China’s communist leaders premeditatedly prepared to “spill some blood” ahead of the June 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators. On the 21st anniversary of the events, security services today harassed grieving parents of victims, driving several mourners out of a cemetery.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents today held a candlelight vigil to commemorate the crackdown. In an unusually strong turnout, citizens waved signs that read “Never Forget June Fourth, Give Us Democracy.”
Even the founder of Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing party was moved to condemn the massacre.
“The measures for martial law must be steady-handed, and we must minimize harm, but we must prepare to spill some blood,” China’s then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping told officials on May 19 1989.
The revelations are contained in leaked extracts of the previously suppressed diary of hardliner Li Peng, usually credited as the architect of the crackdown.
On 3-4 June 1989, hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters were killed when the communist authorities sent in troops to crush the pro-democracy demonstration.
The memoirs reveal the ruthlessness of Deng and detail his Communist Party successors’ conviction that their actions were vindicated by the subsequent years of economic growth.
“If that political disturbance was not handled decisively and correctly, the stability and prosperity of today would be impossible,” China’s current President Hu Jintao said in 2001, Li’s memoirs reveal.
Li believed his book would help the communist elite to pre-empt future threats to their rule.
“If there are any sprouts that may lead to turmoil, we must adopt decisive measures based on the law to crush them in the bud,” he wrote.
Tsang Yok-sing, usually one of the Chinese communist party’s fiercest defenders in Hong Kong, became emotional as he recalled the events 21 years ago.
“Everyone was shocked. If anything, being pro-Beijing we thought we understood the [Chinese] government so well,” he told the Financial Times. “We never believed a government we so trusted would turn its troops against the people.”
Check out this report from BBC correspondent Damian Grammaticas who managed to get access to the square today.