu Zhijaing (right) with his wife and son.

Yu Zhijian died on March 30, 2017, of diebetes. He was 54.

People of 1989: Xu Jiatun (许家屯)

Xu Jiatun was already 73 in 1989. He had been the head of the Xinhua Press Agency in Hong Kong, the de facto ambassador from mainland, for six years. He was an old and high-ranked Communist and had served as the Party head of the Jiangsu province. During his tenure in Hong Kong, he maintained a relatively open and liberal stance, establishing close personal relations with many of the local rich capitalists.

Throughout the 1989 movement, Xu Jiatun had a direct communication channel with Zhao Ziyang, feeding the latter with outside information collected from Hong Kong. According to Xu Jiatun's memoir, Zhao Ziyang called him right after his trip to North Korea, summoning him to Beijing to discuss the situation. Later, Zhao Ziyang delegated Xu Jiatun, through Yang Shangkun, to mediate and communicate with Deng Xiaoping. After Zhao Ziyang's ouster, Xu Jiatun passed a sympathetic message to Zhao Ziyang.

In the latter stage of the movement, with a tacit permission of Xu Jiatun, the left-leaning press in Hong Kong had adopted a stand supporting the movement. Some, including staff of his agency, had even participated in local demonstrations. After the massacre, Xu Jiatun signed off for Wenhui, a local newspaper under his control, to publish a protesting editorial. He was removed from his post shortly after and retired.

In late April, 1990, Xu Jiatun left China abruptly, fearing for further repercussions. He became the highest ranked official in exile. He lived in Los Angeles and published memoirs. Although he frequently expressed the desire to return to China in his later years, he never obtained a permission to do so.

Xu Jiatun died on June 29, 2016, at his home in Los Angles. He was 100.

People of 1989

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Day in 1989: June 25, 1990, Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian Leave US Embassy for Exile

On June 25, 1990, after more than a year of hiding in the US Embassy, Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian finally obtained permission from the Chinese government to leave the country. The boarded a plane provided by the US government and flew to Britain to begin their exile life.

Later, Fang Lizhi wrote about their experiences of taking refuge, daily life, and the negotiation that led to their exile.

This Day in 1989: June 4, 1990, Peking University Students Demonstrate on Anniversary

Around 1am of June 4, 1990, about two thousands students and teachers gathered spontaneously in the campus of Peking University and marched to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre, singing the Internationale. The campus was tense on this sensitive time. Some dorms were locked down to prevent more students from participating. The demonstration was brief and without confrontation.

This Day in 1989: June 3, 1990, Tens of Thousands in Hong Kong Demonstrate on Anniversary

On June 3, 1990, an officially estimated a hundred thousand residents marched, despite pouring rain, in Hong Kong to mark the one-year anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre. The demonstration was organized by the Hong Kong Alliance of Supporting Democracy. Martin Lee and Szeto Wah led the possession, which carried coffins and flower wraths from downtown to the site of Xinhua News Agency.

The organizers themselves estimated the crowd to be 250,000, far exceeding their expectations. It was ten times of the number participating the demonstration on New Year's Day.

On the same day, commemorial activities of various sizes also occured in many big cities around the globe.

People of 1989: Li Honglin (李洪林)

Born in 1925, Li Honglin joined the Communist revolution in its early stage. In the 1950s, he began working at Party Central, focusing on theoretical research. During the 1980s, his name frequently appeared among an active group of famous liberal intellectuals. He published many influential essays, including "There is no Banned Books", "Science and Superstition", "The History of Chinese Thought Movement", etc.

In Feburary, 1989, Li Honglin co-signed the open letter by Beijing intellectuals. After the death of Hu Yaobang, he was part of the commemorator session by intellectuals hosted by the World Economic Herald.

During the 1989 movement, his activities were mostly in accordance of those with other intellectuals. Most significantly, he was part of the "Twelve Scholars" who went to Tiananmen Square to pursuade students stop hunger striking on May 14. Later, he co-signed a statement by intellectuals on May 16.

He was arrested after the massacre. After being detained for almost a year, he was released without charge.

Li Honglin died on June 1, 2016, in Beijing. He was 91.

This Day in 1989: June 2, 1990, Hou Dejian, Zhou Dou, and Gao Xin Detained Again

On June 2, 1990, Hou Dejian, Zhou Dou, and Gao Xin were detained by police ahead of a press conference they had planned for the one-year anniversary of their hunger strike.

They spent three weeks in custody before being released after the June "sensitive period."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

This Day in 1989: June 24, 1989, Government Turmoil Ends with New Leadership

On June 24, 1989, the Chinese Communist Party completed its top-level leadership reshuffle at the conclusion of its 13th Congress, 4th plenary session.

Top officials sacked for sympathizing with the 1989 student movement include Zhao Ziyang, Hu Qili, Rui Xingwen, and Yan Mingfu.

Quite unexpected, however, the new General Secretary is Jiang Zemin, former Shanghai party head. Others who received promotion include Song Ping, Li Ruihuan, and Ding Guanggeng.

Those who stayed put in their positions include Deng Xiaoping, Qiao Shi, Wan Li, and Yao Yilin.

On the same day, Beijing Daily published a lengthy article labeling Liu Xiaobo as the "black hand" behind the movement.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: June 1, 1991, Hu Qili, Yan Mingfu, and Ni Xinwen Rehabitated

On June 1, 1991, Chinese government announced that three high-level officials, previously stripped their positions for their sympathy of 1989 student movement, had been assigned to new official positions.

Former Politburo Standing Committee member Hu Qiqi was now the Vice Minister of Mechanic Industry. Former Minister of United Front Yan Mingfu was now the Vice Minister of Civil Affairs. Former Party Secretary Rui Xingwen was now Deputy Director of the State Planning Commission.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: May 25, 1990, Goddess of Democracy Broadcasting Boat Project Fails

On May 25, 1990, an old boat by the name of "Goddess of Democracy" was auctioned off in Taiwan's Keelong Port, marking the end of a project by oversea democracy movement to broadcast directly to mainland China.

In early March, 1990, The Democratic China Front organization and other oversea supporters launched the project. They spent $400,000 to purchase an explorer boat built in 1963 and refurbished and quipped it with radio broadcasting instruments. On March 17, the boat sailed from France to Asia with a plan to broadcast from off the eastern coast of China.

Since the plan might conflict with international laws, the boat was denied entry in many ports on its way. After arriving at Taiwan in May, it again failed to actually broadcast. Thus, it was finally auctioned. A businessman in Taiwan by the name of Wu Mengwu (吴孟武) bought the ship for $550,000.

Wu Mengwu later moved the boat to Tainan and attempted to remodel it into a Tiananmen Massacre Memorial. The effort also failed. In September, 2003, the boat was ordered to be disassembled by a local court due to overdue port fees.

This Day in 1989: May 24, 1990, US Extends China's "Most Favored Nation" Status

On May 24, 1990, American President Bush announced that, after a long deliberation, he had decided to extend the "Most Favored Nation" trade status.

The Most Favored Nation (MFN), later renamed as Normal Trade Relations (NTR), was the default relation status between US and most of her trading partners. However, as a non-market-economic country, China's status required annual review and approval.

The 1990 review was hugely controversial, coming right at the first anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre. There were strong opposition from both the Congress and grassroots. Bush explained that, without the status, Chinese people, Americans, as well as Hong Kong would face great losses, which was not what he wanted to see. He pointed out that, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan all hoped for the extension of MFN. The US Ambassador to China also reported that students and intellectuals in China, with whom he had contacts, were also in support of the extension.

After 1990, the annual review of China's MFN remained a contention in American politics, until a decade later when President Clinton signed into law to permanently grant the status to China. Soon after that, China successfully joined the World Trade Organization, making the MFN obsolete.

This Day in 1989: May 18, 1990, Jiang Zemin Interviewed by Barbara Walters

On May 18, 1990, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) broadcast an interview of Jiang Zemin by reporter Barbara Walters. This was the first interview of the new General Secretary by a western reporter. It was also the first private interview by a Chinese leader after the Tiananamen Massacre.

The interview was actually conducted on May 2 at the Beijing Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

Jiang Zemin stated in the interview that the military suppression of the 1989 movement was necessary and that the strong reactions by western countries was "much ado about nothing."

Walters showed a picture of the "Tank Man," famous in the west and asked for the whereabouts of the person in picture. Jiang Zemin replied that he didn't know where the person was but he did not believe that he had been killed. This confrontation is available on YouTube.

Jiang Zemin also called on President Bush to extend China's "Most Favored Nation" trade status.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: May 10, 1990, Dai Qing, Zhou Dou, and other Intellectuals Released

On May 10, 1990, Chinese government announced that 211 people arrested for participating in the 1989 movement were released without prison sentences. These include intellectuals such as Dai Qing, Cao Siyuan, Li Honglin, Zhou Dou, Yang Baikui, Li Nanyou.

Dai Qing was interviewed by phone with a Hong Kong TV station. She stated that she had not been mistreated while in jail, but had to endure interrogations and write statements.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: January 5, 1991, Wang Youcai, Ma Shaofang, et al Sentenced

On January 5, 1991, Beijing Intermediate People's Court announced sentences for seven 1989 movement leaders:

  1. Wang Youcai: 4 years
  2. Zhang Ming: 3 years
  3. Ma Shaofang: 3 years
  4. Kong Xianfeng: 3 years
  5. Zheng Xuguang: 2 years
  6. Zhang Qianjing: 2 years
  7. Xue Jianan: 2 years
It was also announced that Li Yuqi and Pan Zhihong were released.

This Day in 1989: January 27, 1991: Wang Dan, Guo Haifeng, et al Sentenced; Liu Xiaobo, Xiong Yan, et al Released

On January 27, 1991, Beijing Intermediate People's Court handed down a series of sentences to 1989 movement leaders:

  1. Ren Wanding: 7 years
  2. Bao Zunxin: 5 years
  3. Wang Dan: 4 years
  4. Guo Haifeng: 4 years
  5. Yao Junling: 2 years
While another group of leaders were released without prison terms:
  1. Liu Xiaobo
  2. Chen Lai
  3. Li Chenghuan
  4. Liu Suli
  5. Lv Jiamin
  6. Xiong Yan
  7. Chen Bo
  8. Wen Jie
  9. Ding Xiaoping

This Day in 1989: March 4, 1991, Three Hong Kong "Yellow Bird" Sentenced

On March 4, 1991, Guangdong Province Intermediate People's Court sentenced Lo Hoi-sing (罗海星) and Lai Pui-shing (黎沛成) to five years and Li Lung-hing (李龙庆) to four years. The three Hong Kong residents were parts of the "Operation Yellow Bird," an organized attempt to rescue 1989 movement leaders from mainland. They were caught during a failed attempt to extract Chen Zimin and Wang Juntao.

This Day in 1989: Early December, 1989, Liu Qing Released

In early December, 1989, Liu Qing, a dissident activist of the Democracy Wall era, was released after serving out his sentence.

Liu Qing was sentenced to 10 years in November, 1979, for publicizing Wei Jingsheng's defense speech on the latter's trial. There was no public announcement of Liu Qing's release. He still faced two years of political probation after the release.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: May 1, 1990, Lhasa Martial Law Lifted

On April 30, 1990, Premier Li Peng announced the end of martial law in the city of Lhasa, capital of Tibet. The martial law was imposed on March 7, 1989, and lasted about 13 months.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: April 25, 1990, World Economic Herald Shut Down

On April 25, 1990, The Shanghai city Communist Party Committee officially shut down the famous journal World Economic Herald.

Exactly a year ago, the journal, on April 25, 1989, had published a multi-page transcript of many famous intellectuals in a meeting commemorating the death of Hu Yaobang. Two days later, the journal was forced to halt its publication and its editor-in-chief Qin Benli was removed from his post.

This Day in 1989: April 12, 1990, NYT Won Pulitzer Prize for Tiananmen Reporting

On April 12, 1990, the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting was awarded to Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn of the New York Times, "for knowledgeable reporting from China on the mass movement for democracy and its subsequent suppression."

They are the first husband-wife pair to be awarded the prize together in history.

The reports by New York Times on the 1989 student movement were among the most speedy and detailed among the western media. However, as historical records, it was actually fairly shallow and missed many important events during the movement.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: April 3, 1990, Chai Ling and Feng Congde Escape to Hong Kong

On April 3, 1990, former student leaders Chai Ling and Feng Congde appeared in public for the first time on a TV station in Hong Kong. The married couple had spent the previous nine months hiding and on the run before reaching safety. Chai Ling spoke briefly on camera, thanking the hope, prayers, and care of their supporters: "no matter if you are in heaven, underground, prison, or overseas, please accept our heart-felt blessings."

Days of 1989

Monday, August 7, 2017

This Day in 1989: March, 1990, Trump Comments on Tiananmen in Playboy Interview

The March, 1990 issue of Playboy published a lengthy interview with the famed real estate tycoon Donald Trump, covering many aspects of his life. Three questions and answers were relevant to the 1989 movement:

What were your other impressions of the Soviet Union?  
I was very unimpressed. Their system is a disaster. What you will see there soon is a revolution; the signs are all there with the demonstrations and picketing. Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That's my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.  
You mean firm hand as in China?  
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak ... as being spit on by the rest of the world--  
Why is Gorbachev not firm enough? 
I predict he will be overthrown, because he has shown extraordinary weakness. Suddenly, for the first time ever, there are coal-miner strikes and brush fires everywhere- which will all ultimately lead to a violent revolution. Yet Gorbachev is getting credit for being a wonderful leader and we should continue giving him credit, because he's destroying the Soviet Union. But his giving an inch is going to end up costing him and all his friends what they most cherish-their jobs.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: February 12, 1991, Wang Juntao, Chen Zimin, and Liu Gang Sentenced

On February 12, 1991, Beijing Intermediate People's Court announced that Wang Juntao and Chen Zimin had each been sentenced to 13 years of prison for their "attempting to overthrow the people's government and socialist system" during the 1989 movement.

Also announced was that Liu Gang received a 6 year sentence while Chen Xiaoping was released without prison terms.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: February 11, 1990, Ten "Republican Guard" Honored

On February 11, 1990, The Central Military Committee Chairman Jiang Zemin issued an order to award ten more soldiers with the honor of "Republican Guard" for their contributions during the Tiananmen massacre.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: February 10, 1990, New Regulations Restricting Study Abroad

On February 10, 1990, the State Education Commission published a set of new regulations aimed at restricting college graduates to study abroad, even with their own funds. It was now required that graduates must have worked 5 years before being allowed to go abroad for study. Those with close oversea relatives were exempt and those with distant oversea relatives were allowed to buy off this restriction by paying a significant fee to the government.

This Day in 1989: January 10, 1990, Beijing Lifts Martial Law; US Lessens Sanction

On January 10, 1990, Premier Li Peng announced in a televised speech that Beijing's martial law would end from the next day. The martial law was imposed on the night of May 19, 1989, also announced by Li Peng in a televised speech.

A few hours later, the American government announced that they would no longer prevent the World Bank from issuing loans to China, an economic sanction imposed after the massacre.

This Day in 1989: January 1, 1990, Thousands in Hong Kong Protest

On January 1, 1990, about ten thousands people in Hong Kong demonstrated at the city center and marched to the site of the Xinhua News Agency there. Their banners included "We Love China, Not Communism," "Romanian Today, China Tomorrow," etc.

The protest was organized by the Hong Kong Alliance to Support Democracy.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: December 25, 1989, Ceausescu Executed

On the Christmas day, December 25, 1989, Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were sentenced to death and immediately executed by rebel soldiers.

During the turmoil of Communist countries that year, Romania had stayed most stable and calm and did not see any protests or riots until December. However, after their armed forces rebelled, it became the country whose Communist government crumbled the fastest. The death of the Ceausescu couple marked the fell of last domino in the East Europe.

This Day in 1989: December 19, 1989, President Bush Lifts Some Sanctions against China

On December 19, 1989, President Bush lifted restrictions on loans by US Import-Export Bank to American companies trading with China. The restriction was part of a sanction measure imposed by the US Congress in November as a response to the Tiananmen Massacre.

Bush also issued a permit for an Australian company to launch three US-made communications satellites using China's rockets. After the massacre, the American government froze any export to China that could be used for military purpose. The satellite launch fell into the category and had been suspended since.

In an official statement, Bush pointed out that the actions would benefit American national interest and be helpful to sustain the commercial cooperation between the US and China.

This Day in 1989: December 16, 1989, Chinese Citizen Hijacks Airliner to Japan

On December 16, 1989, Chinese citizen Zhang Zhenhai (张振海), along with his wife and a ten-year-old son, boarded a commercial airliner in Shanghai to New York City. Shortly after the takeoff, he declared that he was in possession of explosives and ordered the plane to be rerouted to South Korea. After South Korea airport refused its landing, the airliner finally landed at the Fukouka Airport in Japan. Zhang Zhenhai claimed that he was a participant of the 1989 student movement and demanded political asylum.

There was no verifiable evidence that he was ever related to the protest. However, he was previously accused of corruption by a local prosecutor office in China, which did not bring the case to court.

Zhang Zhenhai was later extracted to China as a criminal and sentenced to 8 years.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: December 9, 1989, US Envoys Officially Visit China

On December 9, 1989, US National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Deputy Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger arrived in Beijing. As envoys of President Bush, their mission was to brief Chinese leaders on the recent US-Soviet summit. The visit marked the official end of US government policy of suspending high-level contacts between the two nations after the Tiananmen Massacre.

Even during the official suspension of contacts, Bush had previously dispatched the same two officials to China in secret in July. The Chinese foreign minister and the US Secretary of State also held meetings during the United Nation sessions in September.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: November 30, 1989, President Bush Vetoes Emergency Chinese Protection Act but Implements with Executive Order

On November 30, 1989, President Bush vetoed H. R. 2712 -- Emergency Chinese Immigration Relief Act of 1989, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D). The Act was chiefly aimed at waiving "the two-year home country residence requirement for" Chinese nationals who were in US on exchange visitor (J) visa, as a protection for them not subjecting to possible punishment from Chinese government.

President Bush vetoed the bill not because he disagreed with the proposal but that he believed it was a executive branch decision not to be muddled by the Congress. At the same time of the veto, he issued an executive order to implement the exact same policy.

The Congress attempted to override the veto. It succeeded in the House but failed in the Senate.

Three years later, Pelosi passed a much broader Chinese Student Protection Act, granting permanent residency ("green card") to all, estimated as 50,000, Chinese citizens in the US. That Act was signed into law by President Bush on October 9, 1992.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: November 21, 1989, President Bush Vetoes Act with China Sanction

On November 21, 1989, President Bush vetoed H. R. 1487, Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991. The act contains multiple items aimed to sanction China as a punishment of the Tiananmen Massacre.

The Chinese government had published official statements condemning the Act after its passage in Congress.

At least on the surface, Bush's veto was not related to the sanctions. He cited an amendment in the Act related to the Iran scandal as a congressional overreach upon the executive power.

The Congress was not able to override the veto.

Days of 1989

People of 1989: Yu Haocheng (于浩成)

A well-known legal scholar, Yu Haocheng was a Manchu, one of the many ethnic minorities in China. His father was a student leader during the May Fourth Movement in 1919, who later became a department head in Yenching University, the precursor of Peking University, and participated in the Communist underground. Influenced by his father and elder brother, Yu Haocheng participated in the revolutionary activities led by the Communist Party from a very early age. However, his fortune was not blessed: In 1947, he was labeled as an "anti-Party element" and almost expelled from the Party. Then in 1968, he spent three years in the Qincheng prison as a "counter-revolutionary."

After being rehabilitated in the late 1970s, Yu Haocheng became the head of a small publishing house, as well as the editor-in-chief for the scholastic journal Legal Studies. He became an active figure in the intellectual circle in Beijing. In 1988, he was a part of the effort to launch a magazine New Enlightenment, for which he wrote an essay titled "People should Have the Freedom from Fear."

In February, 1989, Yu Haocheng cosigned an open letter with other intellectuals in Beijing, calling for political system reform. Thereafter and through out the student movement, he maintained a consistent presence in the various demonstrations and meetings among the intellectuals, including as a part of the 12 scholars who went to Tiananmen Square in an attempt to persuade students stop their hunger strike.

After the crackdown, Yu Haocheng was officially expelled from the Communist Party and was jailed for a year and a half. One of his chief offensives was that he had once made suggestions to Liu Gang when the latter was drafting the charter for the new Beijing Students Autonomous Federation.

In his elder years, Yu Haocheng toured several universities in the US and wrote memoirs. In 2008, he was an early signatorie for the "Charter of 2008."

Yu Haocheng passed away in Beijing on November 14, 2015. He was 91.

People of 1989

This Day in 1989: November 9, 1989, Deng Xiaoping Retires, Berlin Wall Collapses

On November 9, 1989, Deng Xiaoping announced that he was resigning from the post of Chairman of Central Military Committee. He would be officially "retired" as this was his last official post. Jiang Zemin succeeded him as the Chairman, with Yang Shangkun being the First Vice Chairman.

On the same day, the East German government finally gave in to the pressure of her own people and abandoned restrictions for their citizens to visit the west world, leading to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

This Day in 1989: November 8, 1989, Former Secretary of State Kissinger Visits China

On November 8, 1989, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrived at Beijing. This is the second high-profile former government officer to visit China as a private citizen, right on the heels of that of Richard Nixon.

Kissinger met with a series of top Chinese officials including Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng.

This Day in 1989: July 2, 1989, Deng Xiaoping Awards Ten "Republican Guard"

On July 2, 1989, Central Military Chairman Deng Xiaoping signed an order to award the honor of "Republican Guard" titles to ten martial law troop soldiers who had died "in the hands of hooligans and rioters" during the massacre.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: June 19, 1989, Han Dongfang Turns Himself In, Liu Gang Arrested

In the morning of June 19, 1989, Han Dongfang, a workers' leader during the movement, turned himself in to the police in Beijing.

In that evening, Liu Gang was arrested in a park at Baoding City. He had been on the run under disguise but his cover was blown by local police on patrol.

Also on that day, the Party Politburo held an extended meeting to discuss policies in the aftermath of massacre.

Days of 1989

Sunday, August 6, 2017

This Day in 1989: October 28, 1989, Former President Nixon Visits China

On October 28, 1989, Former President and "Old Friend of Chinese People" Richard Nixon arrived in Beijing. He came as a private citizen at the time that US-China government contacts had been suspended.

However, Nixon consulted with President Bush before his travel. Bush asked Nixon to fact-find as well as moderate many issues between the two countries, especially that Professor Fang Lizhi's taking refugee in US Embassy.

Nixon met with Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng, and other high-level officials during his stay in Beijing.

Days of 1989

Tiananmen Memorial: Remember Them Monument at Oakland

The Memorial
Near the city center of Oakland, CA, there is a huge group statue by the title of "Remember Them: Champions for Humanity Monument". It "depicts 25 culturally diverse role models who have made significant contributions toward global peace, freedom, and human rights over the past 150 years." The "Tank Man" of Tiananmen is included.

Since the name of "Tank Man" is unknown, his place is named with "Courage". The statue presents a frontal portrait of a typical Chinese student:

Surrounding the status is a circle of quotations from famous people, including this one by Wei Jingsheng:

The above photos were taken on December 16, 2015.

The Henry J Kaiser memorial park at Oakland:

The monument was designed by a local artist Mario Chiodo after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack at New York City. It was completed on May 31, 2013.

Tiananmen Memorials

Tiananmen Memorial: Goddess of Demoracy Statue at San Francisco

The Memorial
A replica of Goddess of Democracy statue stands in the Portsmouth Square Plaza in the San Francisco Chinatown

The following text is sculpted in the pedestal, in both English and Chinese:

 "Goddess of Democracy"
Dedicated to those who strive for and cherish human rights and democracy

The above photos were taken on December 15, 2015.

Portsmouth Square Plaza in San Francisco:

The statue was erected on June 4, 1994, the five-year anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre.

Tiananmen Memorials

Tiananmen Memorial: Victims of Communism Memorial

The Memorial
It is not dedicated to the Tiananmen massacre per se, but at Washington, D.C., there is a "Victims of Communism Memorial," whose statue is a replica of the Goddess of Democracy.

The front side of the statue states:
To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and tho those who love liberty

The back side states:
To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples

The above pictures were taken on October 23, 2015.

At the northwest cross-section of Massachusetts Ave and New Jersey Avenue

According to Wikipedia, the US Congress passed a bill to authorize the memorial in 1993. But it was not built until 2007. President George W. Bush attended the unveiling ceremony on June 12, 2007.

Tiananmen Memorials

Tiananmen Memorial: A Stone Tablet at Boston

The Memorial
A stone tablet near the entrance of the Chinatown of Boston, on which the following text was sculpted in both English and Chinese:

Tiananmen Memorial
This park is dedicated in honor of the democracy movement in China and in memory of those who died in the struggle for freedom in Tiananmen Square in June 1989.
Raymond L Flynn, Mayor
September 10, 1989
City of Boston

The above photos were taken on October 14, 2015.

At a small park near the entrance of Boston Chinatown:

The tablet was erected on September 10, 1989, three months after the massacre.

In March, 2010, Boston Globe reported that there was a community dispute on whether to keep this memorial. A compromise was reached to move the tablet into the current, less prominent location.

Tiananmen Memorials

This Day in 1989: October 5, 1989, Dalai Lama Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

On October 5, 1989, Norway Nobel Prize Committee announced that the Nobel Peace Prize of the year was being awarded to the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), honoring his efforts in advocating "peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect" in the Tibet struggle.

In March, 1989, riots and martial law broke out in Tibet. However, it is generally understood that the award was largely influenced by the 1989 student protest and Tiananmen massacre.

Days of 1989

People of 1989: Jiang Peikun (蒋培坤)

Jiang Peikun, a professor of Chinese literature at People's University, did not participate the movement himself. At the night of massacre, he and his wife Ding Zilin had been anxiously waiting for news of their 17-year-old son Jiang Jielian. They did not receive the dreadful words until noon of June 5th, that their son had been killed at Muxidi.

Ding Zilin, Jiang Jielian, and Jiang Peikun (from left to right) in May, 1989.
In the early 1990s, Jiang Peikun helped Ding Zilin and a group of other parents of those who were killed to found the "Tiananmen Mothers" organization, dedicated to collect, edit, and publish records of victims. They also call on the government to reexamine the event.

In 2008, Jiang Peikun suffered a stroke and was temporarily paralyzed. However, he persisted in completing the production of a documentary titled Road of Tiananmen Mothers.

Jiang Peikun died of heart attack on September 27, 2015. He was 82.

People of 1989

This Day in 1989: September 26, 1989, NYC Names "Tiananmen Square Corner"

On September 26, 1989, New York City Mayor Edward Koch signed a bill from the city council to officially naming the northeast corner of the intersection between West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue as the "Tiananmen Square Corner". The location is the site of the Chinese consulate in the city.

The Chinese consule submitted a letter protesting this "interference of China's internal affairs."

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: September 24, 1989, Federation for Democratic China Founded in Paris

On September 24, 1989, a group of 1989 protest leaders who had successfully escaped abroad announced the founding of a "Federation for Democratic China (FDC)" after three days of meeting in Paris. Yan Jiaqi and Wuer Kaixi were elected as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively. Wan Runnan was named as the General Secretary.

Due to their personal star power, FDC quickly became the most prominent oversea Chinese dissident organization and absorbed large sums of donation. However, the organization faded in merely few years without any real accomplishment.

Days of 1989

This Day of 1989: September 22, 1989, Three Honored as "Republican Guard"

On September 22, 1989 (but only became public by a news report on October 6), three People's Armed Police soldiers, Wang Yuwen (王玉文), Wang Zhiqiang (王志强), and Jiang Chaocheng (姜超成), were awarded with the honor "Republican Guard" for their bravery and leadership in actions during the Tiananmen Massacre.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: September 14, 1989, Hainan Province Head Sacked

On September 14, 1989, Chinese government announced that it had terminated all positions held by Liang Xiang, the head of the Hainan province, for suspicion of serious embezzling and corruption.

Liang Xiang was the main leader of Shen Zhen in the early 1980s. He spearheaded the established of the special economic zone experiment there. In 1988, he then led Hainan into a promotion to become a province.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: September 1, 1989: Li Peng Interviewed by Le Figaro

On September 1, 1989, Premier Li Peng granted an interview by the French newspaper Le Figaro and answered a series of questions by Alain Peyrefitte. He cited the testimony by Hou Dejian to reiterate that there had been no death during the "clearing of Tiananmen Square," and that the "truth about Tiananmen was distorted."

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: September 4, 1989, Culture Minister Sacked

On Sepetember, 4, 1989, the National People's Congress Standing Committee announced that the Culture Minister, Wang Meng, had been relieved of his post. He Jingzhi was named as the Vice and Acting Minister.

Wang Meng was an author famous for his groundbreaking novels in the 1950s that criticized the rigid bereaucracy. He was appointed as Culture Minister in 1986 as a gesture of government's new attitude toward intellectuals. He held a low-profile on the post and had been invisible during the 1989 protest.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: August 17, 1989, Hou Dejian Reappears

Right after the massacre, Hou Dejian had secretly sought refuge in the Australian embassy in Beijing. After two months' negotiations, Hou Dejian finally exited the embassy voluntarily on August 16, 1989, after receiving a guarantee for his safety.

Immediately, Hou Dejian conducted an interview by the New China Press, and a brief report was published in the official press. It emphasized that "No one person was killed or crushed by tanks during the withdraw [from Tiananmen Square]". A week later, Hou Dejian published a much more detailed account in Hong Kong press.

This Day in 1989: July 30, 1989, Chinese Students in US Organize

On July 30, 1989, after 3 days of meeting in Chicago, more than 350 delegates selected by Chinese students all over the US officially announced the formation of a new organization: the Independent Federation of the Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS).

Wuer Kaixi and Yan Jiaqi atttended the meeting as invited guests. This is the first time they appeared publicly in US after their escape from China.

During the entire 1989 student movement, Chinese students in the US had adopted a very supportive stance from abroad. They launched several demonstrations in major US cities to support the movement at home and collected donations that were sent back to Beijing. After the massacre, large-scale demonstrations took place all over the US. Almost all local student unions officially severed any ties with the Chinese embassy.

The new IFCSS was organized in a way similar to US government, with a headquarters, a concil, and a supervisory committee forming three branches of shared power. Dr. Liu Yongchuan (刘永川) from Stanford University was elected as the first President.

IFCSS would become the most active and influential China lobby in the US, laying groundbreaking work for Chinese participating in US politics. Most significantly, they successfully pushed through the 1992 Chinese Student Protection Act, which granted green cards to some 54,000 Chinese nationals in the US.

On the other hand, they were not as successful in lobbying for economic sanctions and the revoke of China's Most Favored Nation status, due to the strong resistance from the Bush administration.

In late 1990s, IFCSS gradually lost her grassroots support and organization power and faded out from public domain. To this day, a skeleton organization still exists with her main activity being leading commemorative at anniversaries of the massacre.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: July 27, 1989, Twelve "Republican Guard" Honored

On July 27, 1989, Deng Xiaoping signed separate military orders to award a total of 12 soldiers, including two posthumously, the honor of "Republican Guard," for their bravery and sacrifice "against hooligans and rioters" during the night of Tianannmen Massacre.

Days of 1989

This Day in 1989: July 18, 1989, Two “Republican Guard" Announced

On July 18, 1989, Chinese government announced that Li Guorui (李国瑞) and Liu Yanpo (刘艳坡) have been posthumously awarded the honor as "Republican Guard." The order stated that the two soldiers were killed by "hooligans" during the night of Tiananmen Massacre.

Days of 1989

People of 1989: Wan Li (万里)

Born in 1916, Wan Li joined the Communist revolution in 1930s. He rose to the level in central leadership during the ensuring civil war and the Communist taking power. During the Cultural Revolution of 1960s, however, Wan Li's political fortune went into a roller-coaster ride, along with that of Deng Xiaoping. He and was sacked twice. In 1977, he came back yet again and became the Party Chief in the inland Anhui province.

It was there when Wan Li gained his most fame by supporting a grassroots reform movement which implemented de-facto privatization of lands in the countryside. The official media soon linked him with the similar reforms by Zhao Ziyang in Sichuan province with a catchy but manufactured phrase "For Want of Rice, Seek Wan Li; For Want of Food, seek Ziyang. (要吃米,找万里;要吃粮,找紫阳)" The propaganda effort not only established the position of reformist pioneers for the two, but also created an impression that they were personally close.

But Wan Li was not necessarily as open minded as perceived. In 1986, when Professor Fang Lizhi was conducting his speaking tour in college campuses advocating democracy, then Vice Premier Wan Li was alarmed enough to follow Fang Lizhi around the country and collect the latter's "improper words." Wan Li eventually challenged Fang Lizhi in a conference for a debate. Fang Lizhi called his bluff and two engaged in an amusing dialog in front of hundreds of party cadres. Wan Li insisted that democracy in China must be provided by the Communist Party. Fang Lizhi countered with his claim that democracy could not be bestowed by any authority.

When the 1989 student protests broke out, Wan Li was already the Chairman of the National People's Congress. He voiced little, if any, of his own opinions. On May 10, he chaired a Congress committee meeting which decided to hold a formal Standing Committee meeting on June 20, whose agenda included discussing the ongoing demonstrations. Two days after that, he left the country for a pre-arranged 21-day state visit to North America. The students launched hunger strike the day after his departure.

After the martial law, NPC Standing Committee member Hu Jiwei hoped to use NPC, which theoretically holds the supreme power in China, as an arbitrator for the split government leadership. They collected signatures among Standing committee members calling for Wan Li's immediate return and emergency meetings to discuss the martial law. When the Capital Joint Conference debated on whether to withdraw from Tiananmen Square, the possibility of this early emergency meeting or the scheduled June 20 meeting became a key factor in timing.

Wan Li did return early on May 23 but he did not reach Beijing, to the dismay of many students who went to Beijing airport attempting to greet him. Instead, his plane landed in Shanghai and he stayed there. After four long days, Wan Li finally broke his silence and published a written statement supporting the martial law. He never appeared in public until after the massacre, when he accompanied Deng Xiaoping to review martial law troop officials on June 9.

After 1989, Wan Li continued to hold the post of NPC Chairman until he retired in 1993. He kept an extremely low profile and essentially disappeared from the public scene.

Wan Li died on July 15, 2015. He was 99.

People of 1989