May 20

A recollection of the 1989 student movement in Tianjin

Written by: kui | Filed under:General, politics | Tags:, , ,
225 Comments » newest 2013-06-27 00:46:21

admin’s note: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement. No matter what your view on this subject is, what happened 20 years ago is no doubt an important piece of Chinese history. As Zhu Rongji, former Chinese premier minister, then mayor of Shanghai, famously said, on June 8, 1989, “No one can cover up historical facts forever, and the truth will eventually reveal itself” (历史事实是没有人能够隐瞒的,事实真相终将大白).

Many people are interested in the events happened on the Tiananmen Square. While undoubtedly it was the epicenter of the 89 student movement, we should not lose sight that large scale demonstrations happened in many other cities too. To almost any college student at that time, 1989 was a life changing year. Previously Eugene recalled his experience as a student in Shanghai. Here is an observation and reflection from a student in Tianjin (天津), the closest major city to Beijing. This post was emailed to me by kui (thank you very much!). I took liberty to  modify the original text slightly. I hope more people of the ’89 generation will come forward and share his/her experiences and thoughts.

I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.
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May 20

US Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced “Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 (H.R.2410)” on May 14. It drew some criticism from the Chinese government about this because “It meddled in China’s domestic issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.” It can be accessed here.


Among most of this 320 page broad proposal, it has some interesting tidbits about about Tibet (sorry I didn’t properly format it yet):

22 SEC. 237. TIBET.
23 (a) TIBET NEGOTIATIONS.—Section 613(a) of the
24 Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–228; 22
25 U.S.C. 6901 note) is amended—
1 (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the pe2
riod at the end the following: ‘‘and should coordinate
3 with other governments in multilateral efforts to4
ward this goal’’;
5 (2) by redesignating paragraph (2) as para6
graph (3); and
7 (3) by inserting after paragraph (1) the fol8
lowing new paragraph:
9 ‘‘(2) POLICY COORDINATION.—The President
10 shall direct the National Security Council to ensure
11 that, in accordance with this Act, United States pol12
icy on Tibet is coordinated and communicated with
13 all Executive Branch agencies in contact with the
14 Government of China.’’.
15 (b) BILATERAL ASSISTANCE.—Section 616 of the Ti16
betan Policy Act of 2002 is amended—
17 (1) by redesignating subsection (d) as sub18
section (e); and
19 (2) by inserting after subsection (c) the fol20
lowing new subsection:
21 ‘‘(d) UNITED STATE ASSISTANCE.—The President
22 shall provide grants to nongovernmental organizations to
23 support sustainable economic development, cultural and
24 historical preservation, health care, education, and envi25
ronmental sustainability projects for Tibetan communities
1 in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan
2 communities in China, in accordance with the principles
3 specified in subsection (e) and subject to the review and
4 approval of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
5 under section 621(d).’’.
7 Section 621 of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amend8
9 (1) in subsection (d)—
10 (A) in paragraph (5), by striking ‘‘and’’ at
11 the end;
12 (B) by redesignating paragraph (6) as
13 paragraph (7); and
14 (C) by inserting after paragraph (5) the
15 following new paragraph:
16 ‘‘(6) review and approve all projects carried out
17 pursuant to section 616(d);’’.
18 (2) by adding at the end the following new sub19
20 ‘‘(e) PERSONNEL.—The Secretary shall assign dedi21
cated personnel to the Office of the Special Coordinator
22 for Tibetan Issues sufficient to assist in the management
23 of the responsibilities of this section and section
24 616(d)(2).’’.
4 (A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of State
5 is authorized to establish a Tibet Section within
6 the United States Embassy in Beijing, People’s
7 Republic of China, for the purposes of following
8 political, economic, and social developments in9
side Tibet, including Tibetan areas of Qinghai,
10 Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces, until
11 such time as a United States consulate in Tibet
12 is established. Such Tibet Section shall have the
13 primary responsibility for reporting on human
14 rights issues in Tibet and shall work in close
15 cooperation with the Office of the Special Coor16
dinator for Tibetan Issues. The chief of such
17 Tibet Section should be of senior rank.
TIONS.—Of the amounts authorized to be ap20
propriated under section 101(a), there are au21
thorized to be appropriated such sums as may
22 be necessary for each of fiscal years 2010 and
23 2011 to carry out this paragraph.
24 (2) IN TIBET.—Section 618 of the Tibetan Pol25
icy Act of 2002 is amended to read as follows:
3 ‘‘The Secretary shall seek to establish a United
4 States consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, to provide services to
5 United States citizens traveling to Tibet and to monitor
6 political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet, in7
cluding Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and
8 Yunnan provinces.’’.
10 620(b) of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amended by
11 adding before the period at the end the following: ‘‘, in12
cluding the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism’’.

After reading this, it seems to be that the US government is running the TAR region. This proposal doesn’t mention much about Hong Kong and Taiwan though. I think that this bill was brought by Pelosi and company. I hope that this proposal won’t be signed into a bill.