The Political Consequences Of April 26th Editorial

If CCP is not defeated, history will repeat itself. China will not be able to embark on the road to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. Defeating CCP is a necessity for justice to prevail.

Original article

Translation: Chinadoll

Editor: XO酱

Image from the Internet

It is April 26th again. For those who have been through the June 4th movement, we knew well what April 26th represents.

The People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Official Newspaper, published an editorial titled “Fly high the banner of opposing unrest” on the front page on April 24th of 1989. It called the students and citizens memorials and protests of Hu Yaobang, the former General Secretary of the CCP Central Committee, as serious disruption of public order and being incited by few with ulterior motives. The editorial intensified the conflict between the CCP and the protesters and was considered a prelude to the subsequent June 4th Tiananmen Massacre.

The editorial quotes the draconian Deng Xiaoping “This is a planned conspiracy. The riots fundamentally deny the leadership of the CCP and the socialist system. This is a serious political struggle before the whole Party and the people of this country.” It completely stigmatized previous student movements and triggered the April 27th protests of university students throughout Beijing.

In the early morning of April 27th, students from many universities in Beijing stormed out of their campuses and marched to Tiananmen Square to protest the April 26th editorial. It became one of the largest protests of the entire 1989 pro-democracy movement. There were slogans like “A revolutionary party is afraid of people’s voice – Deng Xiaoping ”, “Peaceful petition, never unrest”, “Nonsense People’s Daily”, “Fake news”, “Chinese Central TV, distort the truth”, “Dark Guangming Daily”.

Yang Shangkun, after consulting with Deng Xiaoping, assigned about 500 troops from a tank, engineering, and communication divisions of the 38th Army regiment to guard the People Great Hall and to stop the unrest. This was the second mobilization of troops at that time of the year where regular troops were mobilized to Beijing to attend to the CCP. It was also a rehearsal to suppress the protestors on June 4th.

It is a broad consensus now the if there was no April 26th editorial, there might not have been a June 4th massacre. The editorial clearly exacerbated the top leadership of the CCP, mainly between then General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who supported a more conciliatory response to the student protests, and Deng Xiaoping and the then Premier Li Peng, who wanted a tougher response. In the end, Zhao Ziyang stepped down in disgrace. The “April 26th Incident” became a key turning point for the hardliners to solve the problem by force.

The editorial related to the then Premier Li Peng, but also to the then Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee Li Ximing and Mayor Chen Xitong. Their one-sided negative exaggeration of the students’ protest at Deng Xiaoping’s home prompted him to make a series of fatal mistakes later.

The editorial described the student movement as “a planned conspiracy and an upheaval,” which led directly to the bloody June 4 crackdown and purges that followed. Since 1989, the progress of political reform in China has come to a complete halt, and the corruption and other phenomena that began under Jiang Zemin have become more serious. Fast forward to the current time under Xi Jinping, the political landscape in China has become completely degraded and more unstable. It has also led to more severe suppression of freedom of expression, text censors, and widespread convictions for speech. The road to democracy and human rights in China is nowhere in sight.

On the contrary, the war of public opinion against the independence of Hong Kong waged by the CCP in recent years is exactly a replica of the one against the unrest in 1989. It was first characterized as illegal, then exaggerated the impact on Hong Kong, before the final crackdown. The shadow of CCP’s April 26th editorial is still affecting the Chinese society.

If CCP is not defeated, history will repeat itself. China will not be able to embark on the road to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. Defeating CCP is a necessity for justice to prevail.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of GNEWS.org

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