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  • As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates 100 years

  • There are things they don't want to talk about

  • Like the Tiananmen Square Massacre

  • Welcome to China Uncensored.

  • I'm Chris Chappell.

  • On July 1, the Chinese Communist Party will be turning 100.

  • And they're throwing themselves the birthday party of the century.

  • You know what they say: Ain't no party like a communist party 'cause a communist party

  • insinuates itself into every part of your life, subverting society until there's no

  • escape.

  • It's a catchy song.

  • The Chinese Communist Party is big on anniversaries.

  • Celebrating the ones they want you to remember, and arresting people ahead of the ones they

  • want you to forget.

  • And this 100th anniversary celebration is a theme party.

  • The theme is Without the Communist Party, there would be no new China.

  • It's the same theme as all their parties.

  • This year, they're celebrating that theme with everything from patriotic films to mass

  • weddings.

  • And the message tofollow the Party forever.”

  • How romantic.

  • The Chinese Communist Party is also using this year's celebrations to further elevate

  • its own mythology.

  • Using some pretty religious language.

  • In party literature and state media, former revolutionary bases are labeled 'holy sites,'

  • and the almost obligatory visits to such locations by the rank and file are meant to 'baptize'

  • members in the Communist 'faith.'”

  • Of course, you can't baptize people in the Communist faith without sweeping a few things

  • under the rug.

  • Thornier subjects--infighting and purges in the upper echelon, and ruthless mass political

  • campaigns dating back to the party's early days--are almost never touched on.”

  • You mean the Communist Party isn't telling the truth about history?

  • I'm shocked.

  • It's happening in Chinese state-run media as well.

  • For example, here's a poster series ofkey events during the Party's 100-year path

  • to glory

  • They're doing one poster for each year since 1921.

  • Like, in 1987, the poster is about the 13th national congress.

  • In 1988, it's about the establishment of the Hainan Special Economic Zone.

  • And in 1990, it's about the opening of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

  • Hmm.

  • The posters go from 1988 straight to 1990.

  • There's no poster for 1989.

  • I guess nothing important happened in China in 1989.

  • You know, after seeing all of this excitement, we want to get in on the festivities, too.

  • So here on China Uncensored, we're going to do a special series to celebrate 100 years

  • of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • But we're going to cover the things that the Chinese Communist Party might want to

  • skip.

  • We're calling it: 100 Years of Things ThatNever Happened.”

  • More after the break.

  • Welcome back.

  • First up on 100 Years of Things ThatNever Happened”: The 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

  • Or as many young Mainland Chinese people call it, “What's that?”

  • The Chinese Communist Party simply refers to the massacre as theJune 4th Incident”.

  • That is, when they are forced to mention it at all.

  • The Party much prefers making people forget the whole thing ever happened.

  • Which has led to what some call Generation Amnesia.

  • The official Party line is that student protests in 1989 were a “counterrevolutionary riot.”

  • You see, violent students attacked the poor, heavily armed soldiers who had to shoot the

  • students, as well as innocent bystanders, to defend themselves.

  • The Tiananmen Square Massacre is a huge turning point in modern Chinese history.

  • There may well be a parallel universe where the crackdown never happened, and China is

  • now a liberal democracy.

  • And only Quinn Mallory has seen it.

  • Yes, Sliders.

  • I said we're talking about things people have totally forgotten.

  • The massacre was the Chinese Communist Party's final response to 7 weeks of protests led

  • by students demanding political reform, less corruption, freedom of speech and the press.

  • Only towards the end of the protests did people start talking about democracy.

  • The students weren't trying to overthrow the Communist Party.

  • They believed the Communist Party could reform itself.

  • Turns out, the answer was no.

  • The student protests at Tiananmen Square started after Hu Yaobang died on April 15, 1989.

  • Hu was one of the only outspoken liberal reformers in the Communist Party.

  • He had been purged from the Party by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, after Deng blamed Hu

  • for student protests in 1986.

  • At the time, people were like, “Who got purged?”

  • That's right.

  • Hu got purged.”

  • Hundreds of thousands of students showed up in Tiananmen Square for Hu Yaobang's funeral.

  • That morphed into a series of protests and marches.

  • But it all could have died down again, if the Party hadn't issued an editorial in

  • the People's Daily on April 26.

  • Titled 'The Necessity for a Clear Stand Against Turmoil,' it described the protests

  • as a 'well-planned plot' to overturn Communist rule.”

  • This editorial gave new life to the student protest, and sparked protests across the country

  • in support of the students.

  • The students saw themselves as patriotic.

  • They were protesting for the good of the country.

  • And now workers, intellectuals, and ordinary citizens started to join in.

  • Tiananmen Square witnesses remember this time as having an air of celebration, with feelings

  • of joy and hope.

  • People paraded through the streets.

  • Some even brought their kids to see this historic event.

  • On May 13, the students started a hunger strike.

  • These were some of the reasons the students gave for the strike: “widespread illegal

  • business dealings by corrupt officials, the dominance of abusive power, the corruptions

  • of bureaucrats, the fleeing of a large number of good people to other countries, and the

  • deterioration of law and order

  • Sounds kind of familiar.

  • One of the quirks of history is why we have so many photos and videos of the Tiananmen

  • protests.

  • Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was visiting China at the time.

  • It was the first time Soviet and Chinese leaders had met since the Sino-Soviet split in the

  • 1960s.

  • And the Chinese Communist Party had allowed in lots of foreign journalists to cover the

  • meeting.

  • It turns out, foreign journalists were more interested in covering a million Chinese people

  • marching on Tiananmen Square.

  • But while all this hope and change was happening in the square, the Party leadership, especially

  • paramount leader Deng Xiaoping , decided to crack down on the protests and declare martial

  • law.

  • General Secretary Zhao Ziyang was against martial law.

  • He was forced to resign and purged from the Party.

  • Zhao then famously went to Tiananmen Square and apologized to the students, begging them

  • to leave.

  • After his speech on the square, Zhao would spend the rest of his life under house arrest.

  • Zhao's secretary, Bao Tong was imprisoned for the protests.

  • He says that Deng Xiaoping was already planning to get rid of Zhao, and the protests were

  • just a good excuse.

  • Deng replaced Zhao with Shanghai Party leader Jiang Zemin , who would spend the next 20

  • years amassing power through his own crackdowns on innocent citizens.

  • This is basically the prequel to General Hostility, everyone's favorite soap opera about Communist

  • Party power struggles.

  • But Zhao Ziyang wasn't the only person to stand against martial law.

  • A PLA general who commanded one of the most elite units refused to deploy his soldiers

  • against the protesters.

  • He was also arrested and imprisoned.

  • Martial law didn't go exactly as the Party leaders had planned.

  • As the first PLA soldiers tried to enter Beijing on May 19, Beijing citizens actually convinced

  • them to turn back and leave.

  • Meanwhile, the protests continued to spread to other cities.

  • They continued for another two weeks, before the Party sent in the troops again, on the

  • night of June 3rd to June 4th.

  • This time, there was no turning back.

  • The soldiers drove the students out of Tiananmen Square.

  • Even as they left, the students were still singing the Communist Internationale and the

  • Chinese national anthem.

  • When the soldiers opened fire on the unarmed civilians, most of them were killed on the

  • surrounding streets outside the square.

  • Here's what one BBC reporter saw.

  • "The young man in front of me fell dead.

  • I fell over him.

  • Two others were killed yards away.

  • Two more people lay wounded on the ground near me."

  • We still don't know how many people died in the massacre.

  • Estimates are in the thousands.

  • A recently declassified British diplomatic cable puts the number at 10,000.

  • But the legacy of Tiananmen Square wasn't just the massacre.

  • The real legacy was what happened afterwards.

  • More after the break.

  • Welcome back.

  • You might be wondering why I haven't talked about this guy yet.

  • Well, Tank Man actually faced down those tanks on June 5, the day after the soldiers killed

  • people in the streets.

  • Which, if you think about it, makes it even more ballsy than you previously thought.

  • Also more ballsy: when you see how many tanks this guy was actually facing down.

  • One of the photojournalists who took photos of Tank Man had to hide his film in the toilet

  • to keep it from getting taken by Chinese police.

  • That's because the suppression of any information about the Tiananmen Square massacre was already

  • starting.

  • The Communist Party spent the next 18 months running a mass political campaign designed

  • to scare the crap out of the Chinese people and make sure this never happened again.

  • Over 4 million Chinese Communist Party members were investigated for involvement in the protests.

  • Chinese state-run media showed video after video of police capturingcounterrevolutionaries

  • in raids.

  • Some of the students involved in the protests escaped, others were arrested and sentenced.

  • People were told the best thing to do was to forget.