On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. Although the story of the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement has been told before from the viewpoint of t On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. Although the story of the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement has been told before from the viewpoint of the student demonstrators and the foreign press corps, never before have we been privy to the view from Zhongnanhai, the parklike compound in the center of Beijing that is the seat of China's ruling Party and government offices. In The Tiananmen Papers, the story of the 1989 demonstrations is told for the first time in the words of the leaders who made the decision to crush it. In this extraordinary collection of hundreds of internal government and Communist Party documents, we learn how the growing student movement of April and May 1989 split the ruling elite into factions that sought radically different solutions to the unrest that was spreading across the nation. The material also reveals how the most important decisions were made not by formal political institutions but by the eight "Elders," an extra-constitutional final court of appeal whose most important voice belonged to Deng Xiaoping, who was ostensibly retired from all government posts except one. The book includes the minutes of the crucial meetings at which the Elders decided to cashier the pro-reform Party secretary Zhao Ziyang and to replace him with Jiang Zemin, and to declare martial law and finally to send the troops to drive the students from the Square and off the streets. The documents reveal that if left to their own preferences the three-man majority of China's highest formal decision-making body, the five-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, would have voted to persist in dialogue with the students instead of declaring martial law. Had they done so, China's recent history and its relations with the West would have been very different. Dialogue with the students would have tipped the balance toward political reform, and China today might well be an open society or even an electoral democracy, possibly under the rule of a reformed Communist Party. Instead, the divided Politburo Standing Committee honored a secret commitment to refer serious disagreements to the Elders, who chose stability over reform, dismissed Zhao, deployed force, "saved the revolution," and elevated Jiang, the man who rules China to this day. The result has been over a decade of political stasis at home and strained relations with the West. The texts of the documents in this book were made available by individuals in China who wish to establish the truth of this historic incident and thereby restart the impetus toward political reform that was arrested by the tragic events of 1989. The compiler of this material, who uses the pseudonym Zhang Liang, has worked extensively with the respected scholars Andrew J. Nathan and Perry Link to produce this landmark volume. Just as the Pentagon Papers laid bare the secret American decision making behind the Vietnam War and changed forever our view of the nation's political leaders, so too will The Tiananmen Papers alter our perception of how and why the events of June 4 took the shape they did. Many of the most powerful leaders in China today owe their positions to the battles fought behind the scenes at Zhongnanhai in 1989, and this book will bring their actions under close scrutiny for the first time. Its publication is thus a landmark event not only for the history of China, but for its future as well. ...Continua Nascondi
Basically a collection of materials that were already known to the China Specialist circle, previously in the form of rumors. Andrew Nathan could have written stuff way more substantial academically than this.