Reconstructing Tiananmen Square Massacre

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryJune 4th marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Even with all of those witnesses who escaped China and survived the massacre, and even with the sheer number of western reporters who were there when the massacre occurred, there is still some dispute about the number of people killed and who actually started the provocations for why the whole massacre happened in the first place. One Chinese scholar, Wu Renhua, has written a book to try and answer these questions. His book, The Complete Records of the June Fourth Incident, is his hope in trying to reconstruct how the massacre really happened. Contrary to what the Chinese government has said, the students and pro-democracy activists did not start the provocations against the government that the government claimed forced their hand in clearing the square. The government in fact had given explicit orders to shoot people down no matter what. What documents Mr. Wu has been able to gather has proven this point.

The other thing is that he has gathered not only testimony, but also what documentation there is available from official Chinese government sources and defectors from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army of what happened. He is convinced that an estimated 2,700 people (the number given by the Chinese Red Cross before it recanted) were slaughtered by the Chinese government, and not a mere 300 (which the government claimed were mostly soldiers and police) killed as claimed by the government. Wu Renhua is himself one of the survivors of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and he has made it his lifetime research to get at the truth about something that to this day the Chinese government has completely suppressed from any mention in China today. The problem he is having, as so many other scholars about this event are having, is that the official documentation is still far from complete because the Chinese government refuses to release anymore information on what really happened. So the Chinese Communist Party archives remained sealed about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, also called the June Fourth Incident by the Chinese. Still, it is one more attempt at trying to truthfully get at the heart of the whole matter, and of an effort by a survivor of this event to know what really happened.

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