Hayward: Chinese State Media Compares Tiananmen Square to January 6

A girl holds up a candle and a cellphone as she walks near the Victoria Park after police closed the venue where Hong Kong people traditionally gather annually to mourn the victims of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, in the Causeway Bay district on June 4, 2021 in Hong …
Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Chinese state media used the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre Friday as an opportunity to whitewash the Chinese Communist Party (CCP or CPC) atrocity by comparing it to the four hours of unrest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Hu Xijin, editor of China’s state-run Global Times newspaper, pretended to have trouble seeing the difference between the U.S. Capitol Police response to January 6 and the CCP’s use of military hardware, including armored vehicles, to brutally massacre thousands of innocent people on June 4, 1989:

The Global Times flooded its pages with editorials seeking to alternately deny and justify the Tiananmen massacre on Friday, including an editorial running into thousands of words that essentially claimed the Tiananmen killings were justified because China is rich now.

The editorial argued the CCP was emerging from a “dark period in the late 1980s” with a period of exciting economic reforms, and facing a terrible choice between remaining on “the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics” or giving up socialism to embrace “Westernization,” when those who demonstrated at Tiananmen Square succumbed to American brainwashing and tried to sabotage China’s wondrous experiment in communist theory.

Murdering those deluded student protesters in 1989 probably saved China from a civil war, or from being attacked and conquered by invading NATO armies and plundered by Western capitalists, in the estimation of the Global Times. 

The Communist Party did the largely student-led protesters a favor by crushing them under tank treads because the wise CCP leaders who ordered their murders knew that “complete Westernization wouldn’t work, at least not for China,” the state propaganda outlet argued.

The Communist Party displayed “confidence and determination” by crushing the democracy movement of 1989, unlike the wimpy Soviet communists who choked and committed “political suicide” by surrendering in the Cold War, the outlet continued. Now only China remains to defend “socialist countries” against “unprecedented ideological attack from the West,” as its nefarious forces seek to “bury red regimes once and for all.” 

“On one hand, the Party used all resources to ensure the fundamental political system of the country was unshakeable and safeguarded the stability of the country to create an ideal environment for reform and development; on the other hand, it learned all kinds of advanced experiences around the globe to improve itself not only in economy, science and technology, but also in governance. Otherwise the Party wouldn’t be able to deliver what the Chinese people need after it decisively ended the turbulence,” the Global Times wrote to justify the brutality of Tiananmen Square.

The Global Times used the pandemic China unleashed upon the world as proof the Chinese system is superior:

At present, China is the second largest economy in the world, and it’s just a matter of time before it surpasses the US in the near future, and China also has many world leading unique advantages such as 5G technology, high-speed railway systems and the capability in construction of infrastructure.

During the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic, China’s governance and political system have also shown better performance than the Western system. From national leaders to ordinary people, from elites to grassroots, China is now becoming much more united and confident than in the late 1980s, while the West is getting more and more insecure, worried, polarized and divided.

The Global Times wrapped up by ominously musing that the “success” of the slaughter at Tiananmen Square suggested similar techniques would be justified, and effective, for dealing with the menace of democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan, or even to put a final end to the menace of democracy in America:

In the fight against foreign forces’ interference in Hong Kong, the CPC has also made calm and decisive actions in diplomacy, politics and legislature to successfully restore peace and stability to the city. On the Taiwan question, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese mainland has also strengthened the preparation for reunification by all means, and increased military pressure to deter secessionists on the island and foreign forces.

When China had limited strength during the Cold War, the CPC never hesitated to defend the hard-won independence and autonomy of China, even as it faced potential wars with other super powers and risks of being attacked by nuclear weapons, so today, the offensives that the US launches against China or the CPC won’t work at all, and it would receive much more powerful counteractions than in the past if it escalates the competition into all-out confrontation, experts said.

The text of the article was followed by an infographic of major Communist Party congresses from 1921 to the present day.

China’s attempts to normalize the Tiananmen Square massacre, comparing it to even controversial police actions in other nations and claiming it was a justified response to a subversive menace, should be vigorously resisted by all civilized people. 

There was nothing normal or acceptable about what the Chinese Communist Party did on June 4, 1989 – just as there is nothing normal or acceptable about what it’s doing in Hong Kong, Tibet, or the Uyghur homeland in Xinjiang province today, or what it schemes to do to Taiwan tomorrow. 

Those tempted to give the CCP a pass for the Tiananmen massacre should carefully read the parts of the Global Times’ anniversary screed where the authors talk about repeating the “success” of 1989 against anyone who threatens the Communist Party’s power, including foreign populations. As everyone who worked to normalize China, integrate it into the global economy, and nourish its economy in the 1990s should have understood, they will repeat the Tiananmen Square massacre if they think they have to, anywhere they think it is necessary.

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