Last week, many Chinese websites reprinted an article from China Newsweek titled "How the Tiananmen Incident was Redressed." This title is a bit eye-shocking because the term "Tiananmen Incident" in Chinese has also been used to refer to the 1989's June 4th massacre. This article, however, is talking about an earlier "Tiananmen Incident" that took place on
I was in the countryside then as an urban "sent-down youth." Some of the best Tiananmen poems and essays, hand copied on notebook paper, circulated through the grapevine to my hand. I still remember the excitement I had in reading those beautifully written poems. After Mao's death and the Gang of Four fell out of power, people began to demand a redressing of the incident. But that did not happen right away.
The China Newsweek article now cites a "thorough redressing" that came two years later. I don't remember the timeline of the redressing exactly, however my own experience contradicts this conclusion. After the Cultural Revolution I was a first-batch undergraduate student at
I mention this to say by the end of the 1970s or early 1980s, there still hadn't been a "thorough redress" of the 4/5 incident, at least that was the situation at
There are many similarities between the two Tiananmen Incidents that occurred 13 years apart. For example, in both incidents, people demanded political change. In the first one Deng Xiaoping was accused as the "behind-the-scenes backer" of the demonstrators, while 13 years later he made the same accusation against Zhao Ziyang. The surface difference is the lack of tanks in the first crackdown; guns were enough that time. It is a big irony that, in 1976 people called for Deng Xiaoping to return to While Deng is certainly credited with China's economic reform, this is an unwashable stain on his name.
While Deng is certainly credited with China's economic reform, this is an unwashable stain on his name.
All the above is nothing new to my Chinese readers. However the purpose of this post is actually not a mere review of history. My question is, why does the sensitive term "Tiananmen Incident" - 天安门事件 - (instead of using the term "4/5 incident," for instance) appear in such a prominent way in an official magazine? Why has the report been published now, a time that has no relation to April 5th? Is this a foreshadow to the redressing of the second Tiananmen Incident?
Of course I might be fussing over nothing that has any actual significance. However one thing I learned growing up during the Cultural Revolution is to follow the thread of a spider and tracks of a horse in political weather change. Call it PCRPD (Post-CR Political Disorder). I rather hope I'm right this time though.