Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict: the Basic Documents

By Michel Oksenberg; Lawrence R. Sullivan et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Premonitions of Violence

This section begins with the government's reaction to yet another student "insult" to the Communist state: the erection of the "Goddess of Democracy" statue in Tiananmen. Crafted at the Central Arts Academy, this newly proclaimed symbol of democracy in China was to be the students' last defiant act before vacating the square. According to the June 1 People's Daily article (Doc. 54), however, their action was actually a "serious disruption of democracy and freedom." As in the CPC's response to the Democracy Wall movement of the late 1970s, the Communist leadership now decided to turn the students' advocacy of democracy against them. Two days later, the same paper published a long accusatory article against the students (Doc. 55), partially comprised of Li Ximing's May 19 briefing (Doc. 45 above). Although this People's Daily article contains no attribution, Beijing citizens could now read Li's views on the nefarious "plots" of the "very few" who indicated their incredible deviousness by actually chanting progovernment slogans such as "support the CPC."1 In this sense, China's hard-line leaders once again resorted to Cultural Revolution--style rhetoric by accusing the students of a contemporary version of "waving the Red Flag, to oppose the Red Flag" (that is, Red Guard factions who had purportedly quoted Mao to actually attack him).

The June 3 article also reinforced the image of a crisis out of control by claiming that crime in Beijing was now rampant, though the examples given here--for instance, the theft from a milk truck--are not very persuasive.2 The city was purportedly in "chaos," with "pandemonium" threatening the entire

The published selections of Li Ximing's speech contain some interesting additions and deletions. Additions include his claim that Beijing University posters had attacked Mao Zedong, while the most interesting deletion is Li's accusation that the Bush administration had interfered in the demonstrations.

The article also contradicts sympathetic Chinese and foreign observations that life in Beijing had actually become more civil during the movement, with even petty thieves


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict: the Basic Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 406

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?