Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A1018-W664



Release Date: June 11, 2017



Topic: Stories About the "June 4th" -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:关于“六四”的故事 -- 魏京生


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



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Stories About the "June 4th"

-- Wei Jingsheng



Many young people do not understand what is called "June 4th".  A lot of middle-aged people know about it, but do not have a clear understanding of what was going on.  With the pressure of the authorities, most people do not dare to talk about the "June 4 massacre", thus it is not easy to explain it clearly.  Now I want to explain it for everyone, and tell some stories by the way.  It is said that modern people do not like to listen to reason, instead just like to listen to the stories.  The best stories are the ones one could see on screen, even if it is faked -- life is an entertainment after all.  But I do not have this ability, I am unable to make videos, but I can only tell the truth.  As one of my elders said: "We the people of Shandong do not tell lies".


In the academic language, the full name of "June 4" is: A tragedy that happened on June 4, 1989, when Deng Xiaoping used the army to slaughter the Chinese people.  A more popular term overseas is: "the June 4 democratic movement" or "the June 4 massacre"; while the non-Chinese habitual term is:  "Tiananmen Square democracy movement" or "Tiananmen Square massacre".  Of course, the actual events were not limited to Beijing's Tiananmen Square, but happened nationwide in China, including Tibet and Xinjiang.


The terms by the Communist regime are more ugly.  It began with being called "counter- revolutionary riots"; later even the Communist regime felt wrong and changed it into "the turmoil" and "the June 4 incident".  Then they thought it still did not sound good, so it was changed to "the June 4 storm".  Finally, they simply called it "the storm" and so on; the state of guilt does show well in this game of name changing.


These years, I have often run into old and new comers from China who told me: We know who you are -- you are the leader during the Tiananmen Square democracy movement.  That made me need to explain to them thousands of times: in fact, at that time I was still in prison, not in Tiananmen Square.  But then when I think about it, I realize that I really was related in a relevant way - not only was it initiated due to me, even my sister was disqualified from her overseas study and was prohibited from leaving China because the police had the reason that she was a relative of a person who was related to "the turmoil".


Although she explained that her brother was still in jail without taking part of that turmoil, that did not work.  It cannot be negotiated to change this category if they claim you are a relative of a person associated with turmoil.  Uh hum, this is like the rule that was described in a TV series: when we said you are, then you are even if you are not; when we said that you are not, then you are not even if you are.  This TV series is called "The Humpback Prime Minister Liu", which was very popular in 1990's after June 4, 1989.  Now I cannot find it on the Internet.  There is also a line in the TV series which was able to impress the hearts of people in those times, called "everyone has a scale in their hearts."


I was the person who received the longest sentence due to the Democratic Wall Movement in 1979 and was taken as a representative figure.  In 1989, I had spent exactly 10 years in jail, with 5 more years remaining.  The folk language called the time in jail "squatting in jail" because the prisoners must squat when the guards were speaking.  But I did not squat, because I did not admit that I was a criminal and I do not admit that I was wrong.  Thus I did not squat; it was out of discussion, unless they forced me physically.  That is something we do not have to talk more here.


When I was in the Qinghai prison, because the instruction from Mr. Hu Yaobang I was able to buy a sheep every autumn to improve my diet.  During the winter, there is no place to buy meat because the sheep that would be slaughtered were already slaughtered in the autumn.  In September of 1988 as the autumn arrived both Kuai Dafu and Han Aijing (both were political prisoners related to Cultural Revolution) were released, and I was left alone in that small prison.  So I was also the only person who needed to buy a sheep.


But the young police quietly told me: Old Wei, you do not have to buy sheep this year, you could go home on October 1st.  I said this is nonsense because Deng Xiaoping is still alive.  He said that the bosses above asked for you to get prepared -- ready to leave at any time.  After October 1st, I asked him: what is going on?  October 1st had past.  He said: let us wait, and you will go home on New Year Day.  As the new year arrived, I asked again.  Now he was not so confident anymore: perhaps it would be the Spring Festival; anyway the bosses said to prepare for your departure, although we do not know when.  I would not ask him anymore.


It did not take long before I discovered that the political atmosphere was not quite normal in Beijing.  Then Hu Yaobang died, and students in Beijing began to take to the streets.  Then it was millions of people taking to the streets every day to support these students.  Then there was the occupation of Tiananmen Square.  Then there was a hunger strike and sit-in protest.  Then the army moved into the city until the slaughter by guns shown on the television.


Later, I saw that Liu Xiaobo appeared on television and said that he did not see anyone get killed.  I felt that there are too many cowards within the Chinese.  Later I met with Liu Xiaobo and he directly explained to me: "I was not brave as you are, I was really afraid."  So in my heart I forgave him, after all it was due psychological reasons that he was afraid.  We can only blame the Communist Party for being so cruel.  In fact, cowards are also the majority among the non-Chinese, even though they appear to be tough guys in front of the camera lens only because their government is not cruel.


In 1993, in an effort to bid for the rights to host the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, I was released half a year ahead of my sentence.  By then, I learned that it was because of the open letters of Professor Fang Lizhi, Professor Xu Liangying and many elites in the cultural and technological circles calling for my release that made Deng Xiaoping unhappy, thus postponing and eventually canceling the earlier release order.


The information from the very insider and direct sources also told me: Deng Xiaoping really wanted to release me in advance, because he did not want to see the whole world scold at him every day for my time spent in jail.  Only because those open letters made him angry he hesitatedly changed his mind.  His character is sort of like a rebel: when you pulled him he would retreat; when you pushed him he would turn around, unless you are a bigger official than him, such as the "wise leaders" Mao Zedong and Hua Guofeng.


Thus those open letters played the opposite effect, and caused the second heated debate about me within the Communist leadership.  The first time was in 1979, when they had some furious argument regarding if I should be tried and if the Democray Wall should be closed, which resulted in that finally I was not sentenced to death - thus not only was my life spared but it also made a case for a political prisoner to be spared of death sentence for the first time.  This second controversy led directly to the death of Hu Yaobang and the division within the Communist Party, followed by a large-scale democratic movement.  So we can say that I was used twice on a large scale; but I like to be used this way.  At least that shows that I am useful, instead of being an unexamined waste.


As I was in the Qinghai prison, watching the TV when the students kneeled in front of the Great Hall of the People, I heard an older police officer sigh: Old Wei, if you were there it would be just fine; these students are too young to oppose that gang of old men.  At that time I did not think I had a way to change the situation, but was only in the design of many possibilities.  Now after 28 years, there are a lot of people reviewing history and summing up lessons.  I will talk about the lessons I think of next time.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written and recorded on May 30, 2017.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A1018-W664



Release Date: June 11, 2017



Topic: Stories About the "June 4th" -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:关于“六四”的故事 -- 魏京生


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









-- 魏京生









































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