Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
Chinese cities. Often these protests were joined and supported by
large nonstudent segments of urban populations.
On April 18, 5,000 students, largely from Beida, marched to Tiananmen
Square shouting slogans such as “Down with tyranny,”“Down with
corruption,” and “Long live democracy.” On April 22, Hu Yaobang's
funeral was held, and the eulogy was delivered by Zhao Ziyang,
another top official known to be very sympathetic with the students
and their high estimation of Hu. Students from all over China poured
into Beijing the next day to commemorate Hu and join in the protests,
and the government responded by imposing censorship. To counter
this, 35 Beijing universities staged a student strike. The burgeoning
movement and increasing boldness among the students irked Deng
Xiaoping, who probably felt personally insulted by some of the things
that were said about him, including a comparison of him with the
Dowager Empress Cixi. On April 26, the People's Daily,thegovern-
ment's main newspaper, published an editorial, probably written by
Deng himself, entitled “The Banner Against Turmoil Must Be Raised.”
The editorial claimed that the student movement was a riot planned by
a handful of depraved troublemakers and conspirators. Beijing's police
force forbade any unapproved demonstrations or marches.
This unwise and intemperate editorial was a red rag to a bull as far as
the students were concerned, and deadlock, not dialogue, resulted from
it. The editorial polarized the confrontation between the students and
the government in stark black-and-white terms and seemingly left no
room for compromise or understanding. It was grievously insulting to
thousands of students, and ultimately it was counterproductive.
Thousands more students joined in the protests, as much to dispute the
government's mischaracterization of their movement as to voice their
discontent with official corruption and the lack of freedom of expres-
sion. On the next day, April 27, 200,000 students marched in protest
in Beijing and were cheered on by more than a million onlookers. On
April 28, Wuer Kaixi, a hot-blooded young Uighur from China's
northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region, presented demands for
liberalization and dialogue with the government. The next day a high
official did meet for some discussion with several student leaders, but
Wuer Kaixi was pointedly not invited. On April 30, several students
were allowed to meet with high government officials, including the
mayor of Beijing. In an attempt to defuse a potentially volatile situation
with the student protestors, Zhao Ziyang stated on May 3 that the
Chinese Communist Party supported student demands for an end to
corruption and more development for education. Notably absent from
Search WWH ::

Custom Search