ON this day in 1989, hundreds (at a minimum), possibly thousands of people were massacred by China's army for protesting at Tiananmen Square.
It would be much better if Australia had said nothing today - much better than this insult to the dead.
We would have been better to say nothing.
Instead we have Chinese warships unannounced in Sydney Harbour.
And a compliant, bowing government which "remains concerned" about bullshit weasel words.
Australia remains concerned about continuing constraints on freedom of association, expression and political participation in China.
What about condemning a communist dictatorship which murders its own people?
I prefer Bob Hawke's raw honesty. Marise Payne's not worthy to be his bootstrap.
This from Wikipedia
The number of deaths and the extent of bloodshed in the Square itself have been in dispute since the events. Chinese authorities actively suppressed discussion of casualty figures immediately after the events, and estimates rely heavily on eyewitness testimony, hospital records, and organized efforts by victims' relatives. As a result, large discrepancies exist among various casualty estimates. Initial estimates ranged from the official figure of a few hundred to several thousand.
Official Chinese government announcements shortly after the event put the number of dead at around 300. At the State Council press conference on 6 June, spokesman Yuan Mu said that "preliminary tallies" by the government showed that about 300 civilians and soldiers died, including 23 students from universities in Beijing, along with a number of people he described as "ruffians". Yuan also said some 5,000 soldiers and police along with 2,000 civilians were wounded. On June 19, Beijing Party Secretary Li Ximing reported to the Politburo that the government's confirmed death toll was 241, including 218 civilians (of which 36 were students), 10 PLA soldiers and 13 People's Armed Police, along with 7,000 wounded. Mayor Chen Xitong said on June 30 that the number of injured was around 6,000.
On the morning of June 4, many estimates of deaths were reported, including from government-affiliated sources. Peking University leaflets circulated on campus suggested a death toll of between two to three thousand. The Chinese Red Cross had given a figure of 2,600 deaths, but later denied having given such a figure.The Swiss Ambassador had estimated 2,700. Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times wrote on June 21 that "it seems plausible that about a dozen soldiers and policemen were killed, along with 400 to 800 civilians." United States ambassador James Lilley said that, based on visits to hospitals around Beijing, a minimum of several hundred had been killed.[c] A declassified National Security Agency cable filed on the same day estimated 180–500 deaths up to the morning of 4 June.Beijing hospital records compiled shortly after the events recorded at least 478 dead and 920 wounded. Amnesty International's estimates put the number of deaths at between several hundred and close to 1,000, while a Western diplomat who compiled estimates put the number at 300 to 1,000.
Identifying the dead
The Tiananmen Mothers, a victims' advocacy group co-founded by Ding Zilin and Zhang Xianling, whose children were killed during the crackdown, have identified 202 victims as of August 2011. The group has worked painstakingly, in the face of government interference, to locate victims' families and collect information about the victims. Their tally has grown from 155 in 1999 to 202 in 2011. The list includes four individuals who committed suicide on or after 4 June, for reasons that related to their involvement in the demonstrations.[d]
Wu Renhua of the Chinese Alliance for Democracy, an overseas group agitating for democratic reform in China, said that he was only able to verify and identify 15 military deaths. Wu asserts that if deaths from events unrelated to demonstrators were removed from the count, only seven deaths among military personnel may be counted as those "killed in action" by rioters.
Deaths in Tiananmen Square itself
Chinese government officials have long asserted that no one died in the Square itself in the early morning hours of 4 June, during the 'hold-out' of the last batch of students in the south of the Square. Initially foreign media reports of a "massacre" on the Square were prevalent, though subsequently journalists have acknowledged that most of the deaths occurred outside of the Square in western Beijing. Several people who were situated around the square that night, including former Beijing bureau chief of The Washington PostJay Mathews[e] and CBS correspondent Richard Roth[f] reported that while they had heard sporadic gunfire, they could not find enough evidence to suggest that a massacre took place on the Square itself. Records by the Tiananmen Mothers suggest that three students died in the Square the night of the Army's push into the Square.[g] Democracy activist Wu Renhua asserted that the government's discussion of the issue was a red herring intended to absolve itself of responsibility and showcase its benevolence. Wu said that it was irrelevant whether the shooting occurred inside or outside of the Square itself, as it was still a reprehensible massacre of unarmed civilians.[h]
Arrests and punishment
The authorities carried out mass arrests. Many workers were summarily tried and executed. In contrast, the students—many of whom came from relatively affluent backgrounds and were well-connected—received much lighter sentences. Wang Dan, the student leader who topped the most wanted list, spent seven years in prison. Many of the students and university staff implicated were permanently politically stigmatized, some never to be employed again.
On 13 June 1989, the Beijing Public Security Bureau released an order for the arrest of 21 students who they identified as leaders of the protest. These 21 most wanted student leaders were part of the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation which had been an instrumental student organization in the Tiananmen Square protests. Though decades have passed, the Most Wanted list has never been retracted by the Chinese government.
The 21 most wanted student leaders faces and descriptions were broadcast on television as well and were constantly looped. Photographs with biographical descriptions of the 21 Most Wanted followed in this order on the poster: Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, Liu Gang, Chai Ling, Zhou Fengsuo, Zhai Weimin, Liang Qingdun, Wang Zhengyun, Zheng Xuguang, Ma Shaofang, Yang Tao, Wang Zhixing, Feng Congde, Wang Chaohua, Wang Youcai, Zhang Zhiqing, Zhang Boli, Li Lu, Zhang Ming, Xiong Wei, and Xiong Yan.
Each of the 21 students faced diverse experiences after their arrests or escapes; while some remain abroad with no intent to return, others have chosen to stay indefinitely such as Zhang Ming. Only 7 of the 21 were able to escape. Some student leaders such as Chai Ling and Wuer Kaixi were able to escape to the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other Western nations under Operation Yellowbird that was organized from Hong Kong, a British territory at the time. The remaining student leaders were apprehended and incarcerated. Those who escaped, whether it was in 1989 or after, generally have had difficulty re-entering China, even up to this day. The Chinese government prefers to leave the dissidents in exile. Those who attempt to re-enter, such as Wu'er Kaixi, have been simply sent back, but not arrested.
Chen Ziming and Wang Juntao were arrested in late 1989 for their involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Chinese authorities alleged they were the "black hands" behind the movement. Both Chen and Wang rejected the allegations made against them. They were put on trial in 1990 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Others such Zhang Zhiqing have essentially disappeared. After his initial arrest in January 1991 and subsequent release, nothing further is known about his situation and where he lives now. Zhang Zhiqing's role and reason for being listed on the list of 21 most wanted is generally unknown; this is the case for many others on the list, such as Wang Chaohua.
According to the Dui Hua Foundation, citing a provincial government, 1,602 individuals were imprisoned for protest-related activities in the early 1989. As of May 2012, at least two remain incarcerated in Beijing and five others remain unaccounted for. In June 2014, it was reported that Miao Deshun was believed to be the last known prisoner incarcerated for their participation in the protests; he was last heard from a decade ago. All are reported to be suffering from mental illness.