An Eye-Witness Account Of The Tiananmen Incident 1989

The following are a Chinese language post penned by 老气横秋 who participated and witnessed the Tiananmen Incident 1989 and its English translation. Photos and captions are added by Fish. 

May 18, 1989, Beijing factory workers joined the anti-corruption movement taking place in the Tiananmen Square initiated by university students. The corrupted officials were mainly referring to Deng Pufang, Deng Xiaoping’s eldest son, and Zhao Dajun, the son of Zhao Ziyang, the general secretary of CCP at the time.  

When the Tiananmen Incident occurred in 1989, I was in my last year of study at university. At the time many students mentioned the protest movement at the same breath as the May 4th Movement 1919 and refused to go back to the classroom but devoted to the street protests. Some of them were folks full of revolutionary spirit, others were just followers of the trend or onlookers of the political drama or even the miserable individuals using this opportunity to vent their anti-social urge.

By then a student ID was just like a travel pass: with that, you could board the underground trains, the buses or call taxis – no one would ask you to pay the fare. Ordinary citizens were all willing to help.

A crowded Tiananmen Square during May and early June in 1989

Initially, I was keen to contribute my part in the crusade against the official corruptions in China. In the first two months, I would travel to Tiananmen Square during the day and returned to the campus watching the evening news on television, witnessing the freshly created history unfolding. But gradually I began to question the objectives of and the methods adopted by the movement, and suspect where the “student leaders” really intended to lead us towards. I was rather confused and got sick and tired of the whole thing, and became more an onlooker than a participant. However, I still had great sympathy for the students taking hunger strike on the square, but seriously doubt whether it was worth for them to ruin their health.

The extent of the crowd on the Tiananmen Square during May 1989

On the evening of June 3, while the radio and tv news kept urging people to stay away from the square, some students in the campuses tried to organise larger crowds to block the military convoy and join the protesters in the square. When I heard the troops marched towards the CBD from Pingguoyuan (苹果园) and Bajiaocun (八角村) in the west, I decided to go to take a look with few friends. On the way, we noticed damaged military vehicles, as well as civilian cars. Some of the protesters behaved like thugs who would smash any vehicles on the road. I saw the front window of a car was broken and the driver jumped out to shout angrily at the protesters: “Hi, this is my own car, not the military vehicle, can’t you see it?”

The military vehicles passing the overhead bridge in Xidan in early June 1989

We eventually didn’t go to the square but returned to the campus. Everyone knew what was going to happen on the square that night. To my understanding, those who still headed for the premises on that particular day were three kinds of people: the extremists, the guys who harboured a genuine hatred towards the community in general and their school in particular, or the folks who suffered from severe brain damage.

When we woke up next morning on June 4th, we heard the news saying military force occupied and “blood-washed” Tiananmen Square. We hurriedly counted the fellows in our class and found one person missing. Just when we thought this guy must have tragically given his life to his faith and felt terribly sad about that, this jerk returned in one piece – he paid a visit to a friend and spent a night there.

There were two or three students uncounted for at our university. I don’t know what exactly happened to them. However, during the entire so-called Tiananmen Incident, I did not see one dead body, nor did I hear anyone I personally knew died in the event.

The university was closed afterwards and we went home for a holiday. About three weeks later, everybody returned to the campus, and life resumed again.

我亲身经历的89年六.四

作者:老气横秋 (2009)

89年我是大学最后一个学期,突然爆发了这个学生运动,当时很多同学都把它和“五四运动”相提并论。 各大学校都罢课了。很多学生或满腔热情,或盲目随从,或看热闹的,或发泄各种不满的,就都“投身到这次伟大的运动”中去了。

那时候,学生证就是一切通行证,坐地铁不要钱,坐公车不要钱,随便路边截辆车,司机都会客客气气把你送到目的地。很多市民碰到学生,都很热情地提供各种帮助。

开始时我也是觉得应该为“反官倒”“反腐败”这一历史运动做出点微薄的贡献,热血沸腾地参加游行、示威、声援等活动。那一、两个月基本上每天白天去天安门广场声援静坐绝食的同学,晚上回学校看电视里的新闻报道,看刚刚创造的历史。后来,我对运动的目的,手段等都产生了怀疑。不知道所谓“学生领袖们”到底要个什么结果,要把这次运动引向何方,因此慢慢困惑了,厌倦了,看热闹的成分也就占主导了。心里也很同情那些绝食的同学们,怀疑他们毁了自己的身体是不是值得。

6月3日晚上,情况就如很多人所说的一样,一方面广播电视里不停警告市民学生不要去广场,一方面部分学生在校园里摇旗呐喊拉队伍去广场声援,去堵军车。当时说是部队从北京西边苹果园、八角村一带开进城的。我和几个同学赶到八角村看热闹时,确实看到有些被毁坏了的军车。有些人确实和暴徒无疑,见车就砸,我身边一辆民用轿车也未能幸免,“砰”的一声前窗玻璃被谁给砸碎了。只听到车主从车里出来埋怨道:“我这是自己的车啦,不是军车啊!”

后来我们就回学校了,没再去广场。其实大家都知道晚上会发生冲突。就我所知,这时候真正敢冒死去广场的,要么是极端偏激者,要么是对社会、对学校不满者,要么就只能是白痴了。

6.4早上起来就得知广场已经被戒严部队“血洗了”,占领了。我们班赶紧清点人数,发现少了一位同学。有人说他昨晚去广场了。身边的同学突然没了,大家都很伤心,觉得肯定是在广场“牺牲了”。结果那位失踪的同学下午回来了,原来昨晚他住在其他学校朋友处了。

整个学校清除人数时,发现有两三个学生去向不明。不知最后究竟如何。总之,我没看到死人,身边所知道的同学朋友也都安然无恙。

后来,学校关门了,大家都回老家了。再过了20天左右吧,接到学校的通知,学校重新开门了。于是大家又都从全国各地赶回了学校。

4 comments

  • Paul Lutfy

    Trump want to build the 3rd temple in Jerusalem. If he is re-elected I have no doubt he will. The end of the world is said to follow the construction of a third Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which according to some, will be a prophetic sign of the biblical apocalypse.

    • The danger is this mad man has a finger on the nuke button.

      For religious extremists like Trump, anything is possible, including destroying the entire humanity for their alien god’s kingdom on earth.

  • Paul Lutfy

    Most likely it is just a bad translation “thought this guy must have tragically given his life to his faith and felt terribly sad about that, this jerk returned in one piece” but this statement in giving mixed messages. Agree with a lot of his sentiments though. Seeing the same thing here with so many undermining true justice for George Floyd with their acts of violence.

    • Hahaaa, I see your point, Paul.

      Talking about faith, I’ve just read Donut Trumpet’s tweets – he regards himself as the “king of Israel”, the “king of God” and the “second coming”. No wonder he would order police to violently attack Aussie news crew and disperse the peaceful demonstrators half an hour before the curfew took place, all because the king of God was coming to the church.

      He must have some serious mental problems.

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