Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article: A1390-W995



Release Date: June 2, 2021



Topic: 1989 Democracy Movement Was the Turning Point of China's Modernization -- Wei Jingsheng 

标题:八九六四是中国现代化的转折点 -- 魏京生


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



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1989 Democracy Movement Was the Turning Point of China's Modernization 

-- Wei Jingsheng    



From April to June 1989, large-scale mass protests took place in Beijing and spread to major cities across the country.  A rough estimate reached the scale of several million people per day.  Beijing alone had more than one million people every day.  The protesting masses were in good order and there was no beating, smashing, and looting.  In the absence of police, there were no major traffic accidents.  This demonstrates the good qualities of the Chinese people, and also demonstrates the determination of all the Chinese to fight corruption and move toward democracy. 


There were also a large number of officials within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who sympathized with the demands of the students and the masses, and also opposed the suppression of mass movements.  At the highest level, there were Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang and a group of senior generals.  At the most basic level, there were most of the ordinary CCP members and cadres.  My rough statistics from the TV news indicated that, except the CCP Central Committee, almost all the CCP organs participated in the marches with their banners.  It can be said that the hearts of the CCP members and the Chinese people were on the side of the students who instigated the movement.  Even the so-called Red Second Generation, which were often criticized by the Hong Kong and Taiwan media, were in the vanguard of supporting the student movement. 


A friend told me a joke afterwards.  In the Poly Building where many CCP cadres and children gathered, there was a flatterer who saw the CCP suppression in 1989 as an opportunity and shouted in the corridor: It is good to suppress!  Several angry people covered his head with clothes and said they would throw him out the window of the high rise building.  He was so scared that he cried and said: I was just joking.  Please don't take it seriously. 


There is another joke that is more expressive.  There are several buildings outside Fuxing Gate in Beijing for high level CCP officials.  Among these people there was an old Marxist-Leninist lady, who held her grandson at the window, and shouting loudly at the army that was shooting to suppress the people: Good shots, good shots!  As a result, the soldiers, who could not hear what she was chanting but thought they were reactionary slogans, shot the child leaving him in disability for life.  After that, all the veteran cadres in that building, including the doorman, would seriously say when they met her: Good shots, good shots. 


Do you think these tales are just jokes?  But they are true stories.  They show that the vast majority of people at that time, regardless of their status, stood on the side of the students and the masses who supported them.  The few people who were abnormal become a joke to the masses.  Some people may argue that these stories are what I learned from others and they don't count.  Do you need evidence and witnesses?  Then I will talk about what I encountered directly. 


At that time, the TV in the prison where I was only broadcast the news summaries.  After the news summaries, there were scenes of the execution of rebel prisoners in order to deter all prisoners.  But during the June 4th period, everyone was concerned about the situation on the Tiananmen Square.  A few young policemen, holding sacks and wooden sticks, went to threaten the guy in charge of the broadcasting machine for the TV: Are you going to turn off the broadcast again today?  The guy was so frightened that he said: That was a rule set up by the prison head and it was none of my business.  Now I locked the door to the machine and threw the key on the roof.  So these people let him go.  Thus, we were able to watch the CCTV broadcasting all day long, until July 1989.  


An older prison guard was watching the TV with me all day.  He saw and heard the loudspeaker in Tiananmen Square announcing loudly: Do not worry, the people's army will not shoot at the people.  The old prison guard stomped the prison ground with me and said: To trust it is too stupid.  The CCP will definitely shoot at the people.  How come no one tells this group of silly students who have not grown up?  The premise of his saying was that the students' demands for anti-corruption and democracy were reasonable and legal, but according to the laws of the Chinese Communist Party, it will surely shoot and suppress them.  This story illustrates that even these old CCP members who were chosen to guard me, a counter-revolutionary, were on the side of students and citizens in their hearts. 


The reason why the influence of the 1989 democracy movement was so widespread and had won the approval of the vast majority of the people is because the perverse actions of the two terms of Chinese Communists leaders from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping had been opposed by the people of the whole country.  Even most members within the Chinese Communist Party also agreed with the demands for democracy and anti-corruption.  This movement was a turning point in where Chinese society was headed.  It was an important juncture to choose democracy by the people or to continue with the autocratic dictatorship. 


The Deng Xiaoping clique suppressed the 1989 movement through brutal massacres, which lead to the dictatorship that continued for several more decades.  Now the Chinese people have become more and more intolerant of the political system of a dictatorship.  A new choice is coming.  The 1989 democratic movement has laid a solid foundation of popular support and public opinion for the new choice. 



(This English version is translated by Ciping HUANG, without any compensation.  Wei Jingsheng and the Wei Jingsheng Foundation appreciate her decades of contribution, especially for allowing the use and distribution of her translations of these commentaries.)


Original link of the commentary broadcasted by Radio Free Asia:



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



(Written on May 31 and recorded on June 2, 2021.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia on June 2, 2021.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article: A1390-W995



Release Date: June 2, 2021



Topic: 1989 Democracy Movement Was the Turning Point of China's Modernization -- Wei Jingsheng 

标题:八九六四是中国现代化的转折点 -- 魏京生


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









-- 魏京生





































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