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Tiananmen Voice will remain

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Over the last two decades, China has materially developed far beyond her expectations. The national growth rate meritoriously pounded on a high note of 10 percent or more. It is primarily due to the economic liberalization formula, which Premier Deng had adopted, but which Zhou later claimed was his idea.

In 1989, when the world communist paternity was shaken to their core with the Soviet Union's collapse and the reunification of Germany; all eyes were also on China.  During that time, China had major socio-economic problems, lingering widespread anarchy, corruption, and unemployment.  Communist China, in order to survive, decided to phase out their socialist ideology by implementing capitalist entrepreneurship.  China adopted her own model of Socialism.

This year, during the anniversary of Mao's death at his hometown, I was fascinated to learn that many people are buying his Red Book.  Although the Red Book was once considered a bible of Communist China, the Great helmsman, Mao, had many legacies, some good - like the reunification of all nationalities into the motherland, social systems like communes, and medicare in the service of the common people.  But, his economic policies of modernization failed dramatically as they pushed the nation's economy into drastic decline.  Despite the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and Mao's human rights record, China still salutes his giant portrait in front of Tiananmen Square, Beijing untill today.

After Mao's death, the transitory government failed to solve the social problems.  This led to the rise of Deng Xiaoping, who had earlier been accused of being rightist.  Deng Xiaoping opened the market to the outside world, which caused the Chinese economy to skyrocket.  But, severity of socioeconomic disparity resulted from his economic policies, unlike the generally poor but egalitarian results of Mao's policies.  Anarchy seemed unavoidable.  Economic prosperity resulted in increases in corruption, including the flourishing of back channels and nepotism.  The general population was drowned in the deep economic whirlpool of economic clashes while the minority enjoys the benefits of liberalization.

Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang were amongst the prominent reformists who challenged the system to make it people friendly. Democratization of government and the rule of law were their main agendas. Traditionally, Chinese people are loyalist, but the communist system adapted in 1989 was beyond their abilitiy to accept.

Initially in 1989, students gathered at Tiananmen Square to mark their respect for their beloved leader, Hu Yaobang.  But, as more and more students gathered, along with the trade unions and the common people, grievances on issues facing the country such as freedom, employment, and democracy were raised.  The people's movement carried on for three months.  This included mass campouts in front of the Government building in Tiananmen Square, chanting slogans and revolutionary songs, and negotiating with  government officials.  All the students had was a unified voice of truth, justice and freedom, against armed soldiers, tanks and machine guns. One of girls among the demonstrators told BBC radio that they were ready to die for their freedom, and eventually, they did sacrifice their life for freedom.

Party elders, Deng, Li Peng, and other hardliners felt the threatened due to their positions.  With the government's act of cowardice, thousands of unarmed people were savagely killed, and Beijing was flooded with blood and tears. They were real martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of future China. 

So much has changed in China since that incident.  Yet, the Chinese communist regime is still attempting to wipe the June 4 people's movement from China's recent history.  With Internet censorship, media manipulations, Government controlled schools and college textbooks, it is hard for the China's younger generation to know about the facts of 1989 incident.  Will the regime be able to close this chapter forever?

Twenty long years have passed, the blood in Tiananmen Square has been cleaned away, but the memories of June 4 remain deep in the heart of the people.  I have seen videos of many people who hesitated to talk about that incident, fearful the government will harass them.  But, there are also many people who have openly talked about it, despite government pressure.  The Chinese government must realize that those thousand souls were the sons and daughters of China.  International communities criticized China and even sanctioned her, but China did not yield; she does not even care about the status of those student leaders who are still languishing in prison.

With the rise of political power, China has utterly shut her ears to other states, but China dare not challenge its own people.  Even though the Chinese people are still loyalist and nationalist, that does not necessarily mean that they are loyal to the CCP.  After 1989, China was able to use its economic prosperity to suppress the people's ability to engage in political discussions; this policy has succeeded so far.  But for the last few years, public grievances have been piling up, and their petitioners are increasingly vocalizing their problems.  It is the testing time for the Chinese leadership, to determine whether their policy will sustain China.  If the peoples' grievances are not  considered, China will ultimately plunge into a sorrowful state.  Without addressing the peoles' grievances, China will not be sustainable.  It is understandable that China continues to develop; it is due to those brave young Chinese brothers and sisters who raised their voices in unison in Tiananmen Square twenty years ago.  Despite government censorship and propaganda, the collective Tiananmen Voice will remain in the hearts and minds of all Chinese people, and will eventually affect even those Chinese leaders who mercilessly killed some of them.

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A Tibetan born and raised in India. Graduated in International Relations. Currently working as the Deputy Director of Tibet Policy Institute.

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