For two months in 1989, students gathered in Tiananmen Square demanding political reforms analogous to the economic reforms instituted by then-Chairman Deng Xiaoping.
After some initial indecision, the Communist Party decided to crack down. On May 20th, the government declared martial law and moved 250,000 troops into Beijing. On June 3rd, state-run television warned Beijing residents to stay inside.
The next day, the army advanced toward Tiananmen Square. Protestors attempted to impede the army’s advance and destroyed more than 100 military vehicles, and damaged nearly 500 others.
But ultimately resistance would prove to be futile. Trucks and armored personnel carriers joined tanks and attack helicopters. The army’s principal target was a 10-meter tall statue dubbed the “Goddess of Democracy,” which was erected by the students and bore a more-than-passing resemblance to the Statue of Liberty.
After first firing warning shots, the troops fired directly on the protestors. Estimates of the death toll range widely, from hundreds to thousands. In addition, at least 1,600 people were arrested, many imprisoned for more than two decades, and others who were never seen again.
The message from the Communist Party was clear: To be rich might be, as Deng once put it, “glorious,” but forget about being free. The events of June 1989 made clear that the Communist Party was determined to retain complete political and social control.
Given this history with this regime, no one should be surprised at the recent crackdown on Chinese Christians and Muslim Uighurs.
But what is surprising is how many Chinese today are untroubled by the events of June 1989. Even worse, the authors of a recent article in the Washington Post described a popular nostalgia for Mao Zedong. Mao’s rule was among the most brutal in all of history.
This is the Mao whose attempt to industrialize and collectivize China virtually overnight—called the “Great Leap Forward”—killed “at least 45 million people.” This is the Mao whose “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” attempted to purge Chinese society of capitalist and traditional elements by killing between 500 thousand and 3 million people, and sending countless more into internal exile. Among its victims were the father and aunt of current leader Xi Jinping, who committed suicide as a result of being persecuted.
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Source: Christian Headlines