Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Chinese Perspective: The Tiananmen Incident is still a taboo subject

By China Watcher

Every year around this time, June 4, the world (outside China) seemed to be more interested in the Tiananmen Incident than the Chinese themselves. Why? There are always foreign hands involvements when it concerns China. The Western human rights activists (some of them with a hidden agenda) and the handful of Chinese dissidents continued to highlight the Chinese government brutal use of force as though it is the “killing machine of the last Century”.

There was this article written by a Caucasian human rights supporter which appeared in the Western world and circulated to the many online newspapers in Asia criticizing every aspect of activities of the present Chinese government and what sadden me was he choose to conveniently ignored the many economic and wealth advancement success attained by Chinese societies, at large, under the same Chinese government over the past 20 years.

The Western media had put a spin on the many write-ups of the historical day on Tiananmen Square as a “massacre” in which hundreds and probably thousands had died. Yet to this day, the numbers who died remain unclear and post-event records revealed merely from word-of-mouth by eye-witnesses and information gathered from people who lived around the Square during that time.

I do agree that the present government under the Chinese Communist Party has put in all efforts to wipe out the tainted incident from its historical annals but it has also implemented practical economic measures to bring greater prosperity to the Chinese residents after 1989. The Western world has a different agenda - it would play up the incident every year with the hope to bring down the Chinese Communist Party which is presently governing China. Would it be possible? Not likely.

I would not label “June 4 Tiananmen” as a “Massacre” which was readily accepted without any debate by the Western media (with a hidden human rights agenda) as the numbers were small and there are already new developments and witnesses in which perhaps, a few hundreds could have died more due to the military police actions arising from the many incidences of pillaging and riots which followed the protest outside Tiananmen and not from the tanks that rolled into the Square. Until and unless, there are circumstantial proof that there are thousands which died in the Square, the event will still be remembered as an “Incident”.

What I am baffled is why does a white man need to keep reminding himself of the Incident every year and keep repeating the supposedly atrocity committed by Chinese government during that time? Is he a stakeholder on the matter? The Chinese people are intelligent enough to judge the event and it would come a time in the near future whereby the “taboo’ stigma can be removed for good which would then allow the truth of the incident to surface, not to the Western world, but to the Chinese public.

June 4, 1989 is definitely a historical event in Chinese history and the Chinese government would have to bring out the truth someday at the demands of the Chinese people and not from the pressure from the Western world and its media. The Chinese would have more political rights in the future as I believe the transformation is gradual given the sizeable population and the high percentage of people who have yet to satisfy their security or social needs. Democracy will come to China but it will not be the model promoted by the Western world – it would be a managed democracy.

The few questions posed here is that would China be able to progress economically to its present status if the protest resulted in the fall of the Communist Party? Would the political climate be more stable than it is now? Would the political climate be stable for the business communities to conduct economic activities? But I am very sure that the stand on Tibet (not to allow full autonomy) shall remain regardless of whether China is democratic or autocratic.

The level of corruption and injustice which happened during the time as compared to the present have to a certain extent improved but there is certainly more room for improvement.

On the positive note, the fallout of the Tiananmen Incident has also strengthened the pro-liberal camp of the Communist Party to push forward its capitalist economic policies which was opposed strongly by the conservative camp within the party during that time. The implementation of the pro-liberal economic policy is highly successful and the rest is history.
Compared to the “poor China” in the 70s, I believe that every Chinese resident including the rural peasants have benefited greatly from the China’s open economic policies. There is no guarantee that with an elected government it would have been better with lower level of corruption, accountability and exploitation of workers. Even some of the world past critics and the World Bank has praised China for the elevation of nearly 400 million Chinese from poverty (based on the benchmark of US$1 of expenditure per person per day) since the late 70s.

To better understand China, you will need to learn its 3000 years of rich history under various dynasties and emperors. China has been governed by autocratic emperors in its past and warlords during the Kuomintang and at present, I noticed that China has improved by leaps and bounds under the Collective Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. Though the mandate from heaven no longer exists, the rule from the people is there, theoretically, from the 60 million members of the party. With economic improvements, ordinary Chinese would demand more political right and I am of the opinion that it will indirectly put pressure on the present single party government to bring changes to the political environment. It may take 30, 40 or even 100 years and I am sure every member of the present ruling party is conscious of the inevitable, but by then China would be highly influential and a strong world power. China would not be weak and take orders from Western powers or Japan again.

The Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward and the Tiananmen Incident are three past human related events or failed economic programs which can be placed in the closet at this period of time until the time is ripe for a re-visit. The younger generations of Chinese leaders in the near future may be bold enough to re-look at those events and put it in the proper historical perspective. If it is a lesson well learned from such events, whether it is good or bad, it should be made known to the Chinese public (not the Western people as it is a Chinese issue) and I am sure the Chinese people would readily accept it since there is no such thing as a perfect Chinese world.

I have always held on to my belief that only by facing the truth from history, we can then really put those dark episodes behind probably forever.

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