Friday, June 04, 2010

Haiku for the week

The blood on the streets
Can't be washed away by lies;
Its stench still lingers.

It's amazing, appalling that the government is still trying to cover up what happened here on 3rd/4th June 1989. It remains a truth too terrible to be confronted that 21 years ago the selfish, frightened Party leaders in Zhongnanhai briefly declared war on their own people.

Many of those responsible are still alive, some are still in power. Wise up, guys. The longer you try to keep on denying this, the harder it's going to come back and bite you in the arse one day.

Well, no - sadly, perhaps not. It may take years yet, perhaps decades before we see any such consequences; and by then, the perpetrators may all finally be dead, or safely retired (perhaps retired overseas, at that). I fret that it's the country rather than the guilty old men who lead it that may one day inherit a bloody legacy from these decades of institutional dishonesty. If you try to keep the lid screwed down this tight on all dissent.... eventually it's going to explode like a pressure-cooker.

It would be much better for all concerned if the Party leaders would begin to face these skeletons in their closet NOW. But I fear it's never going to happen.

[Some foreign observers here have made quite a lot of an editorial piece that appeared in the main Party mouthpiece People's Daily a couple of months back, a personal memoir by Premier Wen Jiabao about Hu Yaobang, the reformist former General Secretary of the CCP whose death sparked the 1989 demonstrations. (Hu had been purged from the leadership at the beginning of 1987, when the old guard blamed his liberal policies for earlier outbreaks of student activism over the previous 18 months. He subsequently became idolized as a martyr by many of the students, and tens of thousands gathered on Tiananmen Square to honour his memory on the day of this funeral, 22nd April 1989 - the first of the mass occupations of the Square which continued through the next six weeks, until...) You can read an English translation of that article on the China Geeks blog here. I'm not getting too excited just yet. Perhaps it is one of these very subtle testing-the-waters type of things - Let's run it half-way up the flag-pole, and see if anyone gets arrested. Perhaps it could herald the beginnings of a major shift in official attitudes. But it seems to me that a partial 'rehabilitation' of the long-dead Hu Yaobang is a very long way indeed from a rehabilitation of the much more recently deceased Zhao Ziyang (his successor, who was purged in the midst of the Tiananmen sit-in, for counselling moderation in dealing with the protesters) or of his deputy of the time, Bao Tong (under house arrest ever since; but he continues to be an astute and unrelenting critic of the present regime). And a very, very long way from making an apology, commemorating the dead, allowing public examination and discussion of what really happened. Daring to say that the CCP's 'reformers' of the 1980s were perhaps not all bad after all is some sort of a start; but it's only the tiniest of steps on a very long and rocky road.]

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