Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A611-W375

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A611-W375


Release Date: February 4, 2011



Topic: If Millions of Chinese Took to the Streets, Would the Chinese Army Still Open Fire? (Voice of America Interview of Wei Jingsheng)



Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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If Millions of Chinese Took to the Streets, Would the Chinese Army Still Open Fire?

-- by Voice of America reporter: Yan Qing, in Washington, DC



During the large-scale protests in Egypt, the Egyptian army's response has received world attention.  An associated key issue for the Chinese people both inside and outside China is: if the protests happening now in Cairo were happening in Beijing, or if the 1989 protests in China happen again today, what actions would the Chinese army take?


* People Recall the Year of 1989 *


When he was interviewed by Voice of America, Professor Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, chair of Department of Political Science at the University of Richmond, said: "Seeing the situation in Cairo in the last a few days, it is hard for people not to recall what happened in China almost 21 years ago.  The pictures were so similar.  That was the 1989 Tiananmen Movement."


In June 1989, the Chinese troops opened fire at the demonstrating protesters.  This action has been written into history.  So far, the Egyptian army has displayed understanding, peace, and even a supportive attitude toward the large numbers of protesters.  The whole world is paying great attention to and is highly appreciative of their role.  So, people cannot help but think that if what happened in Egypt was taking place in China today, would there be bloodshed again?  Would the Chinese army still stand on the government side?  What kind of figures and actions would the "People's Liberation Army" be written into history again?


* Under the generous rewards, one must be faithful? *


Professor Vincent Wei-cheng Wang said: " If what is happening in Egypt today occurred in Mainland China, it is hard to imagine that there would be military defections to support the people and to overthrow the leaders.  But it is hard to say."


Wang said that one of the reasons is that after 1989, the Chinese Communist leaders realized that it was the military that saved the regime, so they gave the military special attention.  Both politically and economically, they gave the military a lot of benefits.  He said: "The Chinese Communist Party gave more and more resources to the military.  In addition, the past few leaders such as Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin have promoted a lot of PLA generals during their terms.  Their purpose was very clear: to keep the regime stable, they need the support of the armed forces."


* WEI Jingsheng: Soldiers Are Ordinary People Too; the Tragedy Will Not Be Repeated *


Wei Jingsheng, who has been paying attention to China's democratic process, was imprisoned in China for many years, and now is forced into exile, does not think so.  He said: "I think the current situation is totally different than 20 years ago.  Chinese soldiers, their field of view, including their judgments on ongoing affairs, are not the same.  In fact even 20 years ago Deng Xiaoping forced the army to open fire reluctantly.  Now, I think that what happened 20 years ago will not be repeated."


When he was interviewed by VOA, Wei Jingsheng said that a series of changes occurring in China in the past 20 years made him more optimistic about this issue.


He said: "I do not think the Chinese soldiers are some bastards;  I think they also have conscience, just like ordinary people.  Back 20 years ago in 1989, it was only because many reasons gathered together to make them play a role in suppressing the people.  But today, I think they would not make the same mistake. "


Wei Jingsheng analysis that the Chinese people, including military personnel, are longing for a democratic society more than 20 years ago.  Just as the Egyptian people, Chinese are yearning for a country with justice and freedom.


Wei Jingsheng said: "I think they (the Chinese soldiers) may have a different view about China's future than they did 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago, most of them still believed that the Chinese Communist Party would be able to lead China to a better future.  However, the reality of the past 20 years tells everyone that the real situation is not so; the Communist Party has made it even worse.  The gap between rich and poor is greater; the ordinary people are living in more hardship; social injustice has become widespread; and the regime is unreasonable, openly unreasonable.  All these actions have an impact on the military because the military personnel themselves are common people; especially the soldiers are ordinary common people with families experiencing hardship."


Wei said that his optimism is not only from changes in the quality of military personnel, but also due to the fact that nowadays the military personnel are able to get a lot of information from outside.


* Lohman: The Army's Party Color is Stronger *


During his interview with the VOA, Walter Lohman, Director of The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, said: over the years, the Chinese army's degree of "listening to the Party" has increased.  This could be seen from the army's crackdown in Tibet and Xinjiang, or its role in what are described by the Chinese officials as "riots".


* Wei Jingsheng: Soldiers' Minds Follow the People's Minds, An Order of Suppression Will be Hard to Carry Out" *


However, Wei Jingsheng has a different view.  He said: "I do not think so.  In Tibet and Xinjiang at least there was an ethnic issue for the Communist Party to use as a pretext to convince the military.  But if you imagine now a 1989-type uprising, I think the party will have difficulty finding an excuse for the army to accept to suppress demonstrators in the streets.  If the same thing happened in China as in Egypt, then the Chinese army will be just like the Egyptian army, refusing to slaughter their own people. "


Wei Jingsheng said that the mind change of the Chinese military is happening at all levels.  Further, "even if higher officers gave the order, I think the middle and lower level officers would refuse to carry it out.  This situation has happened in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe."


Wei Jingsheng is 60 years old now.  Starting in 1969, he spent three and a half years in the army.  He said, "I was first in Guangxi and Hunan, and later in Shanxi.  The troop I was in is still in Shanxi now."


So how do Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders view the Chinese soldiers' morale?  Wei Jingsheng said: "I do not think that needs my comment.  Hu knows very clearly in his heart.  As a matter of fact, he knows it more clearly than I do.  I think that is why they do not dare to spend that much force to suppress the people on large-scales."


On Wednesday, Feb. 2, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen spoke with Egyptian armed forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Enan, and highly praised the positive function the Egyptian army is playing in the direction of a peaceful transition of the country towards democracy.



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A611-W375

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A611-W375


Release Date: February 4, 2011



Topic: If Millions of Chinese Took to the Streets, Would the Chinese Army Still Open Fire? (Voice of America Interview of Wei Jingsheng)



Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 美国之音记者燕青报道







美国理士满大学(University of Richmond)政治学系的主任教授王维正(Vincent Wei-cheng Wang)在接受美国之音采访的时候说:“这几天开罗街上的情形,很难不让人回想到在中国,差不多21年前,类似的画面,那就是1989年天安门的运动。”




*重赏之下 必有忠心?*






*魏京生:军人也是百姓 悲剧不会重演*
















美国传统基金会(Heritage Foundation)亚洲研究中心的负责人沃尔特.罗曼(Walter Lohman)在接受美国之音采访的时候说,中国军队过去这些年里,“听党的话”的程度,似乎比过去有过之而无不及。这一点,他说,从军队在西藏和新疆地区的镇压、或者是中国官方所说的“暴乱”当中所扮演的角色,就可以看出来。


*魏京生:军心会随民心 镇压之令难行*





















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