Six Four: 1989 and Falun Gong
To be honest, it seems out of place to discuss 6/4 and FLG together. But after seeing the “antics” of FLG followers in the last few years, I cannot help reflect on the way the government handled 6/4.
I personally participated in that turbulent movement in 1989. I didn’t go to Beijing, but nevertheless witnessed all the ups and downs that occurred between the time when Hu Yaobang passed away and when those “student movement leaders” were placed onto the most wanted list. At the beginning, just like all the other (naive) students, I was infuriated by the way the government attributed everything to “a few people”. How could it be? It was so obviously a mass patriotic movement started by a broad base of the patriotic students on their own. How could the government claim that we were being manipulated and used?! Such a claim was an insult to my intelligence and I was angry.
The irony was, we the angry students knew how the CCP began its rise in status and power. It was based on mass mobilization of the people through organizing students and labor movements. To put it bluntly, the initial role played by the CCP, before today’s P. R. China was established, was exactly that of “a few people.” It was because of “a few people” that tens of thousands or students were united in voicing the same demand and that tens of thousands of workers were united in massive strikes. The CCP got stronger through that process, obtained its own armed forces, and eventual took over the seat of power from the nationalists. So the CCP’s determination of the 1989 student movement, at its later stages, being organized and manipulated by “a few people” behind the scene, was perhaps “authoritative”. It was, after all, an indisputable expert at organizing student and labor movements.
But seriously, it was true that the 1989 student movement was being manipulated by someone, wasn’t it? The students had nothing but boiling emotions and superficial knowledges of politics. We started only demanding the cleaning up of corruption and smuggling by officials, yet the slogan were somehow led through a transformation into ones “demanding democracy.” There is a huge difference in political implication between these two classes of demands. So what was democracy? What kind of democracy was practiced in the west? What kind of democracy would befit China? Frankly, I (we) didn’t have clue. In other words, I didn’t know what I really wanted. I simply had this frustration inside, and a resulting impulse to go onto the street and shout slogans. It was as if I participated just to participate and I was moved by the simple fact of experiencing a students movement. Oh how very much we were moved by ourselves. And then things got out of control. The “student leaders” advocated for a hunger strike to force the issue on the government. And just like that, many students heeded the call and went on hunger strike. When the government repeatedly appealed for it was time to end the madness and repeatedly requested people to stay home in radio and TV broadcasts, one with some common sense should have expected something was about to happen. But because the “leaders” refused to change stance, the students wouldn’t back off. So the whole thing dragged on, until the dawn of 6/4, into a bloodshed. Yet a miracle happened, those “leaders” somehow managed to escape unharmed.
89 学运最终被人利用，难道不是这样的么？学生们几乎一无所有，有的只是满腔的激情和对政治的一知半解；我们只知道要反贪污、反官倒，但后来的口号被引导成 “要民主”。从“反贪污”到“要民主”，这其中的政治意义上的差别是非常大的。但到底什么是民主，西方社会的民主是怎样的，什么是适合中国人民的民主，老实说我(们)当时真的没有概念。换句话说，我并不知道我真正想要的是什么。反正就是不爽，就是想上街喊口号，就是为着能体验一下学生运动而感到激动。我们被自己的所作所为感动得一塌糊涂。再后来，局面失控了，“学运领袖”们呼吁绝食逼政府表态，那么多的学生真的就绝食了，一直到政府反复提醒是时候收场了，反复在收音机里电视里说不要出门不要上街，有点政治嗅觉的人都或多或少感觉到有事情会发生了。可“领袖”不发话，学生当然不能撤，就这么一直到六四的凌晨，到传说中的“血洗”发生。然而“领袖”们却奇迹般地全身而退。
Yes, we were young and naive, but weren’t there supposed to be many “mature and thoughtful” people as well? Let’s turn around and see where those “student leaders” are and examine their words and deeds nowadays. For example, didn’t Wang Dan [note: one of the most prominent 1989 student leaders] just pick that so called “born for politics” Grace Wang for the [Chinese Youth Human Rights] award. If you have similarly experienced those events in 1989, please put your hand over your heart and answer this question: if the time could be turned back twenty years, would you still follow those “leaders”? I know I wouldn’t. The very thought of it sickens me.
Let’s move on to the topic of the government’s tolerance (or lack of) for the protests and disturbances back then. How many governments in the world would tolerate people that block traffic in the city, intercept rail road transports, attack government offices/facilities, assault the military and even cruelly kill soldiers who were just following their orders?! Keep in mind, even in the “most democratic” US, the result would not be pleasant if one acts with a drawing motion in front a policeman, let alone an armed soldier. So why are there so many people blindly following the lead of the western media in blanketlly condemning the crackdown on those that attacked/assaulted the soldiers?
It is true that shots were fired, and those who were killed must have included many innocent bystanders. The question is who should be held ultimately responsible for the killings; Is it the government or the “leaders” who conveniently abandoned the students behind? I don’t how many innocent lives were lost, but I know those “leaders” are enjoying their comfortable lives aboard. They have loudly proclaimed to be ready of “sacrificing themselves for democracy”, yet somehow have all managed to avoid that fate. So between the two, which do you think I would lay most of the blame on?
For many years since 1989, I had been reluctant to accept that I and the other students were actually so stupid and naive to be truly manipulated by others behind the scene. It was not until seeing the sickening words and deeds of some Falun Gong followers that I began to seriously consider if we were truly being fooled around, which is a humiliating thought for me. It was during Jiang Zemin’s rein when FLG was declared to be a cult. It was characterized as a case of a large number of believers manipulated by “a few people” with ulterior political aims. I had many close friends and classmates who were practitioners of FLG, and some still are. So you can imagine how I scoffed at such claims. Was it really necessary to condemn FLG as an evil cult when it seemed like nothing more than a loose organization meant to extract some money out retired men and women with promises of enhanced health? Yet it didn’t take many years for it to become apparent what kind of a cult FLG really was and what the forces behind Li Hongzi really aimed for. I have to give credit to the CCP, which after all was an expert at mobilizing the mass for political goals and interest. Looking back, the move to force FLG out of China really demonstrated the wisdom and foresight of the CCP. I used to merely feel amused about FLG and its silliness. Now I know better and simply feel sickened by it. So much so I just don’t want to talk about it.
这十几年来，出于自尊我一直不原意承认当年的学生们是属于”太傻、太天真“而被人利用的那一类，直到F LG在全球范围内一而再、再而三地恶心了亿万地球人，我才开始思考“被人利用”这个很耻辱的问题。还在江核心任职的时候，F LG就被宣布”是被一小撮别有用心的人“操纵和利用的团体，继而被宣布是”有政治目的的邪教“。我有很亲近的同学、朋友至今还相信F LG，所以当时相信有很多人和我一样，对这种“政治目的”说均置之一笑，至于么，一个森林警察，集结几个老头老太，搞搞迷信、练练体操，到顶了骗几个香油钱而已了，能有什么劳什子“政治目的”？可几年后图穷匕见，FLG到底是什么货色，隐身于李大尸背后的势力矛头所指何处，脑子正常的人现在都知道了。从这一点来说，我很佩服嗅觉敏锐的GCD。还是那句话，GCD是搞什么出身的？就凭那个吹小号的，也想跟 GCD玩？差了不知道多少等级啊。。。当年干脆利落地把F LG打出中国，让轮轮们如今整天恶心美帝国主义的人民，GCD真的是很英明。以前提到FLG，只是觉得好笑，但现在就是觉得恶心，太恶心了，不提也罢。
Just compare how the CCP reacted to the Sichuan earthquake with what those overseas democracy fighters and FLG did… enough said.
Here is my closing thought: If I were to be still in China and my son was about to join in a “student movement” like the one in 1989, I would give him exactly the same admonishment my father dished out to me, “you think you understand democracy?! You don’t know nothing yet!”
PS: Someone commented to me that I still don’t know nothing yet (about democracy). He is right. I still don’t really understand democracy. But it is precise due to this realization of my limit, that I would not throw myself into politics. If I don’t mess in things I know little of, at least I won’t be fooled and manipulated by others. And that is one of the key reasons for me to write down this post.
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