Chapter 10



Beijing Spring: The name for the events which occurred in Beijing and were centered in Tian'anmen Square during the spring of 1989 which was the seventieth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement. There were to be commemorative ceremonies in Tian'anmen Square, and students gathered in Beijing. Hu Yaobang, who had been a champion of student causes, died on 15 April 1989. His death was seen as a great loss, and students assembled in the Square to mourn his passing.

This protest quickly developed into a serious contest of wills between the central government and the students. As the time for Mikhail Gorbachev's historic state visit to the PRC approached, a visit which was to repair the 30-year-old rift between the PRC and the USSR, the ranks of protesting students had swelled to fill the square. Workers, professionals, and ordinary Beijing residents joined the students in Tian'anmen Square, bringing the number of protesters to an estimated one million. A hunger strike to underline the call for democratic reforms was begun on 13 May.

Journalists from around the world were in Beijing to document Gorbachev's visit to the PRC. However, the protesters overshadowed Gorbachev. The televised occupation of Tian'anmen Square was an embarrassment to the Chinese government.

The government was divided on how to approach the demonstration. When Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang broke the silence and openly supported the students, before a governmental consensus had been reached, he forced the government's hand.

Premier Li Peng declared martial law on May 20, but the protesters remained in Tian'anmen Square. Soon thereafter, the PLA tried to move in, but the Army was thwarted by Beijing citizens, who blocked the advancing units. Beyond just stopping their progress, the public was able to win the support of the local PLA units.

In the pre-dawn hours of 3-4 June 1989, PLA troops from northwestern China firmly cracked down on the student protesters occupying Tian'anmen Square. Estimates of the number of unarmed civilians killed go into the thousands.

Cultural Revolution: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was initially another attempt by Mao to "purify" China and to restore revolutionary righteousness. Mao went outside of the power structure and used his sizable personal prestige to motivate the masses. It was also an attempt by Mao to regain the paramount leadership he had partially forfeited as a result of the failure of the Great Leap Forward. Although the dates are often given as 1966 to 1976, the GPCR is generally considered to have passed through three stages: 1966-69, when the Red Guards were in control and a total social disintegration threatened; 1969-71, when the PLA under Lin Biao reestablished social order, and Lin emerged as Mao's heir-apparent; and 1972-76, when both Zhou's and Mao's health deteriorated, the Gang of Pour gained leadership, and the PRC increasingly turned away from global involvement. With Mao's death in 1976 and the subsequent arrest of the Gang of Four, China's "Decade of Shame'* officially came to an end.

Democracy Wall: Refers to a wall near Beijing University where hundreds of "big character" posters were put up in 1978 ("big character" posters are wall-sized posters, written in oversized characters, with political content). At first, this was encouraged by the authorities as a means to criticize the Cultural Revolution and Mao Zedong. However, when this expanded beyond those simple goals and became an unofficial nationwide pro-democracy movement, the authoritiescracked down on the students and their supporters. Posters criticizing the government were allowed on Democracy Wall during 1978-1979; the Democracy Wall Movement was from 1978 to 1981.

Fang Lizhi: (fahng lee jer) Chinese astrophysicist, bom 1936 in Beijing. Upon entering Beijing University in 1952, he distinguished himself as an outstanding scientist and champion of freedom of inquiry and expression. Fang was purged and expelled from the CCP during the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957. He was abused again during the Cultural Revolution. After the end of the Cultural Revolution and the fall of the Gang of Four, Fang was rehabilitated. He regained CCP membership and became China's youngest full professor in 1978. Soon thereafter, he became one of the few Chinese scientists of international stature.

As contacts between faculty and students and the rest of the world increased. Fang committed himself to educational reform, particularly the creation of intellectual and academic freedom. Fang supported the students during the Beijing Spring of 1989. After the crackdown, he sought asylum at the American Embassy in Beijing; he was allowed to leave the country the following year.

Five Year Plan: A plan for economic development, designed to be implemented over a period of five years. Although usually associated with socialist countries, five year plans have also been utilized by capitalist state economies. The basic features usually include a set of five yearly quotas in agricultural and industrial production, yearly increases in these quotas, and central administration of the plan, or, at least, cooperation between the state and the production sectors of a non-socialist economy. Five year plans have been utilized for both economic and political reform, especially in China. Recently, five year plans have incorporated the promotion of international trade, particularly the development of exports.

Four Modernizations: Originally proposed by Zhou Enlai in a 1964 speech, the Four Modernizations have become the basis of the economic reform program instituted in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping. These four segments of the PRC economy have been established as the initial areas to be modernized by the year 2000: agriculture; heavy and light industry; national defense; science and technology. No matter what the subject, Deng often used the achievement of the Four Modernizations as the main theme in the majority of his speeches in the 1980s.

Gang of Four refers to Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan, and Zhang Chunqiao. Jiang Qing was Mao's (third) wife; the other members of the Gang of Four were also close to Mao. These four were the leaders of the ultraleftist wing of the CCP during the Cultural Revolution. At their peak, the Gang of Four purged many CCP leaders and seized power in China's propaganda, cultural, and educational structures. However, they were unable to dominate the bureaucracy, had little popular support, and no support from the military. After Mao's death in 1976, Hua Guofeng and military leaders were able to arrest the Gang of Four. After Deng Xiaoping returned to power (the Gang of Four had purged him), the Gang of Four was publicly put on trial during 1980-81. After being found guilty on a variety of charges, Jiang Qing and Zhang Chunqiao were sentenced to death; their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. Wang Hongwen wassentenced to life; Yao Wenyuan received twenty years.

Great Leap Forward: An economic and social experiment engineered by Mao in 1957, and implemented in 1958. The Great Leap Forward came after the successes of the first Five-Year Plan. Combining elements from the Soviet model and Mao's own ideas, the Great Leap Forward stressed two points: to harness "the collective will of the people" to overcome any obstacle; and to make one "great leap" to communism, without going through any intermediate stages. Mao sought to supersede Soviet dominance of world communism and to develop adistinct "Chinese model" of communism.

The Great Leap Forward saw the collectivization of the Chinese countryside. Peasants were organized into military-style communes. Communes were required to be entirely self-sufficient. This meant that each commune had to produce its own goods, build whatever it neededon its own, and take care of its own social needs.

By the end of 1959, it was obvious that the Great Leap Forward was not working. However, it was not dismantled until 1962. Mao was blamed for the failure of his idea; he was criticized within the CCP Central Committee. Mao recognized his mistake, and in 1962, he reluctantly stepped down from daily decision making in the government and the CCP.

Hu Yaobang: (who yow bahng) 1915-1989. General Secretary of the CCP from 1981-1987 and Deng's personally selected heir-apparent. Hu developed his political base through long involvement with the Communist Youth League, which recognizes and recruits outstanding youths for grooming as CCP cadres. Hu was known as a moderate reformer who gained his position through his strong support of Deng's economic modernizations. He was also a particular champion of youth and student issues. His death was an important component of the Beijing Spring.


Jiang Qing: (jahng ching) 1914-1991. An actress in Shanghai in the 1930s, Jiang travelled to communist headquarters in Yan'an in 1937. She caught the attention of Mao, and the two soon became constant companions. Mao's second wife was sent to the USSR to recuperate, and it is thought that Mao and Jiang married soon thereafter. However, no marriage document has been located. In 1965, Jiang formed what came to be called "The Gang of Four." Insisting that socialist ideology was the sole basis for art, the Gang dominated the Chinese cultural scene until the end of the Cultural Revolution. Arrested in 1976, Jiang was tried in 1980, found guilty, and sentenced to death. Her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and later, house arrest. She committed suicide in 1991.

Li Peng: (lee puhng) Born 1928. Li was educated in Moscow as a hydroelectric engineer; because of this, he has had strong ties with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He was instrumental in repairing Sino-Soviet relations. In 1988, he replaced Zhao Ziyang as premier, Zhao having moved up to CCP General Secretary in 1987. A conservative hard liner, Li has been an advocate of central control, state planning, and heavy industry (i.e., the Soviet model).

Lin Biao: (lynn bee-ow) 1907-1971. Born in Hubei Province, Lin graduated from the Whampoa Military Academy in Guangzhou in 1926. Upon graduation, he joined the CCP. Lin was a military commander for the CCP. He was also a survivor of the Long March. He worked with Zhou Enlai in the CCP-KMT liaison office. Lin led CCP troops to many victories in the Chinese Civil War of 1945-49, including the capture of Beijing.

Lin was largely absent from public view until the early sixties, when he rose to vice-chairman of the Party in 1966, and was designated heir apparent to Mao. Lin was also one of the editors of Mao's infamous Tittle red book."

In the early 70s, there was a falling out between Mao and Lin. Amidst a conspiracy to assassinate Mao, Lin, with his wife and son, attempted to flee to the USSR. However, their plane was allegedly shot down over Mongolia on 12 September 1971; there were no survivors. Lin has been posthumously denounced on several occasions, and remains in disgrace.

Liu Shaoqi: (leo shao chee) 1898-1969. The chief theoretician of Chinese communism and the first president of the PRC. During the Cultural Revolution, Liu was purged; he died in internal exile. In 1980, Deng Xiaoping posthumously rehabilitated his old friend Liu.

Mao Zedong: (mao tsuh doong) 1893-1976. First secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (1943-1976) and the dominant leader of the People's Republic of China after its establishment in 1949. After the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War (1945-49) and his emergence asChina's premier leader, Mao instituted a series of revolutionary and controversial reforms, such as the Great Leap Forward and the"Cultural Revolution. The extremism of his later years has led to a reassessment of Mao and Maoist thought. Official communist evaluation of Mao is "70/30", meaning that the first 70% of his life is seen as beneficial, and the remaining 30% was detrimental. This verdict has made it possible for the more pragmatic Deng Xiaoping to implement various reforms that would have been anathema to Mao.

Maoism: A philosophy of continuous revolution based on concepts proposed by Mao Zedong. The components were: peasant leadership; rural agrarian bases; ann'-intellectualism; mass movements; purges of "counter-revolutionaries;" and the destruction of social structures. Paramount to Maoism is the preeminence of the "correct" ideological orientation. Maoism stands to the left of communism and has never been successfully implemented. Ultimately, Maoism was a personality cult, fostered by Mao in his desire to retain control in post-1949 China.

PLA: Acronym for People's Liberation Army, the army of the PRC.

Red Army: Another name for the PLA. In a more general sense, the term can be applied to any communist country's army.

Red Guards: At first. Red Guards were groups of students at Beijing University and other national universities. Soon, there were Red Guard units made of secondary and primary school students, workers, and peasants on communes. Modeled on the PLA, Red Guards were a response to Mao Zedong's call for a new effort at mass revolutionary mobilization during the Cultural Revolution.

Eventually, rival Red Guard units formed within the same school, factory, or commune, each claiming to have "purer revolutionary zeal" than the other units. This quickly escalated into violence; thousands lost their lives. Various Red Guard units, in their attempts to be the "most revolutionary," were responsible for destroying countless numbers of China's cultural monuments. Anything representative of the Four Olds, and anything "Western," was a target. Temples were sacked, statues were defiled, homes were looted, and mayhem prevailed throughout the country. By late 1966, it became apparent that the Red Guards were out of control. The PLA was instructed to regain control of the country from the Red Guards in 1967. By 1969, the Red Guards ceased to be significant in China's internal politics.

Tian'anmen Massacre: (tea-en ahn mun) The tragic conclusion to the Beijing Spring of 1989. Li Peng declared martial law on 20 May, but the protesters remained in Tian'anmen Square. Soon thereafter, the PLA tried to move in, but their efforts were thwarted by students and citizens.In the pre-dawn hours of 3-4 June 1989, PLA troops firmly cracked down on the student protesters occupying Tian'anmen Square. The troops used automatic weapons on unarmed civilians and used tanks to crush tents occupied by hunger-strikers. Although official figures for casualties are extremely low, with more PLA losses than civilian losses, outside China these figures are dismissed as mere propaganda. Within one week of the Massacre, hospitals verified more than 700 civilian deaths. Some estimates go as high as 7,000 dead, but the true figure may never be known.

The troops that carried out the Massacre were brought in from western China, as the local troops could not be enjoined to move against the students and their supporters. It remains unknown who in the leadership ordered the crackdown; the PRC still reverberates from the impact of this blow to the pro-democracy movement

Tian'anmen Square: Located in the heart of Beijing, Tian'anmen means "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Tian'anmen Square is the largest public square in the world and serves as China's ceremonial center.

Located immediately south of the old Imperial palace, Tian'anmen Square is flanked by the Gate of Heavenly Peace to the north, another of Beijing's old city gates to the south, museums to the east, and the Great Hall of the People to the west. Within the square itself are the Monument to the People's Heroes at the center and Mao Zedong Memorial Hall in the south, where Mao's body lies in state.

Tian'anmen Square was the site of the student protests of 1905, 1911-12, 1919, 1925, and 1976; the Beijing Spring protests of 1989; and the Tian'anmen Massacre.

Yang Shangkun: (yahng shahng coon) Born 1907. President of the PRC and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission since 19.87, Yang has stressed reform of the armed forces and modernization of national defense. A conservative, Yang has gained more power since theTian'anmen Massacre.

Xizang: (she tsang) Literally "Western Storehouse," Xizang is the Mandarin name for Tibet. It is the name given to Tibet by the Chinese after the Chinese invasion of 1950. It is one of the officially designated "Minority Autonomous Regions," which (in theory) makes the region self-governing. In actual practice, Tibet has been under military control since its annexation.

Zhao Ziyang: (jao tsuh yahng) Born 1919. A bureaucrat and member of the CCP, Zhao was purged during the Cultural Revolution. However, he was rehabilitated and became governor of Sichuan Province in 1975. Elected to the Politburo in 1979, he became premier in 1980. Upon thedeath of Hu Yaobang in 1987, Zhao became the Party General Secretary. As Party General Secretary, he was heir apparent to Deng. He held this post until the Tian'anmen Massacre, after which he disappeared from public sight. Although he was sighted in China in 1990, his official status is unknown as of 1991.

Zhou Enlai: (joe en lie) 1898-1976. Zhou came from a scholar-gentry background, and was tutored in traditional Confucian precepts before attending modern Chinese schools in his native Tianjin. After spending some time in Japan, Zhou went to France in 1920 on the work-study program; he joined the French cell of the CCP in late 1921.

After his return to China, Zhou became the political director of the Whampoa Military Academy in Guangdong province. The commandant of Whampoa was Chiang Kai-shek, who eventually turned on Zhou and ordered his death. Zhou escaped and went underground, organizing urban laborers. When urban areas became too dangerous, Zhou escaped to Mao's mountain retreat. In 1934-35, Zhou commanded the first stage of the Long March. Zhou's support of Mao was critical to the development of the CCP along Maoist lines.

When the Second United Front of the KMT-CCP was established to fight against the Japanese, Zhou served as the CCP representative in the KMT capital of Chongqing, meeting with both KMT and American officials. When WWII ended, Zhou returned to the CCP forces and represented the CCP in subsequent futile negotiations with the KMT. When Mao proclaimed the PRC on 1 October 1949, Zhou was by his side. Zhou was the PRC's Foreign Minister, and from 1954 until his death, he was the PRC's Premier. Charming and urbane, Zhou presented the PRC's face to the diplomatic world and developed favorable relationships with many countries. Zhou staged one of the diplomatic coups of the twentieth century when he greeted President Richard Nixon on the tarmac of the Beijing airport in September 1972.

Zhou has long been regarded as the "Great Pragmatist" who put the needs of the Chinese masses above all else. An ardent nationalist, Zhou was staunchly communist and, even more strongly, a backer of Mao. In recent years, his public image within the PRC has been eroded by a re-evaluation of his apparent tacit endorsement of the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Zhou has been called an enigma, and remains one of the least discussed of the founders of the PRC

Zhu De: (jew duh) 1886-1976. Zhu had been trained as a soldier and served in the military for most of his life. Commanding a warlord army in the 1920s, he became convinced that communism and Mao Zedong's approach were key to China's future during the abortive Autumn uprising of 1927. He left his warlord employer and joined Mao's forces, taking with him some of his own troops. Zhu was a military adviser on the Long March, and helped to form the PLA. He was regarded as the father of the modern PRC military structure, and given the title of Marshal.