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Contemporary Chinese society

Open Posted By: ahmad8858 Date: 12/09/2020 High School Dissertation & Thesis Writing

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Category: Engineering & Sciences Subjects: Biology Deadline: 24 Hours Budget: $80 - $120 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

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1. For recent reviews of literature, see Roger V. Gould (1991, 1993), McAdam and Paulsen (1993), and Zhao Dingxin (1998).

E C O L O G Y - B A S E D M O B I L I Z A T I O N

A N D M O V E M E N T D Y N A M I C S

H aving examined how the state’s behavior and people’s per- ceptions of it shaped the development of the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, we now turn our attention more fully

to the movement participants. A central question in social movement research has been that of the mechanisms of partici- pant mobilization. Since the 1970s, social movement scholars have put great emphasis on the role of formal organizations and movement networks in movement mobilization.1 Currently, the idea that organizations and pre-existing networks are the basis of movement mobilization has become conventional wisdom. Therefore, when I started my research I designed questions to probe in that direction. As expected, I found many signs of or- ganization- and network-based communication and mobiliza- tion. Yet many of these instances could not be understood with- out taking campus ecology into account; moreover, the ecology of university campuses in Beijing facilitated student mobiliza- tion beyond its encouragement of movement organizations and student networks. Let me provide an initial example.

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2. See McAdam (1986) for a distinction between low-risk and high-risk activism. 3. Ecology-dependent strategies are a relatively stable set of mobilization strategies in that their effec-

tiveness and their likelihood of being adopted by movement activists rest largely on particular ecological conditions.

Almost all campuses in Beijing are separated from the outside world by brick walls with only a few entrances, which are guarded by the university’s own se- curity forces. During the 1989 Movement, no policemen or soldiers ever went inside a campus to repress students. After talking to students, I found that the existence of campus walls was important for the development of the movement. Because of the walls, roads on campus were not part of the public road system, and thus the police could not get inside without clear consent from school au- thorities. Here, even school authorities that were unsympathetic to the move- ment might not be interested in calling in the police to handle students. For if they did so, they would alienate the students and would have more troubles in dealing with students after the police left. Therefore, the simple existence of walls created a low-risk environment and facilitated student mobilization.2

This type of finding pushed me to look more seriously at the role of cam- pus ecology in student mobilization. I found that campus ecology affected stu- dent mobilization during the movement in the following ways: (1) It facilitated the spread of dissident ideas in the period before the movement and the trans- mission of news about particular events during the movement. (2) It nurtured many dormitory-based student networks. These networks were the basis of mu- tual influence and even coercion among students and therefore sustained a high rate of student participation. (3) It shaped students’ spatial activities on the campus, creating a few places that most students had to pass or stay in daily. These places became centers of student mobilization. (4) The concentration of many universities in one district encouraged mutual imitation and inter- university competition for activism among students from different universi- ties. (5) The ecology also facilitated the formation of many ecology-dependent strategies of collective action. Those actions patterned the dynamics of the movement.3 The above findings and their theoretical implications will be the focus of this chapter.

Before moving on, let me note that it was not just student mobilization dur- ing the movement that was heavily based on ecological factors. Resident mo- bilization during the martial law period was primarily centered in the neigh- borhoods, and the movement was able to sustain itself after martial law largely because of the ecology of Tiananmen Square (chapter 6). However, this chap- ter deals strictly with student mobilization (especially during the early stage of the movement). This is, in part, because since the early mobilization faced

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4. See Curtis and Zurcher (1973), Fernandez and McAdam (1989), McAdam and Paulsen (1993), and Rosenthal et al. (1985) for the concept.

strong efforts at repression and involved more uncertainties, campus ecology was crucial to sustaining it. After the students had successfully challenged the regime, the perceived risk of joining a movement greatly declined. In fact, the risk diminished to the point when after mid-May going to Tiananmen Square became a common pastime and a fun activity.

State-Society Relations and Mobilization Structures

The question immediately arises of why the 1989 Movement had a mobiliza- tion structure that was distinctively different from that of most social move- ments occurring under democratic settings in the West. My main argument is that the mobilization structure of social movements is first shaped by state- society relations. In addition, the structure of movement mobilization is also related to the type of social movement. The mobilization of a student move- ment, for example, tends to depend on the conditions of the students’ unique living and studying environment. Let me briefly discuss three ideal types of mo- bilization structures in reference to state-society relations and the types of so- cial movements.

Some social movements mobilize primarily through formal organizations. This happens, for example, in mainstream contemporary Western society, where associational life is highly developed and politically sensitive individuals are sit- uated under what some scholars call “multi-organizational fields.” 4 Since many such organizations are not territory-based and have infrastructures with which to reach their members that are more effective than interpersonal networks, ecological conditions are less likely to be a major factor in their movement mobilization. Many social movements in the contemporary West, especially some of the new social movements, have a mobilization process approximate to this type.

Most mobilization processes, however, involve a mixture of formal organi- zations, interpersonal networks centered on people’s immediate living and work- ing environments, and direct ecological exposure. Thus ecology plays various roles in different mobilization processes. Due to university students’ unique living and studying conditions, the impact of campus ecology on movement mobilization has drawn a certain amount of attention. For instance, many ob- servers of student movements in the 1960s have noticed the facilitating effect of

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5. Berk (1974), Heirich (1971), and Lofland (1970). 6. Heirich (1971, 59– 65). 7. Kassow (1989). 8. Chow (1967) and Wasserstrom (1991). 9. See Roger V. Gould (1995) and Mann (1993, ch. 15). Tilly (1976), Bezucha (1974), and Aminzade

(1993) have also discussed the characteristics of traditional communities and their importance to movement mobilization in Western Europe. In particular, Tilly and Schweitzer (1982) have an excellent analysis of how the redistribution of economic activities, administrative activities, and residents in London in the years between 1758 and 1834 affected the spatial routine of the people and consequently the geographic locations of collective contentions.

10. For the community movement examples, see Delgado (1986) and Perry, Gillespie, and Parker (1976).

11. Feagin and Hahn (1973); Fogelson (1971).

the American campus on students’ participation in them.5 Max Heirich, in par- ticular, has convincingly described how a series of changes in campus layout at Berkeley during the 1950s made Berkeley students more available for political recruitment during the 1960s.6 The fact that campus ecology is conducive to student movements has also been noticed by scholars who have studied such movements in other nations. Kassow, for example, has written that the dining halls built by Nicholas II to provide students in Moscow with cheap meals turned out to be meeting places where students could trade news, make new contacts, and hold assemblies,7 and both Chow and Wasserstrom have ob- served that the congested living conditions on Chinese campuses facilitated stu- dent activism in early modern China.8

In addition to student movements, many other cases also point to the im- portance of ecology for movement mobilization. For example, in nineteenth- century Western Europe, when a nascent civil society coexisted with traditional communities, most social movements, such as Chartism in England and the Paris Commune, were staged by formal organizations. However, these formal organizations also relied heavily on the physical environment of the local com- munity to extend their mobilizational potential.9 In the contemporary West, some collective actions, such as community movements or the urban riots in America, also involved a process of mobilization that was dependent on ecol- ogy.10 As Feagin and Hahn and Fogelson mention, the sudden and massive riots in some American cities were made possible in part because of the densely populated black ghettos and because of the fact that the residents of those ghet- tos tended to spend a great deal of their leisure time out on the street.11

Finally, some social movements tend to have mobilization structures that are mainly based on ecology. This typically occurs in places where intermediate as- sociations are underdeveloped and associations beyond state control are illegal. In such cases, ecology and ecology-based networks and communications become

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12. The question is posed by Olson (1990, 16). 13. See, for example, Di Palma (1991), Ost (1990), Poznanski (1992), and Tismaneanu (1990). 14. See Laba (1991, ch. 2).

the only means on which a movement mobilization can count. Many social movements occurring in strong authoritarian regimes have a mobilization pro- cess close to this extreme because those states repress voluntary associations.

In the past, scholars have generally thought that communist regimes were highly stable because their repression was assisted by modern infrastructural and military technologies. This “totalitarian myth” disintegrated after revolu- tions swept across Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. Thereafter, the question “How can autocratic regimes that appear to have such awesome power over their citizens collapse so quickly?” became a puzzle.12 Thus far, most scholars have tried to address this question by emphasizing the role of “civil society” during Eastern Europe’s Revolutions.13 Yet judging by the nature of the former Eastern European regimes, it is conceivable that even in Hungary, Czechoslo- vakia, and Poland, where civil society was more developed, initial movement mobilization might have depended more on ecology and ecology-dependent strategies than on formal organizations or political networks. For example, I see similarities between mobilization structures in the 1989 Movement in Beijing and the strikes in Gdansk and Gdynia in 1970. According to Roman Laba, the strikes in Gdansk and Gdynia were initiated by a few activists who moved from one workplace to another, chanting to attract followers.14 They also pushed a sound car to different shipyards to draw more people. The existing organiza- tions at the time, such as the Workers’ Defense Committee or the church, had nothing to do with the strike at this stage. The importance of shipyard ecology is clearly revealed by Laba’s book even though it does not focus on the issue of movement mobilization.

An authoritarian regime may crush intermediate associations, but it can- not destroy ecology-centered human interactions. In fact, as it is revealed in this chapter, the process of centralization under an authoritarian regime often strengthens ecology-based human interactions. The huge capacity of ecology- centered mobilization at the time of political crisis explains, in part, why the seemingly mighty communist regime is actually fragile.

Universities in Beijing

Before presenting a case study of how campus ecology in Beijing facilitated stu- dent mobilization, we need some knowledge of the physical layout of Beijing

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15. Du (1992). 16. Zhang Jian and Zhou Yuliang (1989). 17. Educational Statistics Yearbook of China (1989); Zhongguo Gaodeng Jiaoyu Daquan (1989).

campuses as well as of typical student life on campus. I start with the univer- sity district in Beijing.

the haidian university district

In Beijing, most universities are located in and around the Haidian District. This immense university compound was the legacy of the planned economy in the 1950s. Aimed at “learning from the Soviet Union” and at establishing an educational system suitable for the massive reconstruction of the country, the giant university district acquired its current shape in two separate phases during the 1950s. The first step was to restructure the existing universities and to establish People’s University. The two best and largest universities in the capital—that is, Beijing University and Qinghua University—acquired their current structure and location at this time. The second effort was to build a large number of Soviet-style polytechnic institutions in the same area.15 A major event was the construction of bada xueyuan (the eight big institutions of higher learning), when eight polytechnic institutions were simultaneously built along a single road. By 1956, when the second project was completed, Beijing already had thirty-one universities with an enrollment of 76,700, compared to thirteen universities and a total enrollment of 17,442 in 1949.16 The university district continued to expand: by 1989 Beijing had sixty-seven institutions of higher learning, with 162,576 boarding students at the undergraduate and grad- uate levels.17

campuses in beijing

University campuses in China are structurally similar to each other. Since Bei- jing University is the center of student activism in Beijing as well as in China as a whole, this section uses Beijing University to illustrate the typical campus in Beijing.

As shown on the map of Beijing University (figure 8.1), most universities in China are separated from the outside by a brick wall. Each university has its own restaurants, student dining halls, cinema, hospital, post office, barber- shops, grocery stores, sports facilities, recreational areas, and other such facili- ties. They are so self-contained that diligent students can live on campus for a whole semester without ever going outside.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:51.

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figure 8.1. A map of Beijing University, showing the ecological concentration of students on campus.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:51.

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figure 8.2. The master’s student dormitories at Beijing University. (Photograph by the author.)

Most university students in China board and live in campus dormitories. Classmates are usually assigned to several connected rooms in a dormitory. At Beijing University, the student dormitories occupy forty-nine buildings. They are located at the lower right side of the map. Buildings numbered 28 to 43 are for undergraduate students. With six to eight students living in each dormitory room, these dormitories held a total of 9,271 students in 1988. Buildings num- bered 45 through 48 are for master’s students, whereas doctoral students live in dormitories 25 and 26. With four master’s students or two doctoral students liv- ing in each dormitory room, 2,893 students lived in these six buildings in 1988. Finally, buildings numbered 16 through 24 are dormitories for young unmar- ried teachers. The remaining dormitories housed foreign and special students in short-term training programs. Figure 8.2 is the exterior of the master’s stu- dent dormitories in Beijing University.

student life on campus

According to my informants, in the late 1980s many students in Beijing Uni- versity (and other universities as well) did not devote much time to studying. Many students, especially males, got up only a few minutes before their first class began and went to class without breakfast. Class absence was especially

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:51.

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figure 8.3. An undergraduate student dormitory room at People’s University. (Photograph by the author.)

18. Xu and Liu (1985).

high for students majoring in the social sciences and humanities or in those courses designed for political education (chapter 3). The first classes at Beijing University started at eight, but some students got up as late as ten, missing three or four classes in the morning. These students might stay in the dormitory un- til lunch, at about twelve. A nap was common after lunch. Diligent students got up at two, but others might get up at three or even four. Dinner started at five. Activities after dinner varied. Some went to the library or to conferences. Oth- ers went to dances, to movies, or out with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Still others remained in the dormitory rooms chatting or playing poker or mah- jongg. Most students returned to the dormitories around ten. Curfew was at eleven. Chatting after curfew was a common pastime; students called this wotanhui, which means meeting while lying in bed. Such wotanhui could go on as late as 2:00 a.m.

Some students described the dormitory, classroom, and dining hall as the “iron triangle” of their lives. According to a study of student dormorites, the time that students spent in their dormitory rooms during a day was more than the time they spent on all other activities combined.18 Figure 8.3 shows the in- side of a typical undergraduate student dormitory room in People’s University.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:51.

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19. In the following, I will take the impact of homogeneity as an established fact and focus only on how design factors of Beijing universities shaped the density, distribution, and spatial movement of Beijing students in a way that facilitated student mobilization.

Campus Ecology and Patterns of Mobilization

In the interviews, I found that the campus ecology in Beijing facilitated the transmission of dissident ideas and information about movement activities. It squeezed students into many small dormitory-based student networks which sustained a high level of student participation, encouraged interuniversity com- petition for activism, and upheld many ecology-dependent strategies of collec- tive action. I will discuss these in turn in this section. In the next section, I will present a case study of the April 27 student demonstration, to show how ecol- ogy-based mobilization mechanisms manifested themselves in one of the most important events of the 1989 Movement.19

dissident ideas and the transmission of information regarding the movement

Most students live in campus dormitories. With six to eight students living in each dormitory room, a few dozen classmates of the same sex living in several closely situated dormitory rooms, and several hundred students in each build- ing, a dormitory area of a university in Beijing can accommodate up to ten thousand students. Many informants reported that they usually chatted in the dormitory room from one to several hours each day. Although politics and po- litical grievances were not always the topic, they did constitute a major theme when the socioeconomic situation in China was worsening. As I discussed in chapter 4, when the student political control system in universities greatly de- clined during the late 1980s, dormitory rooms became the primary locations in which nonconforming ideologies spread and achieved dominance.

The communication of dissident ideas was also facilitated by the ecology of the Haidian District. The distance between most universities in Beijing is less than half an hour by bicycle. Such short distances made interuniversity com- munication extremely easy. Before the 1989 Movement, famous dissidents and liberal intellectuals were often invited to give talks in various universities. If a talk was given by someone famous, students from the other universities would go there by bicycle. As soon as the movement started, the very first action of many activists was to go to other universities (especially the major ones) to see

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:51.

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20. Calhoun (1994, 170). 21. In the language of game theory, this is a prisoners’ dilemma game involving a small number of

people and with a large number of iterations. As Axelrod (1984) has nicely demonstrated, repeated en- counters between two players in a game will make cooperation the only robust and optimum long-term so- lution. In other words, it is actually unnecessary to introduce Chinese culture at this point because sense of solidarity or friendship will at most only function as an initial condition of the Axelrodian game to speed up the rise and dominance of conformist behavior.

what was happening. They went there to read big-character posters, listen to speeches, and establish connections. Thus, from the very beginning, campus ecology gave a largely spontaneous movement the appearance of a coordinated action.

sanctions against free riders

During the 1989 Movement, students would often march together in a demon- stration by school, class, and often major. This form of collective action has been explained as a manifestation of Chinese culture, which encourages soli- darity, loyalty, and friendship.20 However, to explain a sign of group solidarity in terms of a group culture is tautological. More importantly, this line of rea- soning neglects the structural basis of this solidarity and thus runs the danger of assuming that all the students participated in the movement for the same rea- son. In my study, I found that students not only often marched together by school, class, and major, but also by dormitory room. However, they did this not just out of a sense of group solidarity but because the campus ecology and dormitory-based student networks were the bases of mutual influence, persua- sion, and even coercion among students.

The key here is the dense living environment on campus, especially dormi- tory rooms. With six to eight students living in the same dormitory room for a period of four years, it is as if every student was forced to play an Axelrodian game in which cooperation is the only optimum long-term solution.21 There- fore, once movement participation was regarded by most students as a morally desirable action, avoiding participation became very difficult for those who ac- tually did not intend to participate in the beginning. Among fifty-six student informants, fourteen reported open attacks by active participants on less active ones in dormitories. Students in the same or nearby dormitory rooms often checked each other’s behavior. One student commented:

All students joined the movement after several demonstrations. Students who did not go would feel isolated and hated. For example, when the government asked us

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22. Feigon (1990, 148).

to resume class, only one student went to class. As a result, that student was accused of being a renegade. (no. 4)

Another student described what happened in his dormitory room on the eve- ning of April 26, which made him eventually join the April 27 student demon- stration:

[When the April 26 People’s Daily editorial was broadcast,] students in our dormi- tory room were very angry. Many of them decided to go to demonstrate. They asked me. I said I did not want to go. . . . They were mad at me. . . . They quarreled with me angrily. I found this unbearable and thought, we are fellow students, why should you talk to me like this? . . . There was a party member in our dormitory room who did not want to go either. . . . He told us that they had just had a meet- ing. It was explained in the meeting that there would be a lot of policemen on the way the next day. He asked the other students not to go. . . . Then people poured out their anger toward him. (no. 42)

Because of the high student density in dormitory buildings, coercion among students could sometimes go beyond a dormitory room. Feigon, for example, mentions how a TOEFL teacher at People’s University was accused by his friends of being a traitor because he had held a TOEFL class during the class boycott.22 However, no one has given an account as vivid as one of my infor- mants (no. 62):

During the whole process of the movement, one event left me with a very deep im- pression. In the Law Department, there were quite a few graduate students of the 1989 class who did not care about the movement at all and played mah-jongg in their dormitory rooms every day. I knew this from a notice board in no. 46 build- ing. It read: “Since the hunger strike, several scoundrels on the fifth floor have not cared about the movement at all, and have lost all their conscience. They have been locking themselves in their dorms and playing mah-jongg every day. We are dis- gusted with their behavior.” . . . I also remember a line on a big-character poster. It said: “Those red noses and black hearts are playing mah-jongg even when the other students are on a hunger strike. Beware of your dog noses!”

However, most pressure was subtler. When a follow-up question was asked (“What did you think of those students who did not participate in the move- ment at all?”), the following was a rather typical answer: “We did not care

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23. Interuniversity competition was also encouraged by the fact that, as the ideological legitimacy of the state declined, some students took activism as a point of honor and equated the level of activism with the prestige of their university.

about those students. Because these people did not interact with classmates even at regular times, no one paid much attention to them” (no. 37). In other words, nonparticipating students were labeled as deviants by their classmates. Obviously, such mutual checking could effectively sustain movement partici- pation largely because of the particularities of the relevant living conditions.

interuniversity competition for activism

Most of the 67 universities in Beijing are located close to one another. The close proximity of universities facilitated mutual imitation and interuniversity competition for activism, which also sustained student participation.23 In the interviews, I found that some students from People’s University were proud of being the leading troop in the April 27 demonstration, which was considered a highly risky action. Students from the University of Political Science and Law were proud of the numerous firsts that they earned during the movement, de- spite being a small university:

Later, we calculated that our university owned thirteen firsts. We were the first uni- versity that went to demonstrate on the street and that went on a class boycott. The first chairman of The Autonomous Student Union was our student. The head- quarters of the Dialogue Delegation was located in our university, and many oth- ers. . . . We were very proud of that. The fame of our university has grown there- after. (no. 59)

Finally, when students from Beijing University talked about their activities during the 1989 Movement, they talked as if they were the unquestioned lead- ers of the movement. Their most eloquent slogan was: “The whole nation does not fall asleep as long as Beijing University is still awake” (no. 51). One student leader in the University of Political Science and Law commented on Beijing University this way:

When our university demonstrated on the street on April 17, Beijing University rushed to Tiananmen the same evening. . . . Students at Beijing University always feel that they are different from the rest of the universities. Therefore, when they felt they might lose the leadership [as in early May] they came out with the radical tactic of a hunger strike. (no. 60)

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24. Roger V. Gould (1991, 1993, 1995).

Such comments should not be taken too literally. However, they do reveal in- tense interuniversity competition during the 1989 Movement. It was the ecol- ogy of the Haidian District—the concentration of so many universities in such a small area—that made such competition extensive, instantaneous, and interactive.

the development of ecology-dependent strategies of mobilization

So far, I have shown how campus ecology facilitated student mobilization and why patterns of student mobilization during the 1989 Movement cannot be properly understood without a knowledge of campus ecology. At this level, my analysis still points to student solidarity and therefore supports resource mo- bilization theories, and especially Gould’s analysis of mobilization during the Paris Commune.24 In the following, however, I will present another set of find- ings which are equally important to the student mobilization but which are nevertheless not clearly related to student networks.

Most universities in Beijing have similar spatial layouts, which regulate the daily life and spatial routine of students on campus. During the 1898 Move- ment these layouts facilitated the formation of many ecology-dependent strate- gies of student mobilization. For example, at each university big-character posters and announcements were concentrated, and mobilization was initiated, only in specific places. These places emerged because they were central to stu- dents’ daily lives. The famous Triangle at Beijing University, the third student dining hall at People’s University, and the tenth dining hall at Qinghua Uni- versity are such places. For example, the Triangle is located between student dormitories, the library, classrooms, and several dining halls (figure 8.1). The post office, the bookstore, and several other shops are also in the vicinity. Whenever students go to the classroom, library, dining hall, post office, or back to their dormitories, they have to pass the Triangle.

The most important student movement organization to emerge during the 1989 Movement—the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union—was actually a very weak organization with neither a prior history nor grassroots membership (chapter 6). However, it was able to organize several large-scale demonstrations that challenged the state. How could it organize demonstrations so effectively? Apart from the dormitory factors, the campus layout also greatly enhanced its ability to carry out its role effectively. At Beijing University, for example, when

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25. Burt (1992). 26. Granovetter (1973).

student activists wanted to organize a demonstration, all they needed to do was just “put several posters at the Triangle, write down the time and location of the gathering, the purposes of the demonstration, and the slogans to be used, and then wait in the place and bring students out on that day” (no. 69). If not enough students showed up, the activists usually marched inside the campus along the avenues between dormitory buildings. In my study, I found that marching along the avenues between dormitories before demonstrations on the street was a standard way for Beijing students to achieve a high level of mobi- lization; this is another example of an ecology-dependent strategy. For instance, on the evening of April 17, 1989, a few hundred students were milling around the Beijing University Triangle area, looking at big-character posters and mak- ing speeches. At this point, someone just back from downtown informed them that people from the University of Political Science and Law had already taken to the street. Some students became very excited and wanted to stage a demon- stration at Tiananmen Square as well. Only around two hundred students fol- lowed them. These students marched inside the dormitory area first, however. As they shouted and made noise, more and more students were attracted and came out of their dormitories. The size of the formation gradually swelled from a few hundred to between five and six thousand, and eventually they marched out of the campus. This was the first student demonstration by the students of Beijing University.

Now, to what extent can we understand this type of mobilization process in terms of networks and solidarity? The closest network explanation of this event holds that Beijing University had two types of network during the 1989 Move- ment; an activist-based movement network and many structurally equivalent dormitory-based networks of friends. Strong ties existed in each type of net- work. Within each dormitory-based network, some students were exposed to dissident ideas earlier and were sympathetic to the movement. Thus, when they saw the demonstration outside, they persuaded and even coerced their fellow roommates to join in. Here, campus ecology was important only to the extent that it connected a social movement network with all the dormitory-based networks simultaneously. If one is preoccupied with modeling movement mobilization as a networking process, one may consider the ecological linkage as “structural holes,” 25 or weak ties.26

This type of explanation is not totally unreasonable. Even with the size of Beijing University, it could still be argued that all students might be in the same

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27. See Laumann and Pappi (1976) or Wasserman and Faust (1997) for similar definitions. 28. Laumann and Pappi (1976) and Laumann and Knoke (1987, 12–13). 29. In reality, the distinction is not always that clear. A general rule is that the more privileged and spe-

cific the linkages among the nodes, the more such linkages are subject to meaningful sociological analysis.

network through either chains of friends or a certain structural equivalence. However, this network explanation has two problems. First, it is very difficult to conceive of shouting and making noise in a place as a network mode of communication extending to all those who can hear it. Social networks are commonly defined as a finite set of nodes (actors) linked by lines (social rela- tions).27 To make network analysis a meaningful tool in sociology, those lines are usually confined to social relations that are relatively stable and that can be specified prior to a study. They are also restricted to exchanges of privi- leged and specific information and resources or to boundary overlapping among actors.28 For example, if there is a loud clap of thunder in the middle of the night which wakes up many people, we cannot say that these people acquire information about the storm through social networks. However, if someone is not awakened by the thunder and does not know about the storm until in- formed by a friend, we can comfortably say that such a person acquires this piece of information through a network relation.29 Obviously, those students who shouted outside targeted everyone and anyone who lived in the dormito- ries rather than a specific group of people. In other words, information about the demonstration was passed not through prior existing ties but through nearly simultaneous direct contact with all who lived on campus. The mode of information transmission was thus diffused and nonprivileged. Network analy- sis loses its analytical power if we interpret information transmission of this kind as networked.

Second, the role of networks for movement mobilization is not just to pro- vide a means of communication but to evoke an already existing sense of soli- darity. In other words, if we argue that students were mobilized that evening through networks, we should expect that students who came out of their dor- mitories would sort roughly into two categories: those that emerged out of a sense of solidarity, and those who came out because they were persuaded or co- erced by their roommates. However, this was not the case on that evening. This was still April 17, only two days after Hu Yaobang’ sudden death. At this stage, as it is described in chapter 6, most students in Beijing had not been mobilized politically. Therefore, while some joined the march on that evening out of var- ious grievances or a sense of solidarity, most followed the march without a po- litical reason. In fact, according to one of my informants (no. 63), more than half of the students came out of dormitories and followed the march wearing

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30. When they arrived at Tiananmen Square, the size of demonstration was only around 2,000, in- cluding many students from other universities who joined along their way to the Square.

31. The distinction made here bears similarities to Tilly’s (1978, 73) distinction between defensive and offensive styles of mobilization.

slippers and gradually left the march before it arrived at Tiananmen Square. He and many of his friends in fact followed the demonstration simply because they wanted to kanrenao (literally, “watch the fun”).30 In short, there was no clear ev- idence of persuasion and coercion among students that evening. No common grievances, identity, or network-based mobilization can be reconstructed.

What about the intensive persuasion and coercion inside the dormitory which I have discussed earlier? There was a threshold: the majority of students only acted as sympathetic audiences most of the time during the movement and did not care about their fellow roommates’ decisions about participating in the movement. However, on some occasions the state’s reaction to the movement was deemed unreasonable by most students. At that point, students started to share their anger in dormitories, and more committed students started to per- suade and even coerce the less active ones to join protest activities.31 Students’ reaction to the April 26 People’s Daily editorial, to which I will now turn, repre- sents one such occasion.

The April 27 Demonstration

On April 26, the People’s Daily published an editorial that labeled the movement as a planned conspiracy and antigovernment turmoil (chapter 7). The contents of the editorial were broadcast on the April 25 evening news. The students were deeply alienated by the outdated language that the editorial used. They decided to defy the editorial by a demonstration on April 27.

I choose the April 27 student demonstration as a case study to illustrate the importance of campus ecology in the process of mobilization. This dem- onstration was one of the most important events of the 1989 Movement. It marked the first large-scale open defiance of the Chinese state since the com- munists took power. The success of the demonstration in many ways shaped the subsequent dynamics of the movement, leading finally to the crackdown. Equally important, the demonstration was perceived by many students as an ex- tremely risky event, perhaps even more so than the night of June 3. Some stu- dents even wrote wills before joining the demonstration. Though the demon- stration was not suppressed, the state did set up many police lines to try to stop the students from entering Tiananmen Square. (The major police lines that the

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32. Wu Ren (1990b).

demonstrators encountered are marked in figure 8.4.) The existence of state force and the perceived danger pushed students to utilize any possible re- sources, including ecological conditions, to make the demonstration successful.

After hearing the editorial and the news of the proposed demonstration, stu- dents as well as activists gathered in dormitory rooms to express their anger and to discuss what would happen if they went out. Most expected a harsh crack- down, but many still decided to participate. The feeling of injustice was too strong for students to succumb to threats. However, most students were also extremely worried. Here, except for the coercion that I have discussed earlier, more determined roommates also acted as counselors to the less committed ones. One student (no. 59) recalled:

Several of my roommates were very worried about the possible consequences of the next day’s demonstration. I had to comfort them. They said that I was very persua- sive and should share my ideas with other students in the university. They suggested that I use the intercom in the porter’s room. The intercom was installed for the porter to get a particular student when there was a phone call for her/him. . . . We turned on all the switches so that people in every dormitory room could hear but no one outside would know.

Meanwhile, the broadcasting stations of the Students’ Autonomous Unions in many universities repeatedly aired speeches from student activists, young teach- ers, and famous dissidents denouncing the editorial and the government and seeking to boost the morale of students. Places like the Triangle in Beijing Uni- versity were crowded with people for the whole day of April 26. They made speeches, shouted slogans, and sang songs. Activists’ emotions were kept high.

The demonstration took three routes to Tiananmen Square. Students from Beijing University, People’s University, Qinghua University, Northern Com- munication, Beijing Agriculture, and other schools took the western route. The assemblies from the eight big institutions of higher learning, the University of Political Science and Law, and Beijing Normal University were among those that took the middle route. Finally, a few other universities took the eastern route.32 Figure 8.4 also illustrates the paths of the western and middle routes.

However, the students did not march to Tiananmen Square directly. They zigzagged. In what follows, by centering on the path of the demonstrators from

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figure 8.4. The west and middle routes of student protest and police lines during the April 27 demonstration.

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People’s University and the University of Political Science and Law, I will ex- plain how and why students marched this way, as well as other ecology-related issues.

On the morning of April 27, some students appeared at People’s Uni- versity. Among them quite a few were from Beijing Agriculture University. Yet, under enormous pressure, no one dared to march out of the campus as planned. One informant (no. 39) even saw a student leader with a red micro- phone announcing that the demonstration was canceled, but many students re- mained. After quite some time, one student came out and suggested marching inside the university. Many followed. After they had marched and shouted for five or six circuits of the university, more and more people had been attracted and had joined in. The students became increasingly excited and eventually rushed out of the gate. However, when they were out, they did not march directly to Tiananmen Square. Intimidated by a police line at the Friendship Hotel intersection, not far away from People’s University, the students marched in the opposite direction to try to meet the students from Beijing University and Qinghua University.

Here, many liaison men (most were male students) played an important role. The liaison men coordinated the demonstrators by informing the demonstra- tors of the sizes and locations of different police lines as well as of the activi- ties of students in other universities. While some liaison men were assigned the task by movement activists, others were simply students who rode bicycles from place to place in order to see more of the demonstration. On the way, they passed the news. Now, as soon as the students of People’s University marched out of the campus, some liaison men rushed to Beijing University and shouted in front of the gate of Beijing University: “People’s University has come out. What are you waiting for?” Students in Beijing University then came out.

There was a police line at the Huangzhuang intersection. However, with students from Beijing University, Qinghua University, and People’s University on either side of it, the police line collapsed. The students joined up and marched back to the Friendship Hotel intersection. The Northern Communi- cation students and students from some other universities also arrived at the southern side of the intersection, without yet daring to push away the police line. Now, with students from Beijing University and Qinghua University at its rear and students from many other universities at the other side of the police line, the students headed by People’s University easily pushed the police away from the Friendship Hotel intersection.

This was a historic breakthrough for students of the west as well as the middle routes. Many students who had stayed outside the formation joined

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33. The student demonstration was separated from urban residents by picket lines on each side. See the next chapter for discussion of the reason behind this strategy.

34. Here, the student said his university lost face because students in his university did not participate in the Friendship Hotel incident, perceiving it as too dangerous. See the earlier section on interuniversity competition for more discussion of this issue.

in.33 Liaison men spread in different directions to inform the students of their own universities. The size of the formation expanded enormously. An infor- mant (no. 70) vividly described what was happening at the Friendship Hotel intersection:

When students of People’s University met the police lines, they dared not march forward and asked students from Beijing University to go first. But students of Bei- jing University did not want to go either. . . . At the moment, quite a few self- appointed organizers from the outside stepped in and commanded demonstrators to line up well, to keep a good order and so on. As the intersection became more and more crowded, people from the outside repeatedly shouted: “Go . . . go . . . Let’s go together!” Finally students of People’s University started to move forward. When they confronted the police lines, students talked to policemen about consti- tutional rights. The policemen had no reaction. Then students started to push. The police lines collapsed soon after. On seeing this, organizers and students from dif- ferent universities rushed back to get their own students. I heard a student from Beijing Industrial University say that we lost face today and rushed back quickly.34

Students from those universities then waited at different intersections. The scale of the demonstration expanded enormously.

That morning many students rode bicycles from one university to another. On their way, they also passed news and therefore consciously or unconsciously coordinated the movement. One of my informants (no. 57) acted as a liaison man on that day:

When I got up in the morning, I saw that students in Beijing Teachers’ University were already marching at the campus stadium. I wanted to know what was hap- pening at People’s University. I went there by bicycle. By the time that I arrived, People’s University students had gone north to meet students from Beijing Univer- sity. I then followed. By the time that I met with the students of People’s Univer- sity they had already joined with students from Beijing University and moved back again. I then rode back to the Friendship Hotel intersection and watched. There were police lines there and students from Northern Communication had been stopped by them on the south side. When the big troops arrived, with efforts from both sides the police line soon collapsed. . . . As soon as students pushed policemen aside, I rode back to Beijing Teachers to see what they were doing there. I saw that

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students were sitting on the sidewalk outside their university. I passed the message: go quickly in the direction of Chegongzhuang, students from other universities are coming.

The University of Political Science and Law took the middle route. Initially, students in that university were not able to get out, for the president and a few other university authorities were standing in front of the gate claiming that it was too dangerous to go outside. They requested that the students confine their activities to the campus for their own safety. The president even begged the stu- dents not to join the demonstration. Facing a senior and respected president, most students hesitated. However, a few students had already gone to other universities to see what was happening there. When the news came back that students of Beijing Aviation University had broken one police line and were marching in their direction, the students in the University of Political Science and Law rushed out and moved south in the direction of Tiananmen Square. Meanwhile, picket lines were formed outside the demonstrators. Only about two hundred students were inside the picket lines. Including followers, the for- mation comprised no more than six to seven hundred people.

When they marched to Mingguangcun intersection, a police line stopped them. The students dared not march further. They withdrew and moved north to the University of Posts and Telecommunications. As one student (no. 60) recalled:

When we arrived at the University of Posts and Telecommunication, we shouted loudly outside their campus. I saw a lot of students who had been stopped inside their gate by some teachers. Many students were waving to us from the windows of their dormitory rooms. We shouted: “Come down! Come down!” Then more and more students jumped over the campus wall. Eventually students inside the Uni- versity of Posts and Telecommunications pushed their way out of the gate.

Meanwhile, more students from the University of Political Science and Law came over from the campus and more and more students outside the picket lines joined in. Students within the picket lines increased to some seven to eight hundred. Some other universities from the south, such as Central Finance, also joined. They then continued to march north. At Jimen Bridge they met with students from Beijing Aviation, Beijing Medical, and many other universities. The above-quoted informant recalled that he was already unable to see the two ends of the student formation after the two groups merged. Together they

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moved east to the Taipingzhuang intersection, then south to meet with students of Beijing Normal University.

During this entire time, liaison men continuously passed news of what had happened along the western route, a route taken by several of the most presti- gious universities. As they arrived at Beijing Normal University, news came from the west that students of Beijing University and People’s University had broken the Friendship Hotel police line. Students in the middle route cheered. They decided to join the western route. So they marched southwest, pushed away a police line at Huokou and eventually met the western route after the Xizhimen intersection.

Several witnesses recalled the moment as unforgettable. By the time the two groups met, all the intersections were filled with students and Beijing residents. People who stood on the Xizhimen overpass could not see where the crowds ended. A renowned leader (no. 69) told me with emotion that he had never seen such a magnificent scene in his life. At this point, most students were no longer worried about their safety. But it was not until they broke the last police line at Liubukou and entered Tiananmen Square that they realized that the govern- ment was totally defeated. Their joy was fully expressed on their way back to their universities as they cried, shouted, and sang songs. Many students walked back. By the time they got back it was already midnight. They had walked for nearly twenty hours!

What had made the April 27 demonstration so successful? High levels of grievances and government restraint did play a role here. However, the dormi- tory factors, the campus environment, and most importantly students’ suc- cessful use of ecology-dependent strategies were also crucial. Often, students did not march directly out of the campus. Were they to have done so, not many students would have followed. The crowd size was still not large enough, people were not yet excited, and the students were too afraid. Instead, they first marched inside the campus. By marching and shouting, not only did they at- tract more and more students but they also created an atmosphere of excite- ment and heightened the pitch of their anger. Finally, they built up enough courage to march out.

Although full of anger, the students felt deadly afraid once on the street. They avoided confronting the police when they did not feel strong enough. Therefore, they tried to bypass the police line and get more students from other universities. With so many universities around, they were always able to do so. When they had to confront the policemen, the police lines were already dwarfed or overwhelmed by the masses of students coming from all over.

Finally, the instantaneous interactions among universities were also very

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35. I exclude the Red Guard Movement during the 1960s because that was to a great extent a state- sponsored mobilization.

36. See, especially, Tilly (1976, 1978) and Tilly and Schweitzer (1982).

important. Students in many universities would have never demonstrated out- side the campus if liaison men had not passed the news that other universities were already on the street. On the other hand, students who were already out- side of their campuses might not go very far if students from other universities did not join in. These ecology-dependent strategies were highly effective ex- actly because of the physical environment of the campuses and the whole uni- versity district.

Others Issues concerning the Ecology of Movement Mobilization

While I was writing this chapter, colleagues and friends raised questions con- cerning the validity of this approach. Some of the questions are so important that they deserve special attention. We know that the Haidian university dis- trict was formed during Mao’s era. Why, however, did the same university en- vironment which contributed to the rise of student movements in the 1980s not lead to any sizable student uprising during Mao’s era? 35 Here, I believe the key lies in the weakening of the student control system in the universities. As I argued in chapter 4, during Mao’s era many students turned in classmates who expressed independent thinking because they more or less believed in commu- nism and felt it was moral to do so. Moreover, during that time the state as- signed jobs to students upon graduation, and students who were politically more active (including checking upon other students’ political conduct) usu- ally got better positions. Therefore, the high student density and other spatial characteristics of the campus actually extended the effectiveness of student control. After the economic reform, however, the ideological legitimation of the communist state greatly declined, while other avenues of status attainment outside the realm of state control opened up. Participating actively in mutual supervision seemed neither moral nor profitable. Therefore, the campus envi- ronment, which once had facilitated political control over students, became conducive to student mobilization.

Some resource mobilization theorists have also emphasized the importance of the density, homogeneity, and spatial distribution of a population for so- cial movement mobilization.36 Marx also argued in his “Manifesto” that the concentration of workers into a small number of factories would enhance the

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37. Marx (1985a, 227–28). 38. Marx (1985b, 317). 39. Spykman (1964, ch. 4). 40. Beckham (1973), Burgess (1925), Duncan and Duncan (1955), Fischer (1977), Krupat (1985),

McKenzie (1924), Park (1915, 1936), and Warner (1963). 41. Garling and Evans (1991), Gold (1980), Gollege and Timmermans (1988), and Werlen (1993). 42. See Baldassare (1975, 1977), Case (1981), Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950), and Sommer (1967,

1969). Here, Festinger, Schachter and Back’s (1950) work is particularly interesting. They found that people tend to make friends with immediate neighbors. Moreover, the design factors of a housing project—such as the location of mail boxes and stairways, the position of an apartment in a court or a building, and the door that an apartment faces—would determine people’s daily spatial movement, friend-making, and group formation in a community.

43. Barker (1968), Loo (1972), Osmond (1957), Saegert and Winkel (1990), and Schoggen (1989). 44. For example, Roger V. Gould (1995) and Tilly and Schweitzer (1982).

political capacity of the proletariat.37 However, my emphasis on the impor- tance of the ecological environment still provides additional insights. First, al- though great theoretical variations exist among scholars of resource mobiliza- tion, a key insight of resource mobilization theory is that the density and the homogeneity of a population matters to movement mobilization only to the extent that they facilitate group solidarity. This is understandable because what is implied in the theory is that high density and homogeneity actually lead to a low mobilization potential if a population is assembled simply as “a sack of potatoes,” as Marx characterized nineteenth-century French peasants.38

I am by no means trying to undermine the importance of organizations and networks in the mobilization process. However, this chapter shows that the de- sign factors of Beijing universities, the accompanying density and distribution of a population, and its patterned spatial movement had great importance for the formation of student networks on campus. This importance cannot be properly understood without a knowledge of the campus ecology. Therefore, the analysis at this level bears similarities to one of Simmel’s insights: that when certain social relationships are ordered around an immobile artifact, the artifact will become a socially important pivot of human interaction.39 This Simmelian idea is the basis for research scattered in urban studies,40 human geography,41

small group ecology,42 and environmental psychology.43 However, with a few exceptions,44 it has not been adopted to explain political processes as complex as large-scale social movements.

Moreover, my study suggests that some ecology-dependent processes of mobilization cannot be reduced to networks and organizations. The zigzag route of the demonstrations, the specific places where students put their big- character posters and made speeches, and the marches inside the dormitory

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45. Roger V. Gould (1991, 1995) has a series of publications which essentially argue that, because of Haussmann’s projects, the new Paris residential areas were no longer class based. Consequently, the mobi- lizing base of the Paris Commune was no longer working-class consciousness, as was the case of the June rising of 1848, but neighborhood solidarity. My work shares similarities with Gould’s work because both of us are interested in how spatial arrangement of the people contributed to movement mobilization. However, we also have different focuses. While Gould focuses on the impact of the macro-design factors of Haussmann’s projects on movement mobilization, I study ecological impact not only at the level of the university district but also at the level of campuses and even dormitories. Furthermore, Gould intends to let networks speak for an ecologically embedded social structure. His idea is thus tied to the “group solidarity” wisdom. My strategy is to let the ecology speak for the mobilization, and I have shown that the mobilization during the 1989 Movement was assisted not only by ecology-based student networks but also directly by the campus ecology itself.

46. A study conducted in Beijing University also indicated that the participation rate in the 1986 Stu- dent Movement was for city students 49.6 percent, for rural students 58.9 percent, and for small town stu- dents 68.2 percent (Liu and Huang 1989). The same paper also reported that graduate students participated considerably less than undergraduates.

areas had much more to do with the spatial layout of the campuses and the university district than with the organizations and networks of the movement. Trying to explain these kinds of mobilizing strategies in terms of networks and solidarity would not only blur our sensitivity toward variations behind the seemingly similar process of movement mobilization but would also stretch the common definition of social networks to such an extent that every kind of so- cial relation becomes a network relation and every kind of knowledge trans- mission must be network-based communication.45

The importance of ecology to movement mobilization lies in the fact that, other factors being equal, the potential for mobilizing a population will be dif- ferent if the same population is spatially arranged in a different way. Now, the issue is that, beyond telling a convincing story, how could we tell whether cam- pus ecology really made a significant contribution to student mobilization dur- ing the 1989 Movement? Fortunately, although this is a case study, several pieces of evidence that I gathered during my research can provide comparative evi- dence for my argument. First, during the 1980s, student mobilization in Beijing had two rather consistent patterns. Students who were from outside Beijing had a higher participation rate and graduate students had a lower participation rate than undergraduates from the city.46 The pattern can be interpreted in a few ways, yet they both can be simply explained in terms of the spatial positions of these different categories of students: Beijing students were able to go home af- ter the April 22 class boycott, so they were not exposed as much to movement activities as were students who remained in their dormitories. On the other hand, each graduate student dormitory room housed only two to four students. As some were married and lived off campus, the real occupancy was often lower

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than the official capacity. Therefore, it was more difficult, if not impossible, to form any kind of majority in a room.

Interestingly, I also found that when a university had two campuses, one in- side and another outside the Haidian District, the one outside the district had a lower rate of movement participation. For example, Beijing Normal Univer- sity had two campuses, and the one outside had a much lower rate of partici- pation than the one located inside the university district. In the course of his narrative, a student of that university said: “My first year of university life was spent on the campus near Beihai. We did not join in the class boycott. We also participated in very few demonstrations. We did not go to the main campus very often. We knew little about what was going on over there” (no. 33). In other words, to participate in the movement, one has to be at least exposed to the environment in which it is taking place. This is a very good controlled case. Since different degrees of participation occurred at the same university, it is very difficult to imagine factors other than the spatial location of campuses affecting the level of student participation.

Conclusion

In the late 1980s, the state-society relationship in China was such that interme- diate social organizations outside the control of the state were illegal and dis- sident networks were limited by the state to a very small circle. Consequently, the 1989 Movement had a poor organizational resource. Nevertheless, the 1989 Movement achieved a very successful student mobilization. This chapter argues that campus ecology played a decisive role in student mobilization especially during the early period of the movement.

During Mao’s era, the Chinese state had designed universities in such a way that by the late 1980s Beijing had sixty-seven universities, most of which are located in Haidian District. The space inside a campus is divided into a stu- dent living quarter, teaching quarter, recreational quarter, commercial quarter, and so on. Most university students in Beijing also lived on campus. With six to eight undergraduate students living in a single dormitory room, and several hundred students in each building, a dormitory area in a university could ac- commodate up to ten thousand students. In my research, I found that the campus environment nurtured many close-knit student networks and shaped the spatial routine of student life. During the 1989 Movement, this campus ecology directly exposed Beijing students to an environment that was conducive

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to collective action. It also gave rise to some central locations for participant mobilization, encouraged dormitory-based communication and coercion, facil- itated interuniversity competition for activism, and shaped the routes of stu- dent demonstrations both on and off campus. As illustrated by the April 27 demonstration, students actively made use of the campus ecology in such a way that it encouraged movement participation and invalidated the state control measures. In addition, the campus ecology also facilitated the formation of a rather stable set of ecology-dependent strategies of collective action, which lent many unique characteristics to, and to some extent patterned the dynamics of, the 1989 Movement.

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Attachment 2

Week 3:

Important Political Events preceding the 1989 Tiananmen Square Movement

1976-1989

I. Factional Struggles in the CCP: From Mao’s death to Deng’s control of power

(1976-78)

1976. 1 Premier Zhou’s death

1976. 4 The 1976 Tiananmen SQ protest (or incident)

Deng Xiaoping was purged.

1976, 9 Mao’s death

The Gang of Four (Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and

Wang Hongwen) was arrested and tried for their crimes during the

Cultural Revolution.

1977-78 Anti-Maoist Campaign: Deng’s reform faction’s (pragmatists) concerted

campaign against Maoists hardliners (e.g., Hua Guofeng).

Q. The Beijing Spring (1977-78): Political Pluralism?

What is Deng’s real position toward political reforms?

II. Democratic Movements vs. State Control/Suppression (1978-1989)

1978, 11 The Democracy Wall Movement

- 1979

1978, 12 Deng solidified his power at the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress,

in part by drawing on the demonstration of popular support afforded him

by the movement.

The Four Modernizations: 1) Agriculture, 2) Industry, 3) Science and

Technology, and 4) National Defense

1979, 1-2 Deng’s visit to the US (opening to the West).

Q. How did the US Congress view his visit?

1979, 3 Deng’s Four principle speech (another handout)

Uphold: 1) the Socialist road, 2) the people’s democratic dictatorship, 3)

the CCP leadership, and 4) Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.

Purpose of the 4 principles- set limits on democratic discourse and

criticism.

Suppression of Democracy Wall Movement.

1982 Deng semi-retired.

The 80’s Direct Confrontation between the movements and the Gov.

Democracy movements Chinese Gov

83.10 Anti-Spiritual Pollution campaign

-84.2 Western Liberal ideas under attack

Political liberalization by Hu Yaobang (the

CCP general secretary) -- e.g., freedom of

speech and press.

86-87 a series of student movements

-- Cracked down. As a result, Hu Yaobang

was dismissed from the CCP general secretary.

The majority of liberal intellectuals and

dissidents were not affected. 87 Anti-Bourgeois liberalism campaign

89. 4.15 Hu Yaobang’s death

89.4.15 – 6.4

Tiananmen SQ movements

89-90 Political purge

(Political and religious orgs)

Attachment 3

s ix

A B R I E F H I S T O R Y O F T H E

1 9 8 9 M O V E M E N T

B efore analyzing how state-society relations contributed to the development of the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, we need to know more precisely how the movement unfolded.

To this end, this chapter offers a narrative of the movement, chronologically arranged into four major sections which cor- respond to the movement’s major periods. This narrative does more, however, than just give a general description of the move- ment. It highlights a few major events and issues that were im- portant to the development of the movement but that neverthe- less have not received enough attention in previous writing. Also, since the next four chapters focus on the events in their struc- tural aspect, this chapter pays particular attention to the con- tingencies that also shaped the 1989 Movement. Most of the contingent factors and activities discussed here—Hu’s sudden death, the three students kneeling in Tiananmen Square, the conflict and lack of communication among student activists be- fore the hunger strike, the hunger strike, and the arrival of large numbers of students from other cities in Beijing—were signifi- cant only in the context of a particular state-society relationship. Yet their contingent occurrences did have a significant impact on the trajectory of the movement.

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1. See Polletta (1998) and Tilly (1994).

To avoid repetitiveness, I do not give lengthy accounts here of events cov- ered in the analytical chapters. For example, I do not go into government and media responses to the movement because I deal with them in chapters 7 and 10, respectively, and I do not elaborate on the April 27 demonstration since I discuss it in chapter 8. Also, I do not pretend to present a complete histori- cal account; I center the narrative on a few activities that became important to the later development of the movement, while omitting many other com- peting movement activities. I hope this choice will not give the impression that the dynamics of the movement were shaped by the activities of a few well- organized elite students. In fact, as can be seen in this and the following chap- ters, even the activities of radical student activists were often spontaneously initiated.

A word is in order about “spontaneity,” a term that will frequently appear in my description of the 1989 Movement. I do not use this word because my informants used it to characterize their experience through a sort of moraliz- ing “historical memory.” 1 In fact, they seldom used it. In the interviews, I asked the informants to focus on their personal experiences and activities during the movement. Most informants followed this instruction, and when they gave general comments that extended beyond personal experiences and activities, I did not give those comments much credence. Rather, I use the word “spon- taneity” analytically, to capture the individual or small-group-based nature of their activities in relation to the movement as a whole. My choice is based on the following observations (or carries the following connected meanings). First, the movement was initiated by many individuals and small groups through in- dependent actions and mutual influences without a general coordination. Sec- ond, during the movement many independent or semi-independent activities competed for significance. These movement activities were thus situated in a highly competitive environment, where the domination of certain activities in the movement was determined more by a particular activity’s power to move unorganized audiences than by the motivation of actors. Third, the movement saw the emergence of many organizations and leaders. None of its organiza- tions had a prehistory, however, and none of its leaders were elected by a rea- sonable number of movement participants via a recognized procedure. There- fore, the leaders of the organizations did not really respect each other, or even the organizations they supposedly led; the movement participants did not re- spect the organizations and the leaders; and organization leadership changed

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2. For example, as a student leader told me (no. 69), the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union changed its leadership at least seven times in only the first few weeks of its existence.

3. For a memoir in English, see Shen Tong (1990). 4. Wu Ren (1990b).

very frequently during the course of the movement.2 Fourth, when I read the personal accounts which the student leaders gave in my interviews and in pub- lished memoirs,3 I found many of them were in the form “I walked down the road and saw X (or, I woke up in the morning and thought of Y ), and then I decided to do Z.” In other words, many of their activities represented sponta- neous and individualistic responses to events rather than conscious decisions arrived at collectively by their organizations. Finally, through the narrative and analysis in this and the following chapters, I want to show that because of the students’ massive grievances and the social ecology of the campus and Tianan- men Square, while the leaders and organizations that emerged during the move- ment could usually effectively stage radical movement activities, such leaders and organizations were absolutely unable to exercise effective control over the move- ment. Whenever movement leaders or organizations wanted to make strategic moves rather than take more radical actions, they were immediately marginal- ized. In other words, the leaders and organizations that emerged during the movement had only a unidirectional effectiveness vis-à-vis the movement. Although I cannot present all the evidence that I have collected in this regard, much of the material in this chapter certainly illustrates this unidirectional effectiveness. In fact, the second part of this book is in great measure intended to reveal and analyze the origin and impact of the movement’s unidirectional nature.

The Rise of the Movement

On April 15, 1989, Hu Yaobang died of heart attack. Hu had been pushed to re- sign from the CCP general secretary position in 1987, in part because of his le- nient attitude toward a smaller scale student movement in 1986. After his res- ignation Hu became a widely respected figure among students and intellectuals. Although a few students and intellectuals had been preparing the movement long before Hu’s sudden death, that event certainly provided an ideal occasion on which to start a movement (chapter 5).

At Beijing University, about eighty posters appeared on the evening of Hu’s death.4 Most of these mourned his passing, but a few also attacked the

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5. The following are two examples of posters that appeared at Beijing University on the day of Hu’s death: “Incompetent government, corrupted society, dictatorship, and depreciation of intellectuals: this is our society, the reality, and our tragedy!” “Our demand: dismiss the incompetent government, overthrow autocrats, establish a democratic state, and found our society on education.”

6. Wu Ren (1990b, 35). 7. Zhang Boli (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 50 –51).

government.5 The content of the posters changed quickly over the following days. By April 19, most of the 570 posters that had appeared on the 31 university campuses in Beijing had themes centered on free press, free association, politi- cal democracy, and official corruption.6

The first demonstration started at noon on April 17, when about 600 young teachers and students from the University of Political Science and Law went to Tiananmen Square to lay a wreath for Hu. Knowing that these other students had already demonstrated in the streets, students in Beijing University marched to the Square that same evening, arriving early the next morning. However, most students had no idea of the specific purpose of this demonstration. For example, before they arrived Zhang Boli asked Wang Dan about the purpose of this demonstration (both later became major leaders of the movement), and Wang Dan replied: “I do not know either. It is you guys who initiated this.” 7

Zhang said: “Then we should set several demands.” Zhang suggested three: reevaluation of Hu Yaobang, press freedom, and an increase in educational ex- penditures. After they stopped at the Monument to the People’s Heroes, a stu- dent named Guo Haifeng stood up and asked for more suggestions, and even- tually seven demands emerged:

(1) reevaluate Hu Yaobang, especially in relation to his prodemocratic views;

(2) renounce the [1987] Anti–Bourgeois Liberalization Campaign and the [1983] Anti– Spiritual Pollution Campaign, and rehabilitate all the people prosecuted in these campaigns;

(3) reveal the salaries and other wealth of government leaders and their families;

(4) allow the publication of nonofficial newspapers and stop press censor- ship;

(5) raise the wages of intellectuals and increase government educational expenditures;

(6) turn down the “Ten Provisional Articles Regulating Public Marches and Demonstrations” promulgated by the Beijing municipal govern- ment; and

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8. A literal translation of qihong is “gathering together to create a disturbance.” 9. In fact, a carnival-like spirit was common in other student movements in China during the 1980s. Li

Xinhua (1988, 15) observed a student demonstration in Shanghai in 1986: “On December 19, three thousand students from Jiaotong University marched to the People’s Square. I followed them. They walked with a cheerful mood, just like in a spring outing. They chatted with each other on the way on topics totally irrelevant to their demonstration and cheered when some of their actions received attention from bystanders.”

10. The police’s strategy was to first surround a group of people and then discharge them by opening an outside circle. Those who were left out of the circle gradually went home. The whole process went on peacefully.

(7) provide objective news coverage of the student demonstration in offi- cial newspapers.

At this stage, however, only a few students actively participated in the move- ment. Many joined demonstrations to get away from classroom studies that bored them and to enjoy the carnival-like spirit. A student from People’s Uni- versity (no. 14) described his first experience of a demonstration:

I remember it was April 19. . . . I saw many students marching. . . . I asked a female student what they were doing. She told me that they were demonstrating. At this point, I knew that the student movement had started. I followed them by bicycle. Many people were qihong on the way.8 [For example], when students chanted “down with official corruption,” a few people on the street shouted back “we support you!” Then we laughed together. The whole situation made me very excited.9

A few days later, however, the festival spirit gave way to a militant mood. Here rumors played a crucial role. In the early period of the movement, stu- dents were effectively mobilized by rumors centered on Li Peng’s failed prom- ise to meet students after Hu’s state funeral and on police brutality around the Xinhua Gate.

the xinhua gate incident

After April 17, many protest activities were centered on the Xinhua Gate, in- side which the CCP Central Committee and State Council are located. Out- side, students shouted slogans attacking government leaders and demanded dialogue with them. Some of them threw bottles and shoes at the policemen who guarded the gate. The police tried to restore order in front of the gate several times.10 Finally, in the early morning on April 20, after several hours of efforts at evacuation, only about 200 students remained; these refused to go.

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11. For details, see the last section of the introduction. 12. In chapter 10, I will explain why people wanted to believe in unfounded rumors even though the

government’s versions of events were sometimes more accurate.

Policemen dragged the students into a big bus and sent them back to Beijing University. There were skirmishes during the process. However, back at the university some of students held up bloodstained clothes and angrily shouted slogans. The whole event was labeled by students as the Xinhua Gate Bloody Incident (Xinhuamen Canan). Rumors about police brutality and arrests spread immediately.

The government denied the accusations. Through the media, it claimed that the blood was from some students who cut themselves accidentally when they smashed the windows of the moving bus. Although the evidence that I have collected shows that the government’s account could be true,11 most students believed that the police did in fact brutally beat their fellows and that the gov- ernment was lying about the incident. This is how a student from Beijing Uni- versity recalled her personal feeling after the news of police brutality (no. 30):

I was never interested in politics. . . . When Hu Yaobang died, a lot of antithetical couplets and posters appeared at the Triangle. I read them with great pleasure be- cause I was unhappy about the general situation at the time, but I still went to class and did not join any movement activities. . . . In the early morning of April 20, I saw several students with blood on their faces and big-character posters in their hands rushing to the Triangle. Students had been beaten by policemen! This made us very angry. Demonstration is a constitutional right. The students just wanted to raise some objections to the government. Yet, they beat us when we went to dem- onstrate. We were greatly annoyed. I went to demonstrate on that same day and joined the class boycott.

After the Xinhua Gate Incident, a few universities started a class boycott, more demonstrations took place, and students became highly mobilized.12

hu yaobang’s state funeral

The government planned a state funeral for Hu Yaobang for April 22, at the Great Hall of the People, west of Tiananmen Square. However, to block the students from entering the Square, the Beijing municipal government an- nounced on April 21 that the Square would be sealed off to minimize traffic during the funeral. On the same day, an announcement by “The Provisional Action Committee of Beijing Universities” appeared on many campuses. It

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13. Qiuhou suanzhang literally means “to square accounts after the autumn harvest.” It is used here to re- fer to the government’s possible revenge taking after the movement’s end.

asked students to meet at Beijing Normal University and march to the Square to participate in Hu’s funeral.

Students from over twenty universities gathered at Beijing Normal. They left for Tiananmen Square at around 10 :00 p.m. and picked up students from some other universities along the way. One of my informants estimated that around 50,000 students joined the march, not including students and Beijing residents who were already in the Square. After they arrived, a young teacher from the University of Political Science and Law went to various universities and asked them to send someone to have a coordination meeting. Between twenty and thirty representatives gathered in a corner of the Monument to the People’s Heroes and discussed what demands they should make of the govern- ment. My informant (no. 60) suggested three. The government should (1) guar- antee the safety of students in the Square, (2) allow students to send their dele- gates to attend Hu Yaobang’s funeral, and (3) promise never to qiuhou suanzhang with students.13 The rest of the students agreed.

At about 4 :00 a.m. on April 22, policemen arrived at the Square and lined up between the students and the Great Hall of the People. A government officer went to the students and asked them to move back to the Monument to the People’s Heroes to yield some space for the buses and cars of those who were invited to the state funeral. My informant (no. 60) rejected the demand. He told the officer: “They come for the funeral. We are staying here for the same purpose. We all want to pay our last respects to Yaobang, but we, over a hundred thousand students, have been sitting on the ground overnight. We are no less sincere than those who come here by car. I am unable to persuade stu- dents to leave just for them to park their cars here.” The informant then raised the three demands. The officer replied, after a while, “Your safety is guaranteed. As long as there are no major accidents on the students’ side, the government will not interfere. As to sending student delegates to attend the funeral, we can’t decide. That the government will not qiuhou suanzhang with the students, I can guarantee now. Of course, my guarantee may not be useful, but I will forward the message for you.”

The negotiation went on for quite a while. At about 6:00 a.m. the officer suggested that students send a delegation to talk inside the Great Hall of the People. Five students went in; at this point the third demand was changed to “The government should make an unbiased report on the Xinhua Gate

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14. The fishnet symbolizes the heavy control of the Chinese state, from which the people (the fish) are desperately trying to free themselves.

Incident.” Some student activists and young teachers, wanting to make a ges- ture of good faith, led students back to the Monument to the People’s Heroes as the officer required.

At 7:15 a.m. the five representatives received a five-part formal reply from the Office of the Hu Yaobang Funeral Service saying that: (1) Hu Yaobang’s funeral ceremony will be broadcast live to students; (2) the buses for those who attend Hu’s funeral will not block the view of students; (3) students’ safety is guaran- teed as long as students do not become highly disordered; (4) the Office has no authority to decide whether to allow students to send their own delegates to the funeral but will raise the issue with higher-level authorities; (5) the “Xinhua Gate Incident” is beyond the jurisdiction of the Office, but the students’ de- mands in that regard will also be reported to the higher-level authorities. The student representatives were satisfied with the reply.

Before the five representatives had received this formal reply, however, my informant (no. 60) became impatient. He shouted that “the three demands are non-negotiable. If they are not met, I am going to bring students university by university to the original place every ten minutes starting from seven o’clock.” When the time came, the informant led students from the University of Polit- ical Science and Law in a rush toward the police lines. As soon as they moved forward, the police retreated. Seeing that nothing happened, my informant and a few students brought all the students to their original position, disregarding the other activists’ attempts to prevent them.

After a while, a long corridor about five to seven meters in width was formed between the students and police. The corridor became a giant stage for any students who wanted to express themselves. There were always some students shouting slogans, raising demands, and giving speeches in the corridor.

The funeral started at 10:00 a.m. and proceeded for an hour. Many students did not treat the ritual seriously. My informant (no. 60) noted that quite a few students were enjoying popsicles when the dirge was sounded. Students did not go away after the funeral. Many competing activities went on simultaneously. In one corner of the Square, for example, one could see some students paint a fishnet on a giant cloth and then rip apart the cloth with scissors and their bare hands, crying emotionally all the while.14 At the same time, synchronized voices from a distance gradually became dominant. One could hear waves of voices from different directions shouting chants, such as “Make a decision Beijing University! Make a decision Beijing University!” “Sit down students in the

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front! Sit down students in the front!” “Dialogue! Dialogue!” “Come out Li Peng! Come out Li Peng!” and “Send our wreaths inside! Send our wreaths in- side!” Observing more carefully, one could also see many individual actions. For example, at one point, my informant (no. 60) became so angry that he even hit himself in the face, bloodying his visage. The students became increasingly emotional as the event moved on in this manner.

Among numerous competing activities, two not only attracted most stu- dents’ attention but also shaped the further development of the movement. One was the kneeling of three students in front of the Great Hall of the People, and the other was a speech made by Wuer Kaixi, a student from Beijing Nor- mal University.

At about 11:40 a.m., the students asserted that while they had now dropped all the original demands, they still wanted to have a dialogue with Premier Li Peng. After about twenty minutes, there was no sign that Li Peng was going to come out. At this point, several student representatives were allowed to pass the police line to hand in a petition. However, when they arrived at the stairs of the Great Hall of the People, three of them—Zhou Yongjun, Guo Haifeng, and Zhang Zhiyong—knelt down, with Wuer Kaixi standing alongside. Holding the petition over their heads, the three students were crying and begging to see Li Peng. Several government officials tried to receive the petition, but the three students refused. They insisted that Li Peng must come out to get the petition himself.

After a while, Wuer Kaixi stood up with a big electronic amplifier in hand and said “I am Wuer Kaixi. I am Wuer Kaixi,” repeating the same sentence un- til students gradually calmed down. Then he continued: “Today, our students have stayed in the Square for over ten hours without taking food. What do we want? We have thought of many things, but now we have only one thought and demand: that is, to beg o-u-r Premier to come out and talk with us even if it is for only one sentence.”

Wuer then said, as if begging: “Our premier, why do you still not come out?” The students’ emotions were boiling. The whole Square echoed with: “Come out Li Peng! Come out Li Peng!” “Dialogue! Dialogue!” Students rushed to- ward the police. The police and students were pushing each other back and forth. The whole situation became almost uncontrollable. Then Wuer Kaixi stood out again. He asked students to calm down and announced that Li Peng would see them in fifteen minutes. The three representatives still knelt there and students were waiting, but Li did not come out as Wuer had said he would. Now every student felt greatly insulted. Students shouted: “Come back repre- sentatives! Come back representatives!” Some students even shouted “Down

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15. Shen Tong (1990, 172). 16. Wagner (1990, 52).

with Li Peng!” Many cried like babies. The students left greatly disappointed, many vowing a class boycott as they returned to their universities.

the emergence of student movement organizations

Movement organizations now began to emerge. To be sure, these were very weak organizations, with no grassroots membership. The first was formed at Beijing University on the evening of April 19, when Wang Dan and a few oth- ers held a “democracy salon” at the Triangle. Around 1,000 students were in the area. At the meeting they discussed the failures of past student movements. At- tributing these failures to the lack of organizations to lead the movement, they decided to establish a Beijing University Autonomous Student Union Prepara- tory Committee. On that day, as Shen Tong has recalled, “anyone who had the courage to get up, give his name, his major, and what class he was in” auto- matically became a leader of the organization.15

Several major universities followed step in the next few days. Yet in most cases the autonomous student unions formed without even an open meeting. In Beijing Normal University, for instance, such a union was created through Wuer Kaixi’s almost single-handed efforts. During the movement, the only at- tempt to elect leaders through a popular vote was made at Beijing University. On April 24, around ten thousand students gathered at the university’s May 4th Stadium to elect the standing members of the Autonomous Student Union Preparatory Committee. Unfortunately, during the meeting “the milling crowds could not hear or would not listen to the speakers; various self-appointed stu- dent leaders vied for control of the bullhorns.” 16 The activists fought each other so viciously that Xiong Yan even accused Zhang Zhiyong of being a spy for the school authorities. Most students left greatly disappointed. No general election was ever attempted.

On April 21, an announcement by “The Provisional Action Committee of Beijing Universities” asked students to take part in Hu Yaobang’s state funeral. There was no other information about this “organization.” In fact, the first Beijing-wide organization, The Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union Prepara- tory Committee, was established on the evening of April 23. Over forty stu- dents from 21 universities participated in the meeting. They elected Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, Ma Shaofang, Zhang Kai, and Zhou Yongjun as standing members of the organization. Zhou Yongjun, from the University of Political

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17. According to my informant (no. 60), Zhou received the highest vote because that small university had six students in the meeting.

18. For an English version of the editorial, see Oksenberg, Sullivan, and Lambert (1990, 206 –208).

Science and Law, received the most votes and thus became chairman.17 A ma- jor decision made at the meeting was to start a citywide class boycott. Within eight days of Hu’s death, Beijing students thus achieved a great mobilization and established several formal—albeit self-appointed—social movement organi- zations. The movement had entered the next stage.

Student Protests and the Government’s Concessions

the april 26 people’s daily editorial and the april 27 demonstration

After Hu’s state funeral, the government turned its attention to the movement. On the evening of April 25, the China Central Television Station (CCTV) and the Central Broadcast Station broadcast an April 26 People’s Daily editorial en- titled “It is Necessary to Take a Clear-Cut Stand against Turmoil.” The edito- rial labeled the movement as a planned conspiracy to create antigovernment turmoil staged by an extremely small number of agitators. It called on the people to stand up and oppose the movement and predicted that the whole country would have no peace if the movement lasted.18 The editorial sent Beijing stu- dents a clear message that any further activism would no longer be tolerated by the government.

Historically, a government reaction of this kind had been enough to deter further student activism. But this time, partly because the government reaction had been delayed by Hu’s death, the editorial failed to achieve its purpose. In- stead, most students felt insulted. An informant (no. 68) explained: “The April 26 editorial made every student at Beijing University very angry. Until then, we really did not want to overthrow the communist government. We felt that such a task was impossible. Many of us felt that our great patriotism was insulted.”

In many universities, students gathered together angrily and discussed what to do. The newly formed Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union Preparatory Committee decided to stage a large-scale demonstration on April 27 to defy the editorial. To get more support, they also reframed their strategies. Many radical demands appearing in early slogans and petitions were avoided during their mobilization and the demonstrations. Meanwhile, the students added such slogans as “Support communist government!” and “Support socialism!”

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The government also staged countermobilizations to try to stop the dem- onstrations. Yet the government countermobilization efforts could not pene- trate very deep. For even traditionally loyalist elements of the university, such as the party members and grassroots-level student control personnel, shared grievances with students (chapter 4). An informant (no. 63) remembered:

On the afternoon of April 25, student cadres, party members, and teachers attended a meeting. In the meeting, the department party secretary informed us of the major contents of the editorial to be aired in the evening. They asked us to persuade stu- dents not to support the movement. After listening to this, a young teacher who was a party member jumped up and said: “We are unable to persuade students. Nowa- days, television has been highly developed. It is simple. You just need a state leader to talk on the TV. Why do you ask us to do the job?”

Putting pressure on a few student leaders was another tactic that the govern- ment used to stop the demonstration. Through various channels, the authori- ties tried to persuade student leaders to call off the demonstration. Under enor- mous pressure, many well-known activists, including Zhou Yongjun, Wuer Kaixi, and Shen Tong, hesitated and wanted to make some compromises. How- ever, these student leaders could not really control the movement. While they intended to make some compromises, most other activists still wanted to see the demonstration happen. In the end, tens of thousands of students marched on the street on April 27 (chapter 8).

the government’s concessions

Due to the determination of the students, the restraint of the government, and a favorable campus physical environment, the demonstration achieved a stun- ning success. Since hardliner rhetoric had proved useless, and because the gov- ernment at this stage wanted to end the movement peacefully, concession be- came its only alternative. On the noon of April 27, when the students were still marching toward Tiananmen Square, State Council spokesman Yuan Mu ex- pressed the government’s intention to have a dialogue with students. The next day, the People’s Daily and some other major official newspapers reported the demonstration on the front page and with a slightly positive tone. Starting on April 29, the government held several dialogues with students, the most well known of which occurred on that day.

On April 28, the government asked the Association of All China Students, a government-sponsored student organization, to organize the dialogue. The

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19. Zhao Ziyang (1990a).

Association invited forty-five students from sixteen universities. Four leaders of the newly established independent student unions, including Zhou Yongjun, Guo Haifeng, and Wuer Kaixi, and many other movement activists were in- vited to the dialogue, but they were not allowed to represent or speak for the newly founded independent student unions.

It should be noted that although the participants were invited by an official student union, the dialogue was not as phony as many have subsequently de- scribed it to have been. In fact, compared with the numerous later dialogues, this was the one where students and government officials had the most sub- stantive discussion. In the dialogue, students raised issues concerning official corruption and its causes, biased news reports, the putative police brutality on April 20, Li Peng’s refusal to meet the students after Hu’s funeral, the April 26 People’s Daily editorial, and the reevaluation of Hu Yaobang. They thus covered most of the seven demands raised earlier. Moreover, Xiang Xiaoji, a student from the University of Political Science and Law, challenged the validity of the dialogue itself. His major point was that those who participated in the dialogue could not represent students because they were not elected, and that the meet- ing was thus just a preliminary contact between students and the government. He made three suggestions for achieving a more substantial dialogue: (1) a stu- dent dialogue delegation should be formed, with two elected representatives from each university; (2) before the dialogue, there should be some preparatory dialogues to discuss the time, location, number of people, topic, and form of the formal dialogue; and (3) the students would end the class boycott when the substantial dialogue began. Xiang later emerged as the head of the Dialogue Delegation.

However, the dialogue did not satisfy many students, especially student ac- tivists. Wuer Kaixi refused to attend. Some participants protested the form of the dialogue and left the room in the middle of the proceedings. After the dia- logue, Zhou Yongjun and Xiang Xiaoji asserted that their participation and speeches represented only themselves. Many student activists thought that the dialogue was a plot aimed at dividing the students. That evening, many big- character posters in major universities attacked the government, the dialogue, and the students who had participated in the dialogue.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere of confrontation eased as the government continued to make concessions. The government’s willingness to make conces- sions reached its peak on May 4, when Zhao Ziyang met the delegates of the Asian Development Bank Conference.19 In the meeting, Zhao said that since

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20. Faison (1990, 156). 21. Shen Tong (1990, 215) and Feng Congde (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 68). 22. Supposedly, the delegates from each university were to be elected, and in a few universities students

treated this quite seriously. But at most universities, including Beijing University, the representatives were decided upon by a very small circle. In fact, quite a few students in the Dialogue Delegation meetings were neither elected nor invited. They went to the meetings on their own.

23. See Shen Tong (1990, 229–31) for how the government contacted the Dialogue Delegation through university authorities.

the basic slogans used in student demonstrations were “Support the Commu- nist Party!” “Support Socialism!” “Uphold the Reforms!” “Push Forward Democracy!” and “Oppose Corruption!” the majority of students were “by no means opposed to our basic system.” Meanwhile, Zhao Ziyang asked Hu Qili and Rui Xingwen, the two top state leaders in charge of China’s official media, to open up the media. He told them that there was “no big risk in open- ing up a bit by reporting the demonstrations and increasing the openness of news.” 20 The government almost completely reversed the evaluation of the movement made in the April 26 People’s Daily editorial. The student movement thus achieved a major success.

the dialogue delegation

Beijing students were in a victorious mood. Most student leaders were also happy to offer some compromises to the government. On April 30, the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union held a meeting, at which, since it was unlikely that the government would hold a dialogue directly with them, they approved Wang Chaohua and Feng Congde’s motion to organize an independent dia- logue delegation.21

The Dialogue Delegation held its first meeting on May 3. In the meeting Xiang Xiaoji suggested three dialogue agendas: (1) on the nature of the cur- rent student movement; (2) on strategies for future economic and political reform; and (3) on how people’s constitutional rights could be truly realized in China. Xiang’s suggestions impressed the other delegates. He was elected in a voice vote as the chairman of the delegation, and Shen Tong became Xiang’s associate.

Following Xiang’s suggestion, the delegates were divided into three groups, each preparing one topic. In the following days, the Dialogue Delegation held numerous meetings. As more and more universities added their representatives, its size grew to about seventy students.22 The delegates contacted the govern- ment several times in order to set up a dialogue, while the government, through various channels, also expressed a willingness to talk.23 Around May 10, the

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24. Wang Chaohua (1992a, 77). 25. Wu Ren (1990b, 57–58) and Shen Tong (1990, 226).

government even went into technical details, asking the delegation to restrict its formal dialogue members to twenty. On the evening of May 12, Xiang Xiaoji told my informant (no. 59, a member of the Dialogue Delegation) that the first dialogue with the government had been scheduled for May 15. Yet the next day, the hunger strike started. To understand why a hunger strike was initiated when the students and the government were approaching each other, we have to ex- amine in greater detail the movement during early May.

the decline of the movement

After the April 27 demonstration, the government started to hold dialogues with students, Zhao Ziyang reevaluated the movement, and the official media reported positively on movement activities. The government’s concessions satis- fied the majority of students. During the May 4 demonstration, Zhou Yongjun, on behalf of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union, formally announced that the class boycott would end that day. After May 4 all of the universities except for Beijing University and Beijing Normal University resumed classes. Although most students in Beijing University had voted for continuing the class boycott after May 5, more and more students actually went to class. In fact, by May 9 and 10, radical students in the university had to picket in front of classrooms to stop others from attending classes.24 Even those who were not attending class were no longer so concerned about the movement. Many students, movement activists among them, traveled or visited home. Those who stayed on campus began to enjoy themselves by playing poker and mah- jongg. The Triangle at Beijing University, which had been full of people since the start of the movement, was no longer congested. Student leaders had to continuously make speeches at the Triangle to keep up students’ interest in the movement.25 In fact, much of the momentum of the movement in Beijing dur- ing this period was sustained by the protest activities of Chinese journalists (chapter 10).

Meanwhile, the leadership of the movement was becoming increasingly problematic. Partly because all the student organizations had been established in a hurry, the problems of the student movement organizations went beyond disagreement over movement strategies. Many student leaders did not seem to respect the organizations they founded. They announced personal decisions in the name of organizations and disregarded organizational decisions with

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26. A well-known example at this stage was Zhou Yongjun’s personal decision to call off the April 27 demonstration under the name of the Beijing Student’s Autonomous Union Preparatory Committee, of which he was the chairperson.

27. See Wang Chaohua (1992b) for more discussion of relationships among student leaders of the two groups.

28. For example, Zheng Xuguang, a leader of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union, attended a Dialogue Delegation meeting on May 11. In the meeting, he said: “This is the first time that I have attended a Dialogue Delegation meeting. I now feel that a dialogue between students and the government is highly possible. However, the Autonomous Union and students knew nothing about it. They feel that the possi- bility of having a dialogue has not increased since May 4, and have thus decided to go on a hunger strike. You should let the students know about the dialogue as soon as possible” (China News Digest 1994, 16).

which they personally disagreed.26 In the following, I summarize crucial divi- sions among student activists during early May and explain how these divisions contributed to the rise of the hunger strike.

Student activists in this period can be categorized into three groups. The first was the Dialogue Delegation group. These students were eager for the coming dialogue with the government. The leaders of the delegation had also openly or privately contacted the government and were almost certain that the dialogue would take place. They therefore had the most moderate position.

The second group was the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union, which included student activists such as Wang Chaohua, Zhou Yongjun, and Wang Zhixin. These students regularly attended the meetings of the Autonomous Union. Some leaders of the Autonomous Union and the Dialogue Delegation attended each other’s meetings, and thus most students in the former group knew the Dialogue Delegation and some of its activities. The students in the two groups had certain conflicts, however. While students in the Dialogue Delegation thought that the movement had reached a stage where demonstra- tions and class boycotts would be replaced by dialogues, in which they would play a major role, the students in the Autonomous Union group thought that it was their fight that had created opportunities for the Dialogue Delegation.27

Therefore, the leaders of the delegation saw their contacts with the government as a special privilege and kept them secret. Meanwhile, the leaders of the Au- tonomous Union, not wanting the delegation to be the mouthpiece of the stu- dents generally, had independently come up with many petitions and demands different from those put through by the Dialogue Delegation. Naturally, the government was confused as to whom it should deal with, while the students in general came to believe that the government was not interested in talking with students at all.28

Nevertheless, the union group was more or less aware of the interactions be- tween the Dialogue Delegation and the government. It believed that its focus

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29. For example, the moderate approach was reflected in the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union’s May 6 announcement: “Democratization is a gradual process. The Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union will no longer use demonstrations as a major means to advance democracy in China. In the following days, our first step is to organize conferences and seminars and to invite renowned scholars such as Yan Jiaqi and Yu Guangyuan to present talks. . . . The second step is to run newspapers and magazines. . . . [About the dialogue between student and the government], we are flexible. The dialogue can be achieved through a third party, that is, through the newly formed Dialogue Delegation” (Wu et al. 1989, 153). According to Wang Chaohua (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 94), on May 11 the Autonomous Union decided that “Considering the recent [positive] responses of the government to the Dialogue Delegation, the Beijing Students’ Au- tonomous Union should oppose any large-scale activities while promoting small- to moderate-scale ac- tions,” and that no demonstrations should be held during Gorbachev’s visit to Beijing (Wu et al. 1989, 180).

30. The mood of radical students in this period was reflected in a big-character poster posted on May 7: “The tiger-headed, snake-tailed democratic student movement has been gradually calmed down with no fruitful results. . . . People have great hope in us. We have been highly praised and supported, but what can we offer in return? . . . Our faces were slapped (e.g., conspiracy, turmoil). We were then rewarded by sweet dates (e.g., the youth are patriotic). So, we forget the pain and start to enjoy the dates” (Bajiu Zhong- guo Minyun Ziliaoce 1991, 153):

31. The origin of the hunger strike will also be discussed in chapter 7. 32. Shen Tong (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 14).

should be on consolidating campus democracy, a major achievement of the movement.29 Thus it can be seen that the general orientation of the leaders in the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union group was also not radical.

The third group, the charismatic group, consisted of a few radicals, among whom were such legendary student leaders as Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi. While most of this group’s members at one time or another held standing member po- sitions in the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union, they tended to do things in their own ways. Most of them did not regularly attend the Autonomous Union’s meetings, and they were therefore even less informed about the nego- tiations between the Dialogue Delegation and the government than the Au- tonomous Union leaders. An extreme example is that of student leader Wang Dan; he told me in an interview that he did not even know of the existence of the Dialogue Delegation until the hunger strike began. To this group, the gov- ernment’s concessive strategies were simply tricks.30 Trapped between what they perceived to be an uncompromising regime and a student body with a de- creasing enthusiasm for activism, a few activists in this group decided to stage a hunger strike.

the hunger strike mobilization 31

Hunger strikes had been considered and indeed used many times leading up to and during the movement. Before the movement began, some agitators from outside Beijing had planned a hunger strike for April 5.32 On April 18, two

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33. Bai Meng (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 57). 34. According to Liang Er (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 126 –28), Wuer Kaixi started to talk about a hunger

strike in a speech on May 8. Wuer’s major concern was also that the movement needed a push. Wuer only made up his mind, however, after a meeting with Tian Jiyun, a deputy prime minister, and Zhao Ziyang’s secretary on May 10. While Tian was talking with Wuer, he from time to time turned around to whisper with Zhao’s secretary. Wuer took this as a sign that the government might be able to make a major con- cession if students applied more pressure. Thus, he decided on the hunger strike.

35. Chai Ling (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 89). 36. Chai Ling justified the hunger strike with a similar reason: “[After Zhou Yongjun announced the

end of the class boycott on May 4], the student movement lost momentum; more and more students were returning to classes. Arguments over whether we should return to class or continue the class boycott con- sumed a lot of the student movement’s time and resources, and the situation was getting more and more difficult. We felt then that we had to undertake a hunger strike” (Han and Hua 1990, 197).

37. Wang Dan told Chai Ling after the meeting that: “[We will start the hunger strike] two days be- fore Gorbachev’s state visit to give the government enough time to respond.” See Chai Ling (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 89).

students from Beijing University staged a hunger strike in front of the Xinhua Gate.33 In Beijing Normal University, Liang Er remembered that in early May an activist even argued: “We absolutely must start a hunger strike. It will be ideal if the hunger strike leads to bloodshed.” 34 Chai Ling, a major hunger strike leader, also recalled:

We had the idea of the hunger strike at the beginning of the movement. One day when I was talking with Zhang Boli, he said: “Do you know that the hunger strike has been and is a very effective weapon [of protest]? . . . If we are really hungry, we can go to the dormitory or the washroom to eat something in secret. You are the treasure of the country. When the university authorities see that you are on a hunger strike, they will hold you like babies.” 35

However, although there were discussions about it, the hunger strike did not become a reality until May 11. On that evening, Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, and four other students dined in a small restaurant, where they discussed the move- ment. They all agreed that the movement was in crisis but that the government did not have any sincere desire for a genuine dialogue and was playing for time.36 In light of the situation, Wuer Kaixi proposed a hunger strike. They de- cided to start the hunger strike on May 13 in Tiananmen Square. The date was chosen for two reasons: first, they had no time to waste, since students were rapidly losing interest in the movement, and second, they predicted that to make Gorbachev’s state visit successful, the government would have to make major concessions once students occupied Tiananmen Square.37

The hunger strike mobilization started after the students went back to

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38. Eventually about two hundred students from Beijing University participated in the hunger strike on its first day.

39. See Wang Chaohua (1993, 25). 40. Wang Chaohua (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 95).

school. It was not an easy process. Even at Beijing University, the most radical of the universities, after a whole day of effort only about forty students volun- teered to be hunger strikers. It was not until Chai Ling made her emotional speech at the Triangle on the night of May 12 that the number of students signed up for the hunger strike rose to about three hundred (Chai’s speech will be discussed in chapter 9).38

The Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union tried to stop the hunger strike. For example, Wang Chaohua, on behalf of the union, tried to persuade Chai Ling to call off the hunger strike. Chai replied: “The hunger strike was spon- taneously initiated by students. No one has the right to stop it!” 39 When Wang accused hunger strike leaders of abusing the name of the Beijing Students’ Au- tonomous Union to mobilize students, Zheng Xuguang jumped up with the rejoinder “Do you still believe that the autonomous union has authority over students?” 40 To some extent, Zheng was right. Since the rise of the hunger strike, movement organizations had less and less capacity to control the move- ment. In the end, the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union failed to stop the hunger strike.

The Hunger Strike Period

When the hunger strikers had just arrived at Tiananmen Square on the after- noon of May 13, they numbered only a little over three hundred. Including sup- porters, no more than 3,000 students stayed over the first night in Tiananmen Square. Most students and Beijing residents did not yet support or even seem to care about the hunger strike. Moreover, since the hunger strike had been or- ganized in a hurry, with most of the participants not thinking that it would last very long, the students in the Square had come with no extra clothes and with nothing to sleep on. On the night of May 13 the temperature dropped to five degrees Celsius. Therefore, all my hunger strike informants described the first night of the hunger strike as an extremely cold, hungry, and lonely one. How- ever, within two days the fasting population grew to over 3,000, drew millions of sympathizers, and induced a leadership crisis within the government that led to Zhao Ziyang’s step-down and to martial law. The hunger strike turned out

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41. Up to this point, for fear that their involvement would invite head-on government repression, most of the intellectual elites who had been highly active before the rise of the movement were actually trying to distance themselves from the students.

42. See Liu Xiaobo (1992, 99), Wang Chaohua (1993, 26), and Shen Tong (1990, 239– 40) for details of this meeting.

to be a great success of movement mobilization—but it also set the stage for the movement’s bloody ending.

dialogue and intellectual mediation

May 13 and 14 were crucial days for the eventual outcome of the movement. The hunger strike was still at an initial stage, and the government desperately wanted it to end before Gorbachev’s state visit. Besides, the intellectual elites and moderate student leaders also wanted the hunger strike to end quickly so that they could have time to consolidate what they had gained over the previous few days. As a result, many contacts were made among students, intellectual elites, and the government.41 However, despite the good faith of some move- ment organizers, intellectuals, and top government leaders, they all failed to end the hunger strike. In its wake, the situation in Tiananmen Square became much less controllable, and most top state leaders grew uninterested in com- promising. The following focuses on these two most dramatic days.

The government reacted immediately to the news of the hunger strike. On the morning of May 13, Yan Mingfu, the head of the CCP Central Commit- tee’s United Front Work Department, met with several intellectuals and asked them to gather the student leaders and some intellectuals influential among stu- dents (as mediators) for an emergency meeting in the afternoon. Eventually, such student leaders as Wuer Kaixi, Wang Chaohua, Xiang Xiaoji, Shen Tong, Wang Dan, Chai Ling, Feng Congde, and Zhou Yongjun went to the meeting, along with a few intellectuals including Liu Xiaobo, Chen Ziming, and Wang Juntao.42

Yan Mingfu spoke first. He told the participants that the purposes of this meeting were, first, to get the opinions of students and intellectuals and pass them in the quickest way to the Central Committee, and second, to persuade students to withdraw from the Square before Gorbachev’s arrival. Then, start- ing with Wuer Kaixi and Wang Dan, students and intellectuals in turn aired their views on the movement and the hunger strike. In sum, they stressed that their actions were lawful, peaceful, and patriotic. While most of them wel- comed the recent changes in the government’s attitude toward the move-

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43. Yan Mingfu’s speech is cited from Liu Xiaobo (1992).

ment, they accused the government of lacking sincerity. They wanted the gov- ernment to openly change the verdict of the April 26 People’s Daily editorial. They also demanded immediate talks between the Dialogue Delegation and the government. A few also demanded that the government recognize the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union and punish the policemen who beat the students during the Xinhua Gate Incident. Yan Mingfu responded to the stu- dents as follows:

I will report what you have said to the Central Committee as soon as the meeting is over. The student movement is a patriotic movement. It was brought about by many cultural, social, and educational problems in our country. Some of the prob- lems have been extremely serious. The Central Committee has felt a great sense of urgency in dealing with these problems. . . . After the April 27 demonstration, the Central Committee seriously considered students’ demands. All the problems can be solved by seeking common ground while respecting our differences. Dialogue is a major component of democracy. It is acceptable to both students and the gov- ernment. It was probably the lack of transparency that led to students’ suspicion of the government’s sincerity about having a genuine dialogue. . . . [Therefore] the gov- ernment should take responsibility for it and make self-criticism. China is currently in a transition from a closed society to a modern society. Different social groups cannot get the same benefits in this process. The whole society is full of contradic- tions and conflicts. To solve these problems, we need constructive efforts from dif- ferent social groups. The April 27 and May 4 demonstrations by students were very successful, and the hunger strike is also not an unlawful action. What the Central Committee is concerned about is that the hunger strike will be in conflict with Gor- bachev’s coming visit. The Central Committee, therefore, hopes that our fellow stu- dents will put the interest of our nation in the first place. . . . I hope that the stu- dents could restrain their behavior by a sense of historical duty. I know that you will do it because history has dictated that you are a generation that still concerns itself with our country and our people, not a generation that leads a life of pleasure.43

Yan Mingfu’s frankness won over the majority of the student leaders. By the end of the meeting, both Wuer Kaixi and Wang Dan had guaranteed that the students would withdraw from Tiananmen Square before May 15. Yet if Yan had won over most, he had not persuaded all. Shortly after the meeting started, two hunger strike activists, Chai Ling and her husband Feng Congde, told the students beside them that they had something to do in the Square and left quietly.

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44. The following description of the meeting is based mainly on Wang Chaohua (1993, 28). 45. In Shen Tong’s (1990, 245) autobiography, he says that the meeting could not be broadcast live be-

cause it was in conflict with a soccer game. I am inclined towards Wang Chaohua’s version of the story since Wang got the information directly from Yan Mingfu, while Shen Tong heard it from someone else.

On the early morning of May 14, Yan Mingfu met again with the student leaders Wang Chaohua, Wang Dan, and Wuer Kaixi.44 Yan told them that the government had agreed to hold a dialogue with the Dialogue Delegation. The government representatives included Li Tieying, Yan Mingfu, Luo Gan, and ten deputy ministers of the State Council. Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi said that the ranks of the government representatives were not high enough. Yan replied: “Li Tieying is a deputy prime minister and a member of the Politburo, I am the secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CCP. Do you really think that our ranks are not high enough?” The three student leaders had nothing more to say, so they started to discuss technical details of the dialogue. Eventually, they broached the idea of broadcasting the dialogue live on CCTV. Yan Mingfu said this was impossible because the United Front Work Department had no such equipment and the equipment of the CCTV station was being used to prepare Gorbachev’s state visit.45 The three student leaders countered that they might not be able to persuade the hunger strikers if the dialogues were not broadcast live. After some discussion, Yan agreed that “the meeting could be video-typed by CCTV staff . . . and completely broadcast in the evening. Meanwhile, stu- dents can also record the meeting themselves and broadcast it in Tiananmen Square.”

The three student leaders accepted the arrangement, but they also hemmed and hawed in front of Yan Mingfu. Yan apparently understood their hesita- tion. He continued: “The Central Committee had decided not to hold the welcome ceremony for Gorbachev’s state visit at Tiananmen Square regardless of whether the students withdraw from the Square or not. Now, the decision is completely up to the students. Even if you decide to leave, are you certain that you can bring the students out?” According to Wang Chaohua, they im- mediately sensed the danger if they could not bring students out, and started to discuss how to bring the students out in front of Yan. At one point, Wang Chaohua criticized the hunger strike, orchestrated by Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi, as an irresponsible action, and asked Wang Dan whether he could really persuade Chai Ling and other radical students to leave. After some thought, Wang Dan replied that they would leave if some renowned intellectuals would go there to persuade them. Then, Wang Chaohua said that she knew of a meet- ing of some such intellectuals in the afternoon, where they might be asked to help. Wang Chaohua volunteered for the job herself.

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46. The description of the meeting is mainly based on Dai (1993). 47. Li Lu (1990, 136). 48. Xiang (1995). 49. The following narratives concerning the dialogue are mainly based on reports by three informants

(no. 57, 58, 59). As members of the Dialogue Delegation, they all attended the meeting.

The meeting that Wang Chaohua mentioned had been organized by Dai Qing, a controversial journalist at Guangming Daily. It had been arranged the previous day, May 12, when Dai Qing attended a dialogue between Hu Qili and several communication theorists and senior journalists.46 Dai Qing told Hu Qili that having been interviewed many times by foreign journalists regarding the movement had led her to wonder, “Why can’t the Guangming Daily publish our views directly?” Hu Qili agreed. Dai Qing then said: “Our newspapers of- ten invite scholars to participate in panel discussions and to publish their views in a summary. Could we do the same this time?” Hu Qili replied: “You can de- cide the form yourself.”

With a positive answer, Dai Qing started to prepare the meeting. She even- tually invited ten people, including Yan Jiaqi, Su Xiaokang, Bao Zunxin, Liu Zaifu, and Li Zehou. Before the meeting started, Wang Chaohua went in, and after a while Wen Yuankai also joined in, together with several private entrepre- neurs. The meeting started at about 2:00 p.m. At the same time, Tiananmen Square was already packed with some 300,000 people, as more and more stu- dents joined the hunger strike.47 With the arrival of Wang Chaohua, the meet- ing shifted focus. Wang Chaohua cried, begging them to use their influence to persuade the hunger strikers to leave the Square. Many intellectuals sobbed with Wang; they agreed to take on the task. Before they went to Tiananmen Square, Su Xiaokang wrote an “urgent appeal” to be read in the Square on be- half of these intellectuals.

At around 4:45 p.m., while the twelve intellectuals were still in the meeting, the dialogue between the government and students started. The conference room, set up as suggested by Xiang Xiaoji,48 had a long table in the middle. Thirteen government officials sat on one side of the table and the same num- ber of speakers from the Dialogue Delegation sat on the other side. Behind the speakers sat the other members of the Dialogue Delegation and observers from the hunger strike group. On both sides there were journalists from China’s ma- jor news agencies and newspapers.

However, although some government officials and student leaders had been working very hard to make the dialogue possible, the dialogue was from the very beginning a chaotic one. First, the members of Dialogue Delegation were eager to attend the meeting whether or not they had been selected as speakers.49

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50. One informant (no. 59) told me that this action had been decided upon beforehand. Initially, they asked my informant to read it. She was requested to read with emotion and tears. Eventually, in order to better touch the hearts of the listeners, they decided to let a female hunger striker read the letter.

51. Chai Ling (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 107). 52. Most students treated the failed CCTV broadcast of the dialogue as a government conspiracy.

Shen Tong (1990, 247– 48) wrote that the dialogue was not broadcast because someone more powerful than Yan Mingfu stopped the process. My understanding is that during that period government control over the media almost collapsed and that more inflammatory reports appeared everywhere in the major official me- dia (chapter 10). I therefore accept Xiang Xiaoji’s version of the story (Xiang 1995, 72).

No one wanted to miss this historic moment. As a result, over forty students from the Dialogue Delegation participated in the meeting, although the plan had been for only twenty to attend. Second, the hunger strikers did not trust the Dialogue Delegates and therefore sent observers to sit behind the speakers. Shortly after the dialogue started, Wuer Kaixi asked Cheng Zhen, a hunger striker from Beijing Normal University, to read a letter entitled “A Letter to Mama.” While she was reading, most of the people in the room, including jour- nalists and government officials, burst into tears. Students in the room became very emotional thereafter.50 Third, although the students had been demanding dialogue for over ten days, they were not really prepared for it. Most of the student representatives in the meeting were unknown to each other a few days previously. There was little consensus or coordination among them. Once in the limelight of what they had perceived to be a historic moment, many of them could not even behave normally. Their speakers often made excessively long speeches with contents only remotely related to the dialogue agenda. Those who were not selected as speakers either jumped in to talk or passed endless notes prompting speakers to raise issues which they saw as more important. Sometimes, students even fought to grab microphones.

Finally, before the dialogue started, the student broadcasting station at Tiananmen Square had announced: “Please go to the United Front Work Department to support the dialogue students. Some people there wanted to sell our fellow students out.” 51 Hence hunger strikers and supporters were con- tinuously arriving at the United Front Work Department. From time to time these students demanded that Xiang Xiaoji or even Shen Tong go out of the conference room to make various requests or add more demands. They also jammed the door of the United Front Work Department and blocked the crew of the CCTV when they tried to send the videocassette to the station for broadcast. Yet after the students found out that the dialogue was not being broadcast on TV, they repeatedly shouted outside the United Front Work De- partment to demand an immediate termination of the dialogue.52 Eventually, at

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53. According to Wang Chaohua (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 102–103), she went in because she saw many students jammed in front of the United Front Work Department shouting: “Stop the dialogue! Start the live broadcast immediately!” She agreed to deliver their message. She was escorted into the conference room by two students because the students did not trust her either. Therefore, she had to act radically after she went in.

54. Unless otherwise specified, the following account of the activities of the twelve scholars at Tianan- men Square is based on Dai (1993), Su Wei (1992), and Shu (1990).

55. There were two versions of the story. Su (1992) remembered that it was Wen Yuankai who read the appeal, while Dai (1993) claimed that she had read it. Both of them were among the twelve scholars. I have to rely on Dai Qing’s account because one is less likely to mistake someone else’s speech as one’s own.

56. The appeal was broadcast on CCTV News and published on the front page of Guangming Daily the next day. The English version of the text appears in Han and Hua (1990, 207–208).

7:15 p.m., a group of students headed by Wang Chaohua rushed into the meet- ing room to demand that either the meeting be immediately broadcast live or that it be stopped.53 Students in the room immediately stood up and accused the failed broadcast of being the result of a government conspiracy. At this mo- ment, Chai Ling turned on a cassette player to play the “Hunger Strike Decla- ration.” The dialogue ended in chaos.

While the dialogue was still in process, the twelve scholars headed to the State Council’s Bureau of Complaints, where they arranged to meet with some hunger strike organizers in order to persuade them to bring the students out of Tiananmen Square.54 To Dai Qing’s surprise, the hunger strikers expressed their total agreement with the view of these “teachers” and invited them to talk directly with the rest of the students.

The twelve intellectuals were also warmly welcomed when they entered the Square. After they arrived at the broadcasting center, one of them read the “Urgent Appeal.” 55 The appeal greatly praised the students and the movement. It demanded that the government recognize the movement as a patriotic de- mocracy movement and the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union as a legal or- ganization. Meanwhile, it also suggested that the students withdraw from the Square to let the Sino-Soviet summit proceed smoothly.56 While the appeal was well received, the students did not withdraw. In fact, a few radical students even thought that the real intention of the scholars was to help the government. Li Lu recalled his feelings after having listened to the “Urgent Appeal”:

It sounded good. They were voicing our main demands. But when we calmed down and thought, we realized that they were actually acting on behalf of the govern- ment. Chinese intellectuals are always apprehensive and timid. These [intellectuals], though they openly said they supported the students, actually spoke for the gov- ernment. The intellectuals might be able to persuade students to leave the Square

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57. Li Lu (1990, 138). 58. Liu Xiaobo (1992, 122). The line about the savior echoes “L’Internationale.” A literal translation of

the Chinese words to that line reads: “There has never been a savior, / Nor should we rely on gods and emperors.”

59. In fact, another dialogue was held between government officials and student leaders on the morn- ing of May 15. Yet, many important hunger strike organizers did not even participate in this dialogue.

60. See Brook (1992, 38) and Schell (1994, 85).

but they didn’t have the power to guarantee that the government would not mete out punishment later.57

While the scholars were trying to persuade the students to withdraw, Chai Ling passed a note to Feng Congde which said: “Please read the hunger strike declaration three times in the broadcasting station.” As Feng read the declara- tion, the emotions of the students in the Square came to a boil. The situation soon spiraled out of control. The twelve scholars had to flee from the Square amid a hostile crowd. As they left, the students hurled insults at them: “Get the hell out of Tiananmen Square! We do not need the Savior!” “This is our busi- ness! Nobody can represent us!” “We are risking our lives to let you harvest the fruits? Only in your dreams!” 58

Thus, the students still occupied Tiananmen Square when Gorbachev ar- rived in Beijing on May 15.59 This was the first state visit between the former Soviet Union and China in thirty years. It marked the ending of hostile rela- tions between two countries that shared a common border of over 4,000 kilo- meters. Therefore, the visit had been for a long time portrayed in the Chinese media as a major diplomatic breakthrough. Yet, the welcome ceremony was re- arranged to take place at Beijing Airport, and the first meeting between China’s president Yang Shangkun and Gorbachev in the Great Hall of the People was delayed for two hours. Moreover, the government had to cancel a few other activities because of the Tiananmen Square occupation.60 To Deng Xiaoping and many other top state leaders, the students’ action was a great insult and an indication that a moderate approach was not going to work. At this point the so-called conservative/reformer struggle within the party intensified greatly (chapter 7).

mass support during the hunger strike

It was against this background that the hunger strike entered its third day— May 15. On that day, the Hunger Strike Headquarters (hereafter the Head- quarters) was founded. Chai Ling became the general commander. Feng Congde,

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61. According to Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 136), this was how the Headquarters was formed: “Because it was urgent, we had no time to hold a meeting to discuss how to establish such an organization. I set a condition that those who were willing to stand out and to dedicate their lives to the hunger strike and the democratic movement should be the leaders. . . . At that moment, there were a dozen or so students around. Later, they all became key members of the Headquarters’ Secretary Department. Then, Chai Ling made a speech and the Hunger Strike Headquarters was formally established.”

Li Lu, and Zhang Boli became vice commanders.61 Most Beijing students were not in favor of a hunger strike at first. Yet as the hunger strike continued, stu- dents and Beijing residents became more and more concerned about the health conditions of the students and antagonized by what they perceived to be the lack of response on the part of the government. An informant (no. 3) who had acted as a guard for the hunger strikers since May 15 remembered:

I was very much against the idea of a hunger strike. . . . Before the hunger strike, we had resumed class. It seemed that everything was going to be over soon. . . . How- ever, as soon as the hunger strike started, the government’s reaction really disap- pointed us. On the first day of the hunger strike, we were very surprised that the government did not try to remove the strikers. However, after the second and third days, we became more and more sympathetic to them. The key was sympathy. Many of my friends told me that they came to Tiananmen Square because they were moved.

Therefore, Beijing students returned to the political concerns they had been preoccupied with earlier. By May 16 the number of hunger strikers had increased to 3,100. Each university started to set up camps in the Square to support the hunger strikers. Finally, many students also volunteered to do different services in the Square, including guarding the hunger strikers and serving as picketers to keep the life-lines unblocked by the waves of visitors and supporters.

After May 15, the sirens of ambulances could be heard day and night in Tiananmen Square and along the roads to the hospitals. Inspired by the ex- tremely positive coverage that China’s official media was giving to the move- ment in those days (detailed in chapter 10), Beijing residents of all occupa- tions—including such traditionally loyal elements of the government as lower- and middle-rank government bureaucrats, police, and PLA officers—demon- strated to urge the government to negotiate with the students and solve the cri- sis. On both May 17 and 18 the size of demonstrations reached well above a mil- lion people.

This mass support has generally been treated as a sign of the rise of civil so- ciety or of working-class consciousness in China. What I want to emphasize is

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62. In some cases, leaders in work-units even personally led demonstrations. For example, the manager of the Beijing Cookware Plant personally led his entire workforce out to march in the Square (Walder 1991a, 485). The vice chancellor of Nankai University also personally led doctors and teachers from Tianjin to demonstrate in the Square under the banner “sympathy delegation” (Shengyuantuan) (informant no. 27).

63. In 1997, I went to Beijing again and interviewed nine workers from different factories who had par- ticipated in demonstrations during the hunger strike. They all provided very similar accounts of how they had joined the demonstrations, which I have summarized above.

that most people who participated in this part of the movement did so pri- marily out of sympathy with the frail hunger strikers. Moreover, most demon- strations in this period were organized semi-officially. The following narratives from two of my informants provide examples:

[During the hunger strike] many people at our institute had demonstrated at the Square; most of these were young persons. Before the demonstration, some people in the Communist Youth League announced the date of the demonstration on the broadcasting station owned by our institute. The demonstration was organized by the Communist Youth League of the institute. . . . The CCP general secretary in the institute did not order us to participate, but he by no means had tried to stop us. . . . Instead, the general secretary assigned several buses to take us to the Square (no. 5)

In the parade of Beijing Automobiles, I saw my schoolmate. I asked him how he came to be there. He told me that the director of his unit had told them: “You can join the march if you want. I will provide you with drink if you go.” He then came. (no. 11)

Eleven of my informants described their experiences during these demon- strations. Strikingly, they all give similar accounts. During the hunger strike pe- riod, demonstrations were usually organized by the cadres of such organiza- tions as the Communist Youth League or the official worker union of a given work-unit; they were generally tacitly approved of by the leaders of the work- units.62 The authorities in the work-units also allowed demonstrators to use such work-unit resources as money, the flag of the unit, materials to make ban- ners, communications equipment, and buses or trucks. Most demonstrators also got paid while marching in Tiananmen Square.63

In these days supporting hunger strikers became a moral imperative, putting enormous pressure on the people in those work-units that had not yet marched on the street. By May 18 the Office of News and Publication, a very conserva- tive institute, had still not demonstrated. Many of its staff members were very unhappy. As one person said publicly at the institute: “Even the State Council and the handicapped people have demonstrated in Tiananmen Square. In Bei-

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64. This piece of information was provided by informant no. 5, who was herself a journalist in that unit.

65. See Calhoun (1994, 94 –97), Perry (1992), Walder (1991a, 1991b), Walder and Gong (1993), and Wang Shaoguang (1990b). For example, Walder (1991a, 467) evaluates worker participation during the movement in one of his articles thus: “In May of 1989 urban workers burst suddenly onto the Chinese po- litical scene. They marched by the tens of thousands in huge Beijing street demonstrations, in delegations from hundreds of workplaces—acts repeated on a smaller scale in cities throughout the country. While organized strikes were rare, small groups of dissident workers formed dozens of independent unions and other political groups from Sichuan to Shanghai, and from Inner Mongolia to Guangdong. The most vis- ible, the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union, set up in mid-April, had an organized presence on Tianan- men Square beginning in the week of the student hunger strike, claimed thousands of members, published dozens of handbills and political manifestos, and played an important role in organizing demonstrations after the declaration of martial law. The workers’ unprecedented political response helped transform a vi- brant student movement into the most severe popular challenge to Communist Party rule since 1949.”

66. In the early period of the movement, Tiananmen Square became a place for public speeches. Many Beijing residents, including workers, went to the Square in the evening. Some Beijing residents even made occasional speeches along with the students or vowed to establish some new organizations. Their activities had no impact in the Square, however.

67. See Walder and Gong (1993, 7). 68. Many other students were involved in the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union. For example, a

movement activist from Qinghua University in a subsequently published diary wrote that the Beijing

jing only two institutions have not yet marched on the street: one is the CCP Politburo and the other is our institute.” These and similar comments made the leaders of the unit extremely uncomfortable. Eventually, they allowed the people in their unit to demonstrate during work time and provided them with resources, including transportation.64

workers’ participation during the movement

The phenomenon of mass participation has made scholars strongly emphasize the importance of independent union activities during the movement.65 My study, however, shows that independent union activities played a minimal role. Since the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union ( gongzilian) was known as the most important independent work union established during the movement, the following narrative mainly focuses on that organization.66

The Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union was formally established on May 18.67 It reflected the fact that some student leaders had started to mobilize workers during the hunger strike period. Li Jinjin, a graduate student from Beijing University, played a crucial role in the formation of the organization. Alongside Li were student activists, including Zhou Yongjun and Xiong Yan, who were also deeply involved in organizing and who also held important positions in the Workers’ Union. Li Jinjin acted in the union as a legal consul- tant, and Zhou Yongjun as the Minister of Organization.68 In fact, most of the

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Workers’ Autonomous Union held a press conference at the Square on June 1 in which, of the three people in charge, one was from People’s University and another from Beijing Agricultural University— only Han Dongfang was a worker (China News Digest 1994, 2.).

69. See Black and Munro (1993, 222) for how Li Jinjin helped the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union to prepare various documents.

70. For example, Walder and Gong (1993) have cited the Workers’ Union’s published documents to argue for its importance.

71. Zhou Yongjun (1993, 58). 72. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 371).

documents of the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union were prepared by Li and other students.69 Since the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union’s rhetoric was thus to a great degree crafted by the students, it is misleading to argue, on the basis of the Worker Union’s published documents, for the workers’ signifi- cance during the movement.70

Furthermore, most of the resources used to run the Beijing Workers’ Au- tonomous Union were obtained from or through students. Zhou Yongjun re- called how he helped establish a broadcasting station for the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union: “The Stone Company helped me; they gave me 10,000 yuan. Adding to it some ‘run-for-life’ money that a Hong Kong journalist had given me, I bought a generator. I then installed a broadcasting station on a bus and gave it to the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union. . . . Because of its broadcasting station, the Workers’ Autonomous Union achieved a promi- nent position among other organizations.” 71 Li Lu remembered: “Whether it be the Workers’ Picket Corps, the Beijing Citizen Picket Corps, or the Beijing City People Dare-to-Die Corps, students helped organize these groups and provided them with money. In particular, we assisted the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union in its preparation and formation. Even their broadcast- ing equipment and announcer were from the Headquarters. At that time, we worked together every day. Their headquarters was very close to ours. We had very close contacts.” 72

A student leader whom I have interviewed gave a similar account of how an- other non-student movement organization was established:

The Beijing Citizens’ Autonomous Alliance was organized by Wan Xinjin, a young teacher in our university. He said that we needed to have such an organization and I agreed with him. After trying for a while he eventually established the organiza- tion and made himself the general commander. Between ten and twenty workers followed him. Financing the alliance depended entirely on me. They were unable to raise money because they were not good at making effective fundraising speeches (no. 60).

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73. Xiong Yan (1992) recalled that it was he who read the declaration. 74. Zhang Boli (1994a). 75. Zhang Lun (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 297–98). 76. Walder and Gong (1993, 13–14). 77. Yan and Li (1989, 132). 78. Black and Monro (1993, 229). 79. Zhang Boli (1994a) recalled that Wang Chaohua also brought many students there. Their arrival

raised the number of protestors at the Beijing Public Security Bureau to several thousand.

When the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union formally announced its es- tablishment, its declaration was read by Li Jinjin.73 Li also asked Zhang Boli for help. Zhang let them use the broadcasting equipment belonging to the Headquarters, sent picketers to maintain order for them, and even provided food for the workers who attended the ceremony.74 Even the banner with the giant characters “The Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union” on it was pre- pared by Zhang Lun, another student leader.75

On May 29, three members of the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union were arrested. On May 30 the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union confronted Beijing security forces, demanding their immediate release. This action caught the attention of the Western media and has been used to argue for the im- portance and strength of the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union during the movement.76 Yet the action was actually initiated by students and involved heavy student participation. When students at Tiananmen Square were in- formed about the arrests, they went to factories to mobilize workers to rescue the three workers. However, their attempts were unsuccessful.77 Therefore, on the morning of May 30 Li Jinjin and Han Dongfang led some people to the Beijing Public Security Bureau to demand an immediate release of the three workers. Among their large number of followers, only around twenty were workers.78 Meanwhile, students also went to Tiananmen Square to gather more supporters.79 My informant (no. 60) recalled:

[Some students] came and told me that the Beijing Public Security Bureau had ar- rested several workers and asked us to go there and demand an immediate release. At the moment, there were only nine students in our tent. I led them to the Public Security Bureau. On the way, we made a lot of fuss to attract people. When we ar- rived, several thousand people had followed us. I made a speech and demanded that they release the workers. Some people from the Bureau came out to take photo- graphs. They asked us to send in representatives. However, I did not know when, who, and how many people were kidnapped. I also had no idea about the overall plan of this action. Thus I refused to go in. I said that I wanted to go in, but I dared not. . . . [Instead] I asked them to send people out. I said that I could guarantee their

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80. The validity of this narrative can be cross-verified by Xiong Yan’s brief mention of the event (Xiong 1992): “On May 30, after the Beijing Public Security Bureau arrested three workers, I mobilized stu- dents and organized a sit-in in front of the Bureau.” Because Xiong Yan claimed his leadership publicly, the event was even recorded in a government document (Leng and Miao 1989, 187).

81. Liang Er (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 244).

safety. This went on for over two hours. Meanwhile, I asked some people to look for Zhou Yongjun to ask who had been kidnapped and how. . . . After some time, I saw a large crowd of people coming from the east. I saw flags of at least twenty universities. In the front was Xiong Yan. When they arrived Xiong announced “I am Xiong Yan. I am the general commander of tonight’s action. We have the fol- lowing demands . . . ” Once Xiong declared himself the general commander, I left the scene.80

In sum, if we examine the role of the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Union through such criteria as leadership, sources of material resources, and major ac- tivities and participants, it becomes obvious that the union was basically only an appendage of the student movement.

the financial resources of the tiananmen square occupation

At Tiananmen Square, over three thousand hunger strikers needed shelter, drink, medicine, and medical support; the encamped students and the students on picket lines also needed food; students from other provinces were arriving in Beijing on an ever larger scale; student leaders needed communications equip- ment and printing materials. Where did the money come from for all this? An answer to this question will help us to understand the nature of the movement and of the state-society relationship behind the movement.

It is not easy to estimate how much was needed to run Tiananmen Square each day. Liang Er, the head of the Financial Department of the Beijing Stu- dents’ Autonomous Union, recalled that they spent a maximum of 200,000 yuan a day in cash on their logistics.81 Considering that the Headquarters had its own financial system, that each university had independent financial sources, and that many donations were in kind, the occupation might easily have con- sumed several million yuan a day at its peak.

During the hunger strike the major financial resources were donations from individual Chinese as well as aid from government and public institutions. The following report from Guangming Daily gives us a clue to how people in Beijing financially supported the Tiananmen Square occupation:

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82. Wu et al. (1989, 296). 83. See Lin (1992, 85 – 86). According to Zhang Boli, there were eighty buses (Zhang Boli 1994b, 76).

On the same day, students also received over 10,000 raincoats and much other rain gear (Wu et al. 1989, 264). 84. Wu et al. (1989, 268 – 69).

At the headquarters of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union, located at the south-east corner of the Monument to the People’s Heroes, a massive number of people were pushing their way through in order to contribute money or food to stu- dents. They included workers, peasants, teachers, government cadres, and private businessmen. A cadre from the Ministry of Culture donated three hundred and sixty yuan; a vice division commander in the PLA donated a thousand; Lei Jieqiong, the chair of China’s Progressive Democracy Party, donated a thousand. . . . Work- ers from Beijing General Textile Company collectively donated ten thousand. . . .

Meanwhile the All-China Federation of Trade Unions and All-China Social Welfare Lottery Fundraising Committee had each donated 100,000 yuan, and the All-China Hardware and Mineral Products Import-export Corporation had do- nated 50,000 yuan.

Our journalists also saw fast food and bread sent by restaurants and private busi- nessmen; timbers from a timber factory, bundles of plastic films from the Institute of Planning and Designing under the Ministry of Light Industry, and even a whole truckload of mattresses from somewhere.82

Perhaps surprisingly, a huge amount of resources actually came from the state or from public institutions. The following description by Nan Lin may give us a picture of this:

With the tacit approval of the government and the command of the city govern- ment, the Red Cross, city hospitals and clinics, and ambulance services coordinated the transport of the fainting strikers to hospitals and clinics, then returning them to the Square. On May 17, eighty Red Cross members, sixteen ambulances, and two buses were permanently stationed at Tiananmen to provide health and emergency services not only to the strikers but also the encamped students. On May 18, the sixth day into the hunger strike, more than 3,500 trips had been provided by the am- bulance services. Because of impending weather (rain was expected), the city gov- ernment, on the recommendation of the city Red Cross, dispatched seventy buses to Tiananmen to provide shelter for the strikers.83

Another instance of government support occurred on May 17, when the Beijing Police answered an emergency call from students of Qinghua University and sent several thousand police to help student picketers keep the order along the life-lines.84 Similarly, although Li Lu has written that he stole many bottles of

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85. Li Lu (1990, 136). 86. Wu et al. (1989, 216). Li Ximing (Wu et al. 1989, 332), a top government official, has also described

how the government provided material resources for hunger strikers. 87. Liu Xiaobo (1992, 129). 88. Liang Er (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 181). 89. Liu Xiaobo (1992, 142).

normal saline from a hospital to feed fellow hunger strikers,85 in fact, most of the bottles of normal saline were provided by the government. By May 16 the Beijing Emergency Treatment Center alone had already sent 5,000 bottles of normal saline to the Square.86

Major universities in Beijing also made great efforts to help the students. Liu Xiaobo has recalled:

I asked the general secretary of the CCP and the head of the General Affairs De- partment in Beijing Normal University to send quilts, winter jackets, umbrellas, raincoats, boots, and other necessities to Tiananmen Square as soon as possible. General Secretary Fang Fukang quickly came with a few other people. They pitched tents for us. They also brought much rain gear and things to keep the students warm during the cold night.87

The same university authorities, in response to the call of student activist Liang Er, let students use the cars and buses that belonged to the university for free. The university also supplied a huge amount of food for students who had trav- eled to Beijing from other provinces.88

The abundance of monetary and material resources could also be seen from the tremendous waste in the Square. All the informants who mention the issue tell similar stories. However, none of the accounts is as striking as Liu Xiaobo’s:

[In Tiananmen Square] almost all the drinks were thrown away before they were emptied. Countless bottles of normal saline were thrown away while almost full. Half or a whole boxes of fast food, half or whole loaves of bread, and other food- stuff were spread everywhere. The cigarettes that students smoked became more and more expensive, as did the liquor they drank. . . . There was no way to probe into corruption and squandering due to the lack of financial control. The amount of garbage itself testified to the wasteful habits. Different movement organizations and various hunger strike groups constantly fought, sometimes physically, to get more materials. Every group was desperately trying to get more. They would rather store things up now and throw them away later than share with others. . . . I saw with my own eyes a female student who one time opened thirteen bottles of nor- mal saline and threw them away one by one after only a few sips.89

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90. Feng Congde (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 151) has described how this broadcasting center was estab- lished. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 138) claims: “Our Headquarters was maintained mainly because of Feng Congde’s broadcasting center. Without the broadcasting center, the Headquarters would have existed only in name.”

91. One of the student initiators of the broadcasting station has given a detailed account on its for- mation and activities (China News Digest 1994).

92. Zheng (1993, 95).

Obviously, extensive monetary and material support from ordinary Chinese, the government, and public institutions sustained the Tiananmen Square oc- cupation. The government made great efforts to help because they did not want to see students die or an epidemic break out in a congested and extremely un- sanitary Tiananmen Square. Yet public institutions had provided more than what the government intended.

movement organizations and leadership

During the hunger strike conflicts between student leaders in the Headquarters and other movement activists were intense. For instance, on May 14 Feng Congde and several other students from Beijing University established a broadcasting station in the Square, which became the mouthpiece of the Headquarters.90

However, on the next day, students from Qinghua University constructed a more powerful broadcasting station known as the Voice of the Student Move- ment.91 Student leaders of the Autonomous Union group had more control over this station. Conflicts between these two groups never stopped. “The two stations turned on and started to broadcast at the same time. They both made announcements and gave orders. Their broadcasts interfered with each other.” 92

Major leaders from these two centers, Feng Congde and Zhou Fengsuo, twice even fought physically.

After the hunger strike started, the Dialogue Delegation gradually lost its influence, and the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union’s influence over the movement declined. The hunger strike leaders achieved domination over the movement. However, the hunger strike leaders were also divided. There were two types of hunger strike leaders. The first type, including Wuer Kaixi and to a less extent Wang Dan, had taken the hunger strike as a political action. To them, an event such as Gorbachev’s visit was a good occasion to boost the movement and to push the government toward more concessions. To other leaders, however, the hunger strike was just a means of expression and a chance to sacrifice for a better China. They did not care much about Gorbachev’s state

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93. This was indicated by the behavior of student leaders. For example, while Wuer Kaixi and Wang Dan attended dozens of press conferences and interviews with foreign journalists, student leaders such as Li Lu, Feng Congde, and Chai Ling participated in very few of them.

94. Tan Sitong was a key figure in the Hundred Day Reform (1898) during the late Qing dynasty. When the reform failed and all key figures were ordered to be arrested, Tan had a chance to go into hid- ing, but he refused to do so. He said that he wanted to dedicate his life to awakening more people. Tan be- came a legendary figure after being killed.

visit and the accompanying arrival of a large number of foreign journalists,93

and they decided to continue the hunger strike until the government com- pletely accepted their demands. The nature of the hunger strike (by which I mean the amount of personal sacrifice involved) determined that those students who joined the hunger strike tended to belong to the latter group. This was reflected by the initial hunger strike mobilization at Beijing University, which contributed the majority of the hardcore hunger strikers. As will be discussed in chapter 9, the mobilization at Beijing University was not very successful un- til Chai Ling recast the purpose of the strike from “for democracy” to “to see the true face of the government and test the consciousness of the Chinese.”

Therefore, though student leaders such as Wuer Kaixi and Wang Dan played a crucial role in initiating the hunger strike, they were, from the outset, unable to control it. In fact, because of their relative flexibility in negotiating and in dealing with government officials, their credentials among hunger strik- ers quickly declined. After the hunger strike began, the Square was controlled by idealists such as Chai Ling, Feng Congde, Zhang Boli, and Li Lu. “Dedica- tion,” “Reform needs sacrifice,” “China needs a second Tan Sitong,” 94 “We face death, fight for life”: such slogans dominated the discourse of the hunger strike students. Some hunger strikers even refused to drink water and planned to burn themselves alive. As a result, such important events of this period as Gorbachev’s state visit and the concomitant arrival of a large number of foreign journalists failed to make a fundamental impact on the course of the move- ment. This was because the students who dominated the Tiananmen Square occupation in this period never treated those events in the first place as politi- cal opportunities.

Even student leaders in the Headquarters were not the most radical ones. Although they were extremely idealistic, their leadership position caused them to have more concerns than the rest of the hunger strikers. Therefore, they sometimes also thought of ending the hunger strike to avoid possible unin- tended consequences. However, the Headquarters leaders could not really con- trol fellow fasting students. Zheng Yi, who was in the Headquarters from May 16, observed:

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95. Zheng (1993, 70). 96. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 139) has claimed that the picket lines were mainly his effort, while Cal-

houn (1994, 73) has reported that they were largely the work of Zhang Lun. During that period, almost every university had its own pickets, while some pickets had independent origins. Although the pickets of different universities were coordinated, they might not necessarily be led by a single person or organiza- tion. As informant 3, a student who acted as a picketer, told me: “I did not know who was taking charge of the pickets, but we all knew what to do. There were some people who came over and asked us to do this or that, but it was not always the same people. Sometimes I also thought of something and went to tell other people what to do. The key was that if you had ideas, you shared them with others.”

97. Liu Xiaobo (1992, 131– 32) has described how this elaborate security system worked; student leader Liang Er (Huigu Yu Fansi 1993, 241) has recalled his difficulty in passing through some security lines.

Although the leaders at the Headquarters had endless meetings, the real decision- making power was not in the hands of these earthshaking young leaders. . . . When- ever the hunger strikers were asked about the idea of ending the fasting, the answer was a flat no. One night, that the hunger strike should end became the dominant opinion among the leaders. However, this was impossible to implement. Hunger strikers suspected that students in the Headquarters were going to sell out the fruit they had struggled to obtain. The government’s negligence had pushed hunger strikers to make up their minds to fight till death. . . . Many students even claimed that if the Headquarters decided to end the hunger strike, they would immediately kill themselves. The mood to fight with their lives was spreading and intensifying every hour. A common identity nurtured by the already 100-hour long hunger strike also unified the 3,000 hunger strikers. As long as one student refused to eat, the rest would follow.95

However, though student leaders had lost effective control over the direc- tion of the movement, Tiananmen Square became more hierarchical and or- derly as the movement went on. Many student leaders were now followed by several bodyguards to protect them. Picket lines were formed so that ambu- lances could enter and leave the Square quickly.96 Along with the picket lines was an elaborate security system. People were no longer able to move freely inside the Square without valid passes, which could be updated many times in a day. Even leaders and activists of the movement had difficulties moving around.97

end of the hunger strike

After the negotiation with students failed, the conflicts among top government leaders intensified. Between May 15 and 17, the CCP Central Committee held a series of meetings. In these meetings, most leaders except for Zhao Ziyang wanted to end the movement by martial law (chapter 7). After May 17 the

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98. Zhao Ziyang’s visit to hunger strike students on the morning of May 19 is not counted because it was obviously for a different purpose (see chapter 7).

99. Detailed reports on the meeting appeared in many sources. For English versions, see Oksenberg, Sullivan, and Lambert (1990, 269– 82) or Han and Hua (1990, 242– 46).

100. The following story is based mainly on Zhang Boli’s account (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 195; Zhang 1994c, 46 – 47). I also incorporated the accounts of Li Lu, Chai Ling, Feng Congde, and Liu Yan in Huigu yu Fansi (1993, 164 –70, 199–201, 204, and 201–203).

101. Around the time of the meeting, the Headquarters broadcasting center had already broadcast news reports that announced: “At 12:45 tonight the government will send troops to Tiananmen Square” (Bajiu Zhongguo Minyun Ziliaoce 1991, 185). Therefore, most students would have known the news of impending mar- tial law.

government again approached students. However, unlike the earlier attempts, these later contacts were aimed not so much at reaching an agreement with the students but at placating the public.98 For example, at the meeting between Li Peng and hunger strike organizers on May 18, while the students still demanded a dialogue and a positive evaluation of the movement as preconditions for end- ing the hunger strike, Li Peng was only interested in issues of how to end the hunger strike and send hunger strikers to the hospital.99

By May 19 most student leaders knew that the government was going to de- clare martial law. Therefore, many student leaders and activists wished to end the hunger strike so as not to give the government any excuse for employing martial law. On the late afternoon of May 19, two intellectuals went to the Square and found Zhang Boli.100 They brought Zhang to the Workers’ Cul- tural Palace, where some fifty intellectuals were waiting. They told Zhang that martial law was going to start at 12:00 a.m. that night. They suggested that the hunger strike be ended immediately so that the government would have no ex- cuse to resort to martial law. Zhang Boli agreed to persuade the other student leaders at the Headquarters. Meanwhile he asked the intellectuals to prepare for them a declaration marking the end of the hunger strike.

When Zhang Boli went back, he discussed thus with Li Lu and Chai Ling. Both of them agreed with him. At 7:00 p.m., they held a meeting to vote for the issue. About two hundred students came to the meeting, some of them hand- picked by Zhang Boli to come and support him. The meeting was held inside a big bus. Zhao Boli particularly ordered those who guarded the bus not to let Wuer Kaixi in. He was concerned that if Wuer did not agree with him, his cha- risma could reverse the opinion. Zhang Boli spoke first. He emphasized that many people were going to die if the hunger strike did not stop. He did not convey his exact intentions because he believed that the threat of martial law was still a secret.101 Others wanted to speak after Zhang. However, Zhang only

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102. The same evening another group of student leaders, including Wuer Kaixi, Liu Yan, Wang Dan, Ma Shaofang, Cheng Zhen, Liang Er, Shen Tong, Xiang Xiaoji, and many others, also had a meeting that decided to end the hunger strike. Liu Yan recalled that she and Wuer went to see Yan Mingfu in the after- noon (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 201–202). Yan Mingfu told them that martial law would be declared that night. Wuer asked Liu Yan to go to the Square to find all the student leaders that she could and ask them to come to the United Front Work Department to have a meeting. In that meeting, Yan told all students the news of martial law and asked them to end the hunger strike. Eventually, they all started to eat. When these stu- dents went back to Tiananmen Square, the meeting held by Zhang Boli was about to end. These two groups both appeared at the meeting that announced the end of the hunger strike. For other descriptions of the meeting at the United Front Work Department, see Shen Tong (1990, 287– 88).

103. Feng Congde (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 204). 104. For English versions of both speeches, see Han and Hua (1990, 255 –58).

called on students whom he had already lined up before the meeting. Then when Zhang asked students to vote on the proposal, the majority of partici- pants voted in favor of ending the hunger strike.102

Student leaders then organized a meeting to announce the decision to the rest of the hunger strikers. Chai Ling presided over the meeting. As soon as she announced the decision, many students stood up and accused the leaders of selling out the fasting students. Feng Congde, Chai Ling’s husband, also came forward, arguing that this decision was invalid and that another vote should take place. The student leaders then fought bitterly. Li Lu and Wang Wen even fought physically. Eventually, Feng resigned his position in the Headquarters and went out to hold another vote on the same issue. He got the opposite re- sult: “I held another vote after I left. . . . Over eighty universities sent repre- sentatives. At least eighty percent of those students said that between eighty to a hundred percent of their students did not want to end the hunger strike.” 103

It would be senseless to try and judge which vote was more valid. Most hunger strike students still fasted after the announcement. Nevertheless, Zhang Boli immediately informed Beijing journalists that the students had ended the hunger strike. Half an hour later, at about 9:30 p.m., the CCTV stopped nor- mal programming to broadcast the news. Student leaders thought that this was a great victory because it illegitimatized the use of martial law.

Then, at 10:00 p.m., the official loudspeakers at Tiananmen Square turned on to broadcast live a special meeting of top state leaders, Beijing municipal lead- ers, and army cadres. In the meeting, Li Peng vowed that the government would “take firm and decisive measures to end the turmoil to safeguard the CCP’s leadership and the socialist system.” Yang Shangkun stated that: “To maintain social order in the capital and restore the normal routine, we have no alterna- tive but to call some troops to Beijing.” 104 That same night troops started to approach Beijing from the suburbs. Early the next morning, martial law was

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105. See Brook (1992, ch. 3) on the troop movements during this period. 106. Since most of the armies entered by highway, I focus on what happened on the highways. 107. Most published sources have taken these answers literally. In fact, it was likely that some soldiers

just played innocent to avoid conflict. For example, a low-ranking officer from Dongbei Military Region wrote that they had watched the movement on a video before going to Beijing (Gao Zirong 1989, 8). Dur- ing martial law, many soldiers also waved the V-sign or shouted pro-movement slogans to make their in- filtration easier or to lessen the conflict (Chen Guishui 1989, 13).

formally declared. Some students fasted until May 20, but attention had turned to the coming troops.

From Martial Law to Military Repression

popular resistance

While the government’s special meeting was still in process, martial law troops moved on Beijing from all directions. By May 20 about seven or eight divisions of ten to fifteen thousand troops each had attempted to enter the city by rail- way, subway, and, mostly, by highway.105 Most Beijing residents were outraged by the news of martial law and the army advancement. They massed to block the troops and protect the students. On the major roads, people used every available material, such as sewer tubes, concrete posts, bicycle-lane dividers, garbage bins, steel bars, and buses, to build barricades.106 Such popular resis- tance usually started with a few students or residents who were walking on the road and spotted army movement. They either directly went to block the troops or went to inform residents nearby. People then arrived by the hundreds, thousands, and then tens of thousands, eventually outnumbering the soldiers.

At this stage most of the soldiers were unarmed. They simply stayed where they were after being stopped. When the people stopped the army, they went over or even climbed up into the military trucks to inform soldiers about the “truth” of the movement and to ask them to leave. The soldiers appeared be- wildered by the popular reaction. Facing harangues or even ridicule, they gen- erally kept silent. When they were asked why they had come to Beijing, their answers ranged from “to join a military exercise” to “to guard Tiananmen Square” to even “to make a movie.” Many of them told the people that they had not read anything for a week and knew very little about what had happened in Beijing after the start of the hunger strike.107

In most cases, the soldiers were nicely treated. Because of the barricades, the logistics of the army broke down. Local residents and students made efforts to

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108. Informant no. 63 joined a party of this kind near the Summer Palace. 109. See Yang Qingfu (1989) for a description of how soldiers were humiliated or even beaten by local

youths during this period. 110. Wu Ren (1990b, 69). 111. Ibid., 75. 112. Ren Bin (1989).

send food and drink to soldiers. Moreover, in places close to the university dis- trict where students dominated the resistance, students even held parties to en- tertain them.108 However, soldiers were also humiliated by some young Beijing residents. “All the soldiers are bastards!” “Go home, your mothers are dying!” “Your sisters are being raped by turns, hurry home!” Many soldiers were bruised by this sort of verbal abuse,109 and tension and resentment started to build up among them.

Occasional violence also erupted at this stage. The most serious incident happened in the Fengtai area, where at noon on May 20 a few hundred police- men turned their clubs on a crowd. Forty-five people were hurt in the conflict, among whom three were seriously wounded.110 In the same region, on the eve- ning of May 22, soldiers from the 113th Division of the 38th Army were start- ing to withdraw, as had been agreed upon by troop and student negotiators, when a few people in the crowd shouted: “Beat them, beat these soldiers to death!” “Do not let them enter the city!” Bricks were cast at the soldiers. Early the next morning similar conflicts occurred, again in the same region. Accord- ing to government sources, a total of 116 soldiers were wounded in these conflicts, and 29 were seriously injured.111 The soldiers did not fight back, but they were very angry as a result.112 After two days of stalemate, the government had to order the troops to withdraw on the morning of May 22. The popular resistance went on successfully.

The amazing fact is that this successful resistance was conducted with little coordination. To be sure, there were some efforts to coordinate the resistance. For example, on the night of May 19, several members of the Dialogue Dele- gation formed a Bureau of Coordination of Beijing Universities. The bureau owned a military map, donated by an army officer, and two hotlines. As an in- formant (no. 59) recalled, they received phone calls every three minutes report- ing army movements. They then called each university asking them to send students to particular locations. On May 20, Wang Chaohua also sent small contingents to several places where a large number of soldiers were stopped. The Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union later even produced a map of Bei- jing showing troop positions and major barricades, and the union assigned each

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113. Wang Chaohua (Huigu Yu Fansi 1993, 212).

university an area to take charge of.113 Finally, members of the Flying Tigers— a motorbike team loosely formed by some private businessmen—were also highly conspicuous because of the awful noise their bikes made while traveling through the city. On the way they often passed news of troop movements as well as rumors.

However, these coordination efforts were largely ad hoc, and the role they played in the popular resistance was minimal. The following narratives show how Beijing residents were typically mobilized into a popular resistance:

I was at home that evening. At midnight, I was awakened by extremely loud noises. Outside somebody shouted that the troops were coming and asked neighbors to block the military carriers. A lot of people went out. . . . Someone also shouted “Please bring wet towels to protect yourselves from tear gas.” People then went back to fetch towels. When we went out to the street, we saw some concrete sewer pipes laid along the roadside. We immediately pushed them to the middle. That night, a huge number of people went out. All my family went out as well. Many stu- dents were at the Square, some of them the children of this neighborhood. Even if their own children were not at the Square, people still went out because we all felt that the students would be beaten if the soldiers entered the Square (no. 8).

Along with the Beijing residents, students and teachers also spontaneously ini- tiated various actions. A young teacher (no. 36) told me how a group of them had been involved in the action:

On May 19 we knew that the army would come that night. Many young teachers came to my dormitory. We discussed what we should do when the troops came. Eventually we decided to persuade the soldiers to withdraw. We decided to write a statement, print it on handbills, and record it on a cassette. When we met the troops we could give them the handbills and turn on our cassette players. . . .

In the night, we headed toward Liuliqiao. . . . When we arrived at Liuliqiao, we found that the troops had arrived and that some people were already there trying to stop the troops. We went over and turned on our cassette players. Somehow, we were separated and I was now alone. Then I met two students from our university. We three became a new team. The two students told me that there were more troops in Babaoshan, so we went there.

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114. See Wu et al. (1989, 474). The government may well overestimate the outside students’ return rate. During late May, every outside student could get a free return ticket from the Beijing railway station just by showing his/her university ID. This could be what the government statistics were based on. However, many Beijing students whose home town was not Beijing took advantage of this policy, borrowing a uni- versity ID from an outside student from their home town to get a free ticket to visit home. One of my in- formants (no. 10) told me that he got a free ticket back to Guangzhou this way.

Nine of my informants talked about their personal experiences on the night of May 19, but none of them indicated that they were mobilized by, or coordi- nated through, any organizations.

outside students and movement dynamics

After the hunger strike began, students from all over the country began arriv- ing in Beijing in large numbers. Between May 16 and 26, around 172,000 out- side students arrived at Beijing by train, while only 86,000 left.114 Considering that outside students also went to Beijing by bus, air, bicycle, or even on foot, the numbers should be even larger. Therefore, after May 20, when more and more Beijing students felt tired and left, the Square gradually became domi- nated by outside students.

Most outside students got free rides to Beijing by persuading or even forc- ing the officials at a station to let them on a train. If this did not work, some would even lie down on the tracks to stop the train. As an informant (no. 27) recalled, the Tianjin railway station even added several special lines on May 17 so that anyone could ride for free to Beijing. Over 10,000 Tianjin students went to Beijing that day.

A large number of outside students stayed in the Square while in Beijing. However, an even larger number of outside students spent their nights in university dormitories with new acquaintances or old high school classmates. Most of my student informants remembered that there were some outside stu- dents living in their own or nearby dormitories. One informant (no. 33) told me that by late May half of the students staying in the dormitories of his uni- versity were outside students. Another informant (no. 68) told me that he him- self had arranged accommodations for more than a hundred outside students.

The arrival of a large number of outside students made voluntary withdrawal from Tiananmen Square very difficult. For the most part, outside students came to Beijing for one of two reasons: they were local activists who wished to support the movement in Beijing, or they simply wanted to take a free trip to the capital. Either way, they were reluctant to return home after only a couple

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115. Zhang Boli (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 207). 116. See Wu et al. (1989, 364) for the mood of the students in the Square that night. 117. Zhang Boli (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 207–208).

of days. Thus those who still remained in the Square were either energetic new- comers or committed radicals.

student leadership during the early period of martial law

After martial law was declared, Tiananmen Square was no longer the center of attention, and the hunger strike became meaningless. By noon on May 20, even the most stubborn hunger strikers had started to eat, and most of them had also returned to school. The hunger strike leaders were still lingering at the Square, but they did nothing to organize students or Beijing residents to block the troops.115 Overwhelmed by the number of troops, the hunger strike leaders were in a gray mood. On May 21 rumors led them to believe that the troops would fight their way to the Square that night. Therefore, all the major leaders except for Li Lu, including Chai Ling, Feng Congde, and Zhang Boli, went into hiding.

The night of May 21 was nerve-wracking for the students remaining in the Square.116 However, the troops, instead of arriving, started to withdraw on May 22. The event immediately changed the students’ mood as well as their es- timate of the future of the movement. Zhang Boli described the change:

On May 20 a very important person told me that a massacre would start that night. . . . He persuaded us to leave the Square immediately to avoid bloodshed. . . . He told me that the army had produced 10,000 Beijing road maps. From the num- ber, I estimated around 10,000 squads or platoons of troops were coming! We were all terrified. However, we did not ask students or local residents to block the troops. . . . On the second day, we all received some emergency money and ran away. I went to hide at Xu Gang’s home. . . . To my surprise, the troops did not come and everything was as usual. When some people called and informed me about this, I said that it was really good news. If they did not repress us this time, everything would be fine. We then discussed what we should do immediately. Finally, we all arrived at the same conclusion. If the troops dared not to use force this time, it would be more difficult for them to repress us by force later on. Guided by this be- lief, we went back to the Square.117

Not just the student leaders but also most students and Beijing residents became optimistic; that the army would not shoot civilians became a common belief.

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118. Ibid., 208. 119. Ibid. 120. The number was from Li Lu (1990, 175). Please note that during the movement, student leaders

frequently manipulated meetings by various means. Therefore, the result could swing considerably de- pending on who had organized a meeting.

121. Chai Ling (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 224).

However, on the late afternoon of May 22, when the hunger strike leaders went back to the Square, they found that it no longer belonged to them. In the days after the Headquarters had stopped functioning the influence of the Bei- jing Students’ Autonomous Union had increased, and many new organizations had sprung up. Most seriously, while the hunger strike leaders were in hiding, Wang Chaohua went around tent by tent to persuade students to leave. When students in each tent agreed, she then asked a representative to sign a paper. By the time that the hunger strike leaders went back to the Square, students from over two hundred universities had consented to leave.118 To reduce the influ- ence of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union in the Square thus became the most urgent issue for the hunger strike leaders.

Since Wang Chaohua now had a sheet that contained signatures from rep- resentatives of over two hundred universities, the first thing that the hunger strike leaders did was to obtain the sheet. Zhang Boli tricked Wang into letting him see the sheet and then refused to return it.119 Meanwhile, the hunger strike group organized a meeting on the night of May 22. They managed to get “rep- resentatives” from eighty-nine universities.120 During the meeting, they bashed the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union and other student organizations. Chai Ling declared:

Since its founding, your Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union has never done a single good thing. In particular, you occupy the leadership position without show- ing leadership quality. You were against the hunger strike from the very beginning. However, after the hunger strike started in spite of your objections, you moved your headquarters to the Square and expressed your support. I have absolutely no un- derstanding of what you have done.121

Zhang Boli added:

We are under martial law. The CCP Central Committee has established Martial Law Headquarters to command several hundred thousand soldiers to go against us. Yet, the situation in the Square is very disappointing. There are over ten student organizations in the Square, all claiming the highest command and all being irre- sponsible. The Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union has only one leader, Wang

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122. Zhang Boli (1994d, 57). 123. Ibid. 124. Wang Chaohua was included in the leadership because the hunger strike leaders wanted her co-

operation. See Zhang Boli (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 209). 125. Ibid.

Chaohua, in the Square; leaders of the Federation of Students from Outside Beijing are indulging in power struggles. They changed their general commander four times in a day and even wanted to take over the broadcasting center. If this goes on, even if the martial law troops do not attack us, we will defeat ourselves. . . . Therefore, I propose to establish a provisional headquarters to lead the Square for forty-eight hours. Meanwhile, the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union will pull back to Bei- jing University to rectify itself. After forty-eight hours, the provisional headquar- ters will end its mission and hand power back to the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union.122

According to Zhang,123 most students in the meeting raised their hands to show support. Zhang then continued:

The leaders of the Hunger Strike Headquarters have already established their pres- tige, and are trusted by students. Therefore, leaders of the Headquarters should hold major positions in the Provisional Headquarters. The members of the stand- ing committee include Chai Ling, Wang Dan, Wang Chaohua, Li Lu, Feng Con- gde, Guo Haifeng, and me. The Provisional Headquarters still has one commander, Chai Ling; three vice commanders, Zhang Boli, Li Lu, and Feng Congde; one sec- retary general, Guo Haifeng.124

The participants applauded to show their approval. Wang Chaohua was very upset after the meeting, accusing the hunger strike leaders of staging a coup. Zhang Boli replied: “The motion was passed. It is useless for you to try to get more support. This is democracy.” 125 The hunger strike students reclaimed the Square.

the joint federation

After the imposition of martial law, leading intellectuals further increased their presence in the movement. On the night of May 22 a meeting was held at the Square to discuss the possibility of establishing an organization that would combine all of the political forces that had emerged in the movement. Wang Juntao, Chen Ziming, Bao Zunxin, Yan Jiaqi, Liu Xiaobo, Wang Dan, Liang Er, and Zhang Lun were among the participants. Also in the meeting were some

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126. See Black and Munro (1993, 206) and Zhang and Lao (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 232). 127. See Li Lu (1990, 176 –77) for hunger strike leaders’ attitudes toward the intellectuals and the Joint

Federation during this period. 128. This is the title of a statement prepared for the first Joint Federation meeting. It was drafted by

Gan Yang. 129. Zheng (1993, 96).

leaders of the newly established non-student organizations and a few individu- als from Hong Kong.126 Since the meeting was inconclusive, another meeting was called for the next day at an office in the Institute of Marxism-Leninism- Mao Zedong Thought. Hunger strike leader Chai Ling also attended the meet- ing. The participants there decided to establish an organization to coordinate and lead the movement. They named it the Joint Federation of All Circles in the Capital (hereafter the Joint Federation) to indicate its broad base, although in fact the organization was dominated by intellectuals and students.

The Joint Federation raised high expectations at the time of its establish- ment. Yet because the radical students did not trust the intellectuals and the in- tellectuals differed among themselves, the organization failed to control the movement.127 A student leader (no. 69) remembered:

In those days, I spent almost every day in the meetings of the Joint Federation. Each meeting lasted half a day or even a whole day. We discussed the current situation and exchanged information. Although many suggestions were made, the students at the Square never adopted them. So the meetings eventually turned out to consist of a group of people sitting in a big room making empty talk.

The intellectuals nevertheless did help the hunger strike leaders to establish their nominal authority inside the Square. After the withdrawal of the mar- tial law troops, the intellectuals were for a short period no less optimistic than the students. They believed that the movement was “The Final Showdown between Darkness and Brightness.” 128 They also believed that “As long as the flag of Tiananmen Square does not fall, a chain reaction will soon start all over the country.” 129 They therefore supported the Tiananmen Square oc- cupation and decided to establish a “Defending Tiananmen Square General Headquarters” (hereafter the General Headquarters) to manage the Square. They appointed Chai Ling as its general commander, Zhang Boli, Feng Con- gde, and Li Lu as its vice-commanders, and Guo Haifeng as its secretary gen- eral. The next day, May 24, the General Headquarters held an oath-taking rally at the Square. Wang Dan and Chai Ling presided over the meeting. In that meeting, Wang Dan announced the formation of the General Headquarters

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130. On one occasion Li Lu denied that the leaders of the General Headquarters were appointed by the Joint Federation (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 238), while he elsewhere acknowledged the appointment (ibid., 219– 20). Here, I adopt Lao Mu (ibid., 272–74) and Zhang Boli’s (1994a, 59) version of the story. This is not just because of Li’s inconsistency. Lao Mu attended the meeting, and Zhang Boli had the appointment sheet after the meeting, whereas Li Lu did not attend the meeting.

131. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 219–20). 132. Zhang Boli (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 210 –11).

and the appointment of the Joint Federation. The leaders of the Provisional Headquarters established the day before by the hunger strikers monopolized its leadership positions.130

According to the earlier agreement, the hunger strikers were to return the leadership of Tiananmen Square back over to the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union after forty-eight hours. This appointment therefore helped the hunger strike leaders defeat the leaders of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union and achieve domination in the Square. Li Lu described Chai Ling as being thrilled when she came back from the meeting of the Joint Federation: “On May 23 Chai Ling came to me full of excitement. She told me that we no longer needed to worry about the forty-eight hour deadline . . . [because] we had now been appointed by an even larger organization called the Joint Federation of All Circles in the Capital.” 131 Zhang Boli also used the appointment to fool Wang Chaohua. On the evening of May 24, with a rectified leadership and a new plan of the movement, Wang Chaohua went to Zhang Boli to demand that leader- ship in the Square be returned to the Autonomous Union. Zhang recalled:

When Chaohua came to me, I avoided confronting her. I told her: “Go and discuss the issue with the Joint Federation.” Chaohua said: “You have gone back on your words. We have rectified ourselves. We now have a nine-student leadership.” . . . I replied: “First, you and I did have an agreement to return power to you after forty- eight hours. However, Chai Ling is the general commander and I am not. So, I can only make suggestions not decisions. Secondly, the Joint Federation is headed by Wang Dan. Wang Dan is currently our most renowned and powerful man. He now leads an organization that includes both intellectuals and students. I think their de- cisions carry greater authority. Moreover, I heard that the Joint Federation could make suggestions to as well as command the General Headquarters. I think that they have the mandate to lead us. . . . We do want to return the power back to you. It was the Joint Federation that started another organization.” 132

Thus, by supporting the student leaders of the hunger strike group, the intel- lectuals helped the continuation of the Tiananmen Square occupation. After- wards, although the General Headquarters fell far short in commanding the Square, it did become its single most important symbol.

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133. For the changing mood of Beijing residents, also see Wu et al. (1989, 533– 34). 134. For other details about the meeting, see Liu Xiaobo (1992, 179– 81). 135. Zhao, Ge, and Si (1990, 135). 136. Both Wang Chaohua (1993, 31) and another student leader (no. 69) report having this impression.

to withdraw or not to withdraw

By late May it had become more and more clear that the Tiananmen Square oc- cupation had created many problems and that if continued would lead to a head-on confrontation between the people and the government. At this stage, most intellectuals and Beijing students believed that the students should leave the Square.133 However, neither the Joint Federation nor the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union could control the students there. The fate of the move- ment was now in the hands of those who refused to leave.

On May 27 the Joint Federation held a meeting. Whereas in previous Joint Federation meetings the participants virtually could not agree on anything, this time all of them, including Chai Ling and Feng Congde, voted that the stu- dents should leave the Square.134 They decided to hold a large-scale demonstra- tion to celebrate their victory and then withdraw from the Square on May 30. It seemed that the deadlock between students and the government could be loosened. Many were greatly relieved. However, Chai Ling and Feng Congde changed their minds. In the press conference that evening, Chai Ling claimed that the meeting had been a plot and that they had voted for the motion only because of pressure from the rest of the people in the meeting. She also an- nounced that her General Headquarters had decided to withdraw from the Joint Federation. People were disappointed. Three Hong Kong journalists ex- pressed their distress in a report: “Although the proposal [to withdraw from the Square] was passed by a majority vote, it has no force. What surprises us is that the suggestions of various movement organizations, including the decision of the highest-level organization—the Joint Federation—must have the final approval of the Defending Tiananmen Square General Headquarters. The ma- jority must follow a minority, which is absurd.” 135

How could this happen? In general, Chai Ling was infamous for changing her mind, first saying one thing in a meeting and then saying something else in front of the public.136 This time, however, it seemed that Li Lu had influ- enced Chai Ling. According to Li Lu himself, when Chai informed him about the decision, he argued that the Joint Federation was only an organization for coordination, and that the General Headquarters was obliged only to the “Tiananmen Square Parliament” (the term will be explained later). In his view the Joint Federation’s decision was in fact undemocratic because two days ear-

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137. Li’s argument is summarized from his own narratives in Li Lu (1990, 179–180) and Huigu yu Fansi (1993, 238 – 40).

138. Chai Ling (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 227). 139. Please note that no student leaders other than Li Lu used this term to describe those meetings. 140. For example, according to Li Lu himself, the May 22 meeting involved students from only 89 uni-

versities, but the May 24 meeting had over 400 representatives from 300 universities (Li Lu 1990, 175, 177).

lier the Tiananmen Square Parliament had voted for continued occupation.137

Yet according to Chai Ling, Li Lu persuaded her by warning her that the gov- ernment had been colluding with the Joint Federation people, trying every pos- sible means to trick the students out of the Square.138

Li Lu’s objection, of course, was just an excuse. Only four days earlier, when Chai Ling had excitedly told Li Lu that they were no longer obliged to return power to the Beijing Autonomous Union because the Joint Federation had ap- pointed them as leaders of the General Headquarters, Li did not seem worried that the appointment was against democratic procedure or a government plot. Nevertheless, Li Lu’s personal role in the fate of the movement should not be overstated. Even if Li had not raised his objections and Chai Ling had not changed her mind, the chances of leading students out of the Square were slim. To understand why, one must examine the micro-level decision-making in the Square. I will focus on the so-called “Meetings of the Tiananmen Square Par- liament” that Li Lu played off against the Joint Federation.

Under martial law, numerous organizations held frequent meetings in the Square. Li Lu referred to the meetings called by the General Headquarters as “Meetings of the Tiananmen Square Parliament,” 139 a phraseology that had given many scholars writing about the movement the false impression that some such stable institution existed inside the Square, its relation to the Gen- eral Headquarters being similar to the relationship between the congress and the executive branch in a democratic nation. This is misleading, not least be- cause few of the meeting participants were elected, but moreover because of the high fluidity of the participants in the General Headquarters’ public meetings.

During late May around four hundred universities had camps in the Square (excluding the camps established by students from special technical schools). Yet at each of these meetings only some universities had their students present, and the universities that had students in the meeting changed every time.140

More broadly, during the martial law period, especially given the arrival of huge numbers of students from outside Beijing, Tiananmen Square had a very high rate of turnover. A student who attended one day’s meeting might the next day leave Tiananmen Square for good. The representatives from each university were also constantly changing. The constant change of meeting participants meant

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141. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 303). 142. Li Peier (1989, 211). 143. For example, one informant (no. 18) described to me how several of his schoolmates went out to

raise money and used it to buy imported cigarettes for themselves.

that soon most of those who thought that the students should leave the Square had actually already left, while those who stayed at the Square and attended the so-called “Meetings of the Tiananmen Square Parliament” were more likely to be hardcore radicals and energetic newcomers from outside Beijing. Therefore, any effort at moderation became very difficult. Li Lu recalled that the debate over whether or not to end the Tiananmen Square occupation was the primary topic of every “Tiananmen Square Parliament Meeting,” consuming most of their time. Yet the overwhelming majority of participants, most of whom were outside students, continually refused to leave.141 Therefore, Li Lu and Chai Ling’s rejection of the Joint Federation’s decision might actually have been the only choice they had. Otherwise, the decision would not have been carried out in any case, and they themselves could have been ousted from the leadership. Wuer Kaixi made this point clearly when he was interviewed by Li Peier, a Hong Kong journalist, on June 2:

We have thought about leaving the Square many times, but each time we changed our mind. For example, on May 27 we wanted to announce that we would leave the Square on May 30, but our decision was repudiated. Here, the most important rea- son was that students, especially the outside students, were not willing to leave. Anyone in charge had to support the Tiananmen Square occupation. Were you to ask students to leave, they would certainly try to get rid of you.142

In fact, Wuer Kaixi had been expelled from the leadership because he asked students to leave the Square on the early morning of May 22. Wang Chaohua was also squeezed out of the Square because she had persistently tried to bring the students out. On June 1, Lian Shengde, the head of the Federation of Stu- dents from Outside Beijing, also urged the students to leave the Square and was therefore dismissed from the leadership as well. To play the radical was the only way to keep one’s influence.

hong kong money

After martial law was declared, most state-owned factories and public institu- tions in China stopped their financial endorsement of the students. During the course of the movement, more and more student organizations and even in- dividual students had engaged in fundraising activities.143 Since none of the

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144. For student leaders’ own accounts of the chaotic financial system and possible corruption among student leaders, see Huigu yu Fansi (1993, 241– 62).

145. Many donations were also sent to the students through China’s Red Cross, the CCTV, or even through renowned intellectuals such as Yan Jiaqi and Liu Xiaobo. To my knowledge, only a small amount of them eventually went to students.

146. For example, on May 27, while the General Headquarters had only 5,000 yuan left, the Beijing Stu- dents’ Autonomous Union and the Beijing University Students’ Autonomous Union still had a consider- able amount of money. In the Joint Federation meeting that day, Feng Congde pledged that the Beijing Stu- dents’ Autonomous Union would transfer 100,000 yuan to the General Headquarters. Liang Er agreed to do so in the meeting but never delivered the money. Eventually Feng Congde had to borrow 30,000 yuan from the Beijing University Students’ Autonomous Union to tackle the financial crisis. For more details, see Huigu yu Fansi (1993, 241– 62).

student organizations had a good accounting system, scandals about student embezzlement and corruption were widespread.144 By late May Beijing resi- dents became reluctant to contribute money. During late May, individuals who brought donations in person from other cities or even from other countries were arriving at Beijing every day. Nevertheless, facing a chaotic student lead- ership and a widespread concern with student corruption, many people had to hold such money before finding a trustworthy person to whom to deliver it. Eventually, most of this money did not reach students in the Square.

Due to the intensive international media coverage after Gorbachev’s state visit, overseas Chinese had been increasingly involved in the movement. They held demonstrations as well as fundraising activities. However, most of their money did not reach students in the Square either. This was, among other rea- sons, because a large amount of money from such sources was sent to China as checks or money orders made out to “the Students’ Autonomous Union,” “Hunger Strike Headquarters,” “Tiananmen Square Headquarters,” or even just “Tiananmen Square”; such donations, even if delivered, could hardly be redeemed.145

Because of the amount of money involved and its numerous sources, quite a bit of money still reached the students. The main problem was that most over- seas Chinese did not know of the newly established General Headquarters. Therefore, when people did deliver money to students, they most likely gave it to the student leaders of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union and the autonomous unions of the major universities. Because of the intense conflicts among movement activists, the General Headquarters had great difficulty get- ting money from them.146

By the end of May, there were still between 10,000 and 20,000 people stay- ing overnight at the Square, while the daytime population usually multiplied. Feng Congde, who was in charge of the General Headquarters’ finances during

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147. Ibid., 256, 262. 148. Wu et al. (1989, 466 – 67). 149. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 323).

late May, remembered that while after May 24 he still needed around 40,000 yuan a day just to buy food, his daily income from donations was only between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan.147 By May 27 the General Headquarters had only 5,000 yuan left; meanwhile, it already owed much larger amounts to various stores.148

It seemed that students might have to leave the Square just because of financial problems. At this point the infusion of Hong Kong money became critical.

People in Hong Kong had supported the movement enthusiastically ever since it started. The Hong Kong University Student Association sent a delega- tion to Beijing as observers as early as April 20.149 Hong Kong residents held many fundraising activities. The largest one was on May 27, when over three hundred Hong Kong singers, actors, and actresses performed at a stadium for twelve hours to raise money. About thirteen million Hong Kong yuan was col- lected just at this single event.

What was crucial about the Hong Kong money in comparison with that from other sources was not its quantity, however, but its quality. During the hunger strike, some Hong Kong students stayed at the Square with Beijing stu- dents, and Hong Kong professors and students also attended various meetings of the Joint Federation and the General Headquarters. They therefore had a deep knowledge of what was going on in Beijing and where the money should go and be used.

The leaders of the General Headquarters first solicited Hong Kong money in a Joint Federation meeting on May 23. In the meeting, Chai Ling asked Qiu Yanliang, a professor in Hong Kong, to help her improve students’ living con- ditions at the Square. Only two days later, the first stock of modern tents and sleeping bags from Hong Kong arrived in Beijing. By May 30, hundreds of tents were set up on the Square and more were still coming. A movement activist who left the Square on May 24 due to the deteriorating sanitary conditions de- scribed his impression in a diary when he returned to the Square on June 3:

I saw that the environment in the Square has been drastically improved; it is much cleaner now. I also saw that many tents . . . have been set up to the north of the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Each of these tents is about a man’s height and ten meters in length, with a mountain-shaped roof. On two sides, two triangle windows are wide open. This kind of tent has an excellent ventilation for helping students to endure Beijing’s hot summer. The tents are arranged row after row into a square array. Anyone could comfortably live in one for ten days or half a month.

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150. China News Digest (1994, no. 39 [4], 6). 151. Hong Kong students gave 8,000 yuan to build the Statue of the Goddess of Democracy. The De-

mocracy University also received much help from Hong Kong students, starting from its very first day of preparation.

152. Li Lu (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 325). 153. After ten days of occupation, Tiananmen Square had become an unlivable place. The terrible

smell, a mixture of ammonia, night soil, rotten food, and body odor, was still vivid in the minds of those of my informants who were forced to leave the Square by the bad smells in late May.

No wonder that the government is so desperate. I admire those who reorganized a chaotic Tiananmen Square into such great order! 150

Not just the tents but all the other major events happening in this period, such as the creation of the Statue of the Goddess of Democracy, the establish- ment of the Democracy University, and even the four intellectuals’ hunger strike, were more or less made possible by the monetary contributions from Hong Kong.151

Hong Kong students also established a Hong Kong Material Supply Center at the Square to provide food, blankets, sleeping bags, walkie-talkies, and other essentials. The importance of financial and material support from Hong Kong to the continuation of the Tiananmen Square occupation can be seen from the response to a small interview conducted by Hong Kong students themselves. When thirty students were asked “Will you still stay at the Square without the supplies from the Hong Kong Material Center?” seven said “no,” four replied “it depends,” one refused to answer, and the rest said “yes.” Even taken at the face value, it shows that eleven or 36.7 percent of the students could have left the Square if deprived of supplies provided by the center.152 However, the thought of having no food to eat or place to sleep is totally different from ac- tually living in that condition. The question, when asked by rich Hong Kong students, could also have been taken as an insult by the proud local students. Some respondents might have been motivated to downplay the importance of the financial and material support from Hong Kong. Indeed, we know that many Beijing students left the Square in this period primarily because of the de- teriorating conditions.153 If there had been no Hong Kong money, the Tianan- men Square occupation could have ended in a financial crisis.

final episodes

After May 22, although radical students still occupied Tiananmen Square, more and more Beijing students went back to school or home. At the occupa-

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154. Wu et al. (1989, 416, 465). 155. Ibid., 535. 156. See Liu Xiaobo (1992, 189–200) for his own account of the purpose of the hunger strike, and Han

and Hua (1990, 349–54) for an English translation of the “Hunger Strike Declaration.”

tion’s peak over a thousand students from the University of Political Science and Law usually stayed at the Square over night. By late May, the number had dropped to about ten (no. 60). Even from Beijing University there were only a few dozen students still staying overnight at the Square by the end of May (no. 68). The overall number of students who stayed at the Square overnight dropped from between 100,000 and 200,000 during mid-May to around 10,000 by the end of May,154 and over 90 percent of the students continuing at the Square were from outside Beijing.155 This, however, does not mean that Beijing students and residents no longer cared about the movement. As is suggested by the popular slogan “If Li Peng does not step down, we will visit the Square every day,” a huge number of people in Beijing still visited the Square daily, swelling the daytime population.

While the government was preparing for a military operation, radical stu- dents were preparing to hold Tiananmen Square as long as possible. In this pe- riod, several episodes drew people’s attention and helped extend the Tianan- men Square occupation. On May 27, students of the Central Academy of Fine Arts were asked to make a sculpture modeled after the Statue of Liberty. The students had originally planned to withdraw from the Square on May 30, and the sculpture was at first intended to be used in a final march to celebrate vic- tory. Once the students refused to leave, it too stayed to become another rally- ing point for the movement. On May 30, tens of thousands of people went to the Square to see the sculpture. Tiananmen Square was once again congested.

In the final days, two other events also attracted public attention. The first was a four-man hunger strike organized by Liu Xiaobo and the second the establishment of the Democracy University in the Square. On May 29, Liu Xiaobo invited Zhou Duo and Hou Dejian to stage a seventy-two-hour hunger strike. In the process, Liu’s friend Gao Xin also joined. The original purpose of this hunger strike was complicated.156 Essentially, it reflected the intellectuals’ ambivalence toward the movement. They supported the movement but were greatly worried about its direction of development. Through the hunger strike, Liu intended to win the hearts of students and gain control over the movement. The hunger strike was started at the Monument to the People’s Heroes on the afternoon of June 2. Hundreds of thousands of people went to the scene. Many went to see Hou Dejian, a famous singer and composer best known for his song “Descendants of the Dragon.” The hunger strike was terminated by the

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157. Zhang Boli (1994e). 158. Many of the references in this section are to contributions to a two-volume work entitled Jieyan

Yiri (Under martial law). The contributions are personal experience narratives written by over two hundred soldiers who participated in the military crackdown. The government’s intention in publishing this book was, of course, to legitimize the crackdown. However, since the government had assured the soldiers that they had done the right thing, the soldiers tended to be frank in describing their conflicts with civilians. The book’s impact in China was not entirely what the government had expected, and the government put a stop to the book’s distribution shortly after it came out. I have compared the soldiers’ accounts with oth- ers from unofficial sources, and I have found that the descriptions are strikingly similar, despite their dif- ferent viewpoints. Since the book brings together accounts from soldiers who were in different military units, it is one of the richest sources of information on the military repression.

159. Li Shaojun (1989), the commander of the regiment, has given a detailed description of the operation.

military crackdown. Although they failed to achieve their original goal, their heroism did win the respect of students, making it possible, as we shall see later, for them to take on the role of mediators between the martial law troops and the students, thus helping to bring students out of the Square peacefully.

The last event that showed the students’ determination in continuing the Tiananmen Square occupation was the establishment of the Democracy Uni- versity. Although during the movement Zhang Boli and most other student leaders were often condemned for being “power maniacs,” “undemocratic,” and “corrupt,” these same student leaders were also very upset at other leaders and activists for the same reasons.157 Therefore, Zhang Boli decided to estab- lish a Democracy University in the Square to deepen people’s understanding of democracy. Zhang was supported in this by Zheng Yi and other leaders in the General Headquarters. Later on some students from Hong Kong also provided him with support and money.

The university was originally scheduled to open on May 28. However, its opening was delayed until June 3. Zhang Boli named himself the president of the university and Yan Jiaqi as honorary president. Again, a large crowd was at- tracted. To maintain order, the organizers had to use a rope to divide the “stu- dents” of the university from the crowd. According to Zhang, around 10,000 people were inside the rope during the opening ceremony. The ceremony ended at 0:50 a.m. on the early morning of June 4. By that time, the martial law troops had already arrived at the Square.

the military crackdown 158

While students were still lingering at the Square, the second military operation started (chapter 7). In the beginning, soldiers infiltrated into the city disguised as civilians. As early as May 26, one regiment of the army had entered Beijing this way.159 By early June, troops were infiltrating Beijing on an ever-larger scale,

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160. This student’s action was not unique. During this whole period, countless numbers of students, most of them movement activists, tried to stop civilian brutalities. Many of them saved the lives of soldiers in peril. For example, Zhou Yongjun (1993, 59) gave an account of how he saved the life of an officer who turned out to be a regiment-level commander. Because of the testimony of that officer, the prosecution of him after the military crackdown was eventually dropped. For soldiers’ accounts of how students saved them, see Ren Bin (1989, 36), Ni (1989, 65), and Dan (1989, 120 – 46).

161. See Huan Xiaoping (1989), Kong (1989), Ni (1989), and Wang Hongwei (1989).

and local residents and students became alert to the military moves. As a result, more and more plainclothes soldiers were stopped along the road by residents and students. Skirmishes were frequent.

The turning point came on the evening of June 2, when people on the west- ern side of Beijing, especially those in between the Muxidi and Liubukou in- tersections, became very emotional. Possibly this was because three civilians had been killed by a speeding military jeep at Muxidi. According to the govern- ment, while the jeep belonged to the Beijing police, it had been borrowed by CCTV for civilian use for the last ten months. Therefore, this was just a traffic accident. However, people tended to believe that the three people were killed by martial law troops on purpose. From then on, local youths, especially those who lived in the Muxidi vicinity, not only verbally insulted the soldiers but also started to beat them up. A Qinghua student (no. 38) described what she saw:

On the evening of June 2, the government broadcast was criticizing the Statue of the Goddess of Democracy. We were curious and went to see it. . . . When we were close to Tiananmen Square, we saw some military trucks being stopped. Many workers were trying to break tires and smash the trucks. They also cast bricks at sol- diers and pulled them out to beat them. It was around midnight at the Xidan in- tersection. At that time, the soldiers did not fight back. . . . I felt that this was not right, so I asked a male classmate to stop them. However, several people came over and asked who he was. They suspected him of being a secret policeman. To avoid further conflicts, I had to rush forward and tell them that we were students. Then they let us go. My classmate still wanted to argue with them. I saw the situation was quite tense, so I pulled him away.160

Many soldiers have told of how they were beaten up by local residents be- tween the nights of June 2 and June 3.161 Yet, because most people, including journalists, were against martial law, civilian brutalities, and especially those that happened before the military repression, have generally been ignored.

On June 3 the army infiltration was on a greater scale and some units were advancing in uniform. Soldiers and plainclothes soldiers could be seen almost everywhere. They were asked to take up certain positions but often did not

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162. For soldiers’ accounts, see Zhao Lumin (1989) and Yan Dongyin (1989). 163. Li Lu still insisted on the theory several years later (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 306). 164. Both pro- and antigovernment sources reported the incident. See He Zhizhou (1989) and Li

Shengtang (1989). 165. Simmie and Nixon (1989, 173) also give an eyewitness account of the incident. 166. The order is translated from the account of General Wang Fuyi (1989, 84), the political commis-

sioner of the 38th Army.

know how to reach their destinations. Many of them behaved erratically on the street and were easy to identify. In some places the confused soldiers were caught, rounded up, and taken to certain locations where they were encircled and lectured at, spat upon, and kicked by local residents. From time to time, people from the outside threw in one more soldier and shouted: “Here, we caught another one!” 162

Residents and students also started to find weapons. Rumors said that the troops were deliberately sending weapons to the street to let civilians seize them, in order to create excuses for a repression.163 From what I have recon- structed, the martial law troops did send many weapons into Beijing in civil- ian vehicles. However, they did so mainly because their soldiers had infiltrated Beijing in plainclothes and unarmed. Therefore, they had to ship the weapons separately. After June 2, residents and students were on the alert for suspicious civilian vehicles. As a result, they caught several such vehicles with military equipment. For instance, on the morning of June 3 students and Beijing resi- dents stopped three tourist buses carrying military equipment at the Liubukou intersection.164 In a rage, some people in the crowd took out guns, machine guns, grenades, bullets, helmets, and gas masks, and displayed them on the street to show that the government was going to use live ammunition against the people. The Martial Law Headquarters had to send about five hundred riot policemen and soldiers to recover the weapons. Conflict immediately broke out. In the process, the riot police used clubs and tear gas, and many people were wounded.165 In the afternoon, soldiers and riot police attacked civilians in other places for similar reasons. Both sides became increasingly hostile.

The final assault started on the evening of June 3. Around 9:00 p.m., soldiers advanced on Tiananmen Square from all directions. They were ordered “to clear all the obstacles by force and reach the destination on time.” 166 With re- gard to the use of live ammunition, the record is complicated. General Zhang Kun, a vice political commissioner of a group army entering Beijing from the south, stated that his army had received a clear order not to use live ammuni- tion. Because of communication problems, the army never received any further

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167. See Zhang Kun (1989, 294). General Zhang was beaten almost to death by local residents because he did not allow his bodyguards to fight back.

168. See Zhao Xiaoqiang (1989, 208). 169. The above variations were constructed from soldiers’ accounts, in particular Li Huxiang (1989,

136), Liu Xinli (1989, 224), Peng (1989, 216), Zhang Xibo (1989, 169), Zhao Xiaoqiang (1989, 208), and Zhu Shuangxi (1989, 209). Their narratives are generally consistent with the observations of my informants. One of my informants (no. 70), who had stayed on the west side of Beijing on the night of June 3, told me that he saw a battalion of soldiers holding an intersection. They stood back-to-back three in a group and were very nervous. When my informant approached them, they immediately raised their rifles and ordered him to stop. My informant then held up his university ID and said: “I am a teacher at People’s University. I have come to look for my students!” When he got closer, however, he started to accuse them of killing. The commander of the battalion got very upset. He rushed to my informant and yelled at him: “Who killed people? We do not even have bullets!” Meanwhile, the commander grabbed the rifles from the nearby sol- diers and disassembled them one by one, showing that they were unloaded. That same night, the same in- formant also followed local residents chasing a military truck. People were stoning the soldiers and trying to get closer to the truck. The soldiers on the truck shot at the ground to create distance between the truck and the chasing crowd. From time to time, however, there were people wounded by the rebounding bul- lets. Both sides were unspeakably emotional. Once a soldier threw his helmet and rifle on the ground and cried: “I am not going to do this any more!” and jumped off the truck. As soon as he reached the ground, however, people ran over and beat him to death. My informant tried to stop the tragedy, but was only pushed aside.

orders and therefore never distributed bullets to soldiers.167 Yet, according to Zhao Xiaoqiang, a special commissioner sent by the Martial Law Headquar- ters to a group army also from the south, the headquarters gave him a personal order that soldiers could shoot into the air to disperse the crowd when it was absolutely necessary. Thus when the army was not able to move and its com- munication with the Martial Law Headquarters was interrupted, Zhao called a special meeting to convey this order.168 These two accounts show that while the military order itself might not mention anything about the use of live am- munition, the Martial Law Headquarters had determined to take over the Square by any means necessary, live ammunition included.

It seemed that there was no consensus among different armies on how the live ammunition should be controlled. In some army units bullets were controlled at the regiment level, while in others it was at company level. In some regiments or companies, the commander let only one person carry bul- lets, while the rest had only unloaded rifles. In other units, the commander dis- tributed bullets to several trusted officers. There was also evidence that a few army units distributed bullets to many, if not all, officers before or during the repression.169

Although the troops advanced in all directions, most deaths that night oc- curred in the west between the Muxidi and Liubukou intersections. Among the ninety-two recorded deaths in Ding Zilin’s painstakingly constructed “June 4

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204 c h a p t e r s i x

170. See Ding Zilin (1994). Ding lists ninety-six deaths. However, one of them died in Sichuan and another three deaths occurred many months later for reasons not directly related to the military repression itself. Therefore, they are excluded here.

171. On June 6, the Chinese government acknowledged a little over 300 deaths during the repression, including both civilians and soldiers (Yuan 1989). On the other hand, Brook (1992, 161) counts at least 478 deaths by June 4. These were roughly taken as low and high estimates of the number of deaths, although the actual number of deaths could be even higher.

172. Sanshi Bajun Junshi (1994, ch. 7).

Death List,” 170 fifty (54.3%) of them occurred along Changan Avenue and its extension, Fuxing Road. At Muxidi intersection, the death toll listed by Ding reached sixteen, or 17.4 percent. Assuming that Ding’s list includes between 20 and 25 percent of the total actual deaths,171 we can estimate that between sixty- four and eighty people died at the Muxidi intersection alone and between two hundred and two hundred fifty people died in the west side of Beijing during the night of June 3 and early June 4.

It is not completely clear why most of the deaths occurred on the western side of the city. For some reasons, popular resistance in the west had always been more violent than in other places. I mentioned earlier how during the first military assault, between May 19 and 22, the only place where significant vio- lence occurred was in the Fengtai area in the west of Beijing, and how on the evening of June 2 three civilians were killed by a military jeep in an accident on the west side. The scale of popular resistance on the western side of Beijing could also be seen in the casualties of the 38th Army. On the night of June 3 and early June 4, the 38th Army had six deaths, one hundred and fifty-nine critical injuries, over eleven hundred other injuries, and about three thousand beaten up. It also lost forty-seven armed vehicles and sixty-five trucks, most of them burned by street fighters.172 The civilian resistance was so strong that the 38th Army spent over an hour just taking over the Muxidi intersection.

It is not clear whether the 38th Army had received special orders. There was evidence that the 38th Army distributed bullets to the lower-ranking officers and even to rank-and-file soldiers much earlier than did most other armies. This certainly could induce a high death toll. The high death rate may also be attributable to the fact that the soldiers of the 113th Division of the 38th Army, now in the vanguard, had been attacked by civilians as early as May 22 and therefore might have borne more resentment. The high death toll could also be attributed to the fact that some soldiers went out of control when caught be- tween a military order and a vicious civilian attack. Indeed, both sides were ex- tremely emotional. One informant (no. 43) told me with an unforgettable ex- pression: “I had only read in novels that soldiers’ eyes will turn bloodshot in a

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173. See Ding Zilin (1994). Ding’s list contains only between 20 and 25 percent of the total of deaths. However, of the thirty-six Beijing students who died during the crackdown, thirty-two were included in the list, and of the eighty-three victims with known identities on the list, sixty (72.3%) were students, in- tellectuals, or cadres. We know that the intellectuals and students were much less involved in the physical confrontation with soldiers than were local residents. Therefore, the estimate could inflate the percentage of passive deaths during the repression.

174. See Gao Xin (1990), Hou (1989), and Liu Xiaobo (1992). 175. Many other students were also trying to persuade people to lay down their weapons. See Li Lu

(1990, 197) and China News Digest (1994, 4 : 13) for other accounts. 176. The negotiation was documented by both Hou Dejian (1989) and Ji Xinguo (1989). Except in

tone, their accounts were strikingly consistent.

fierce fight, but that night I saw that the eyes of many soldiers and local resi- dents had turned blood-red!” The fact that a few soldiers might have been out of control could also be seen from how civilians were shot during the repres- sion. Of the ninety-two victims listed by Ding, twenty-two (24%) of them were injured while in unquestionably passive positions. Some people were shot while just taking pictures (i.e., nos. 2, 5, and 27) or hiding behind something (i.e., nos. 1, 11, 15, and 75).173

The troops from the west arrived at Tiananmen Square at about 1:30 a.m. on June 4. Other troops also gradually arrived. As soon as they had arrived, the soldiers immediately blocked the major roads to the Square to prevent people from coming in. Meanwhile, the government-controlled loudspeakers in the Square repeatedly announced an “Emergency Announcement.” It claimed that troops had to be called in to suppress an antirevolutionary rebellion in Beijing, and that local civilians should immediately leave the Square and stay at home. Otherwise their personal safety would not be guaranteed. More and more people left the Square. At the end, about 4,000 people still clustered around the Monument to the People’s Heroes. By 2:00 a.m. the troops had completely en- circled the Square. Both outside and inside of the circle, people sang “L’Inter- nationale” repeatedly. Students inside the circle also repeatedly swore to stand or fall in Tiananmen Square.

At this moment, the four intellectuals who were still fasting at the Square played an important role.174 To avoid violence, they went from place to place to ask students and local residents to get rid of the rifles and other weapons that they had collected in order to defend the Square.175 Meanwhile, Hou Dejian and Zhou Duo went to negotiate with the troop commanders to ask them to open a path along which students could leave the Square. At about 3:30 a.m., Hou Dejian and Zhou Duo met with Ji Xinguo, a regiment-level political commissioner.176 They said that they would persuade students to leave the

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206 c h a p t e r s i x

177. This was obviously the safest path. A few students who left the Square in the western direction were immediately caught up in still ongoing fighting between local residents and soldiers. The most tragic event occurred in the Liubukou area, when a speeding tank crashed into a crowd; several students who had just left the Square were killed or wounded as a result. See Ding Zilin (1994) for more details of this event.

178. Li Lu (1990, 199). 179. Liu Xiaobo (1992, 228). 180. Ibid., 230 – 31. 181. Hong Kong student Lin Yaoqiang remembered that the voice vote for staying was louder (Fang

1989). 182. See Feng Congde (Huigu yu Fansi 1993, 318) for his justification of the decision.

Square and asked the army to create a path. Ji Xinguo reported Hou’s request to the Martial Law Headquarters. The headquarters immediately agreed and informed Hou Dejian that south was the direction.177 When Hou and Zhou went back, the Martial Law Headquarters repeatedly announced: “Students, we appreciate that you will leave the Square voluntarily. Students, please leave in the southeastern direction.”

The action of the four intellectuals also met with resistance. “Shame on you!” “Get out of here!” and other insults frequently rang in their ears as they were persuading students to leave.178 At one point, as Liu Xiaobo recalled, a worker even tried to hit him with an iron bar while accusing him of being a trai- tor.179 Yet as more and more soldiers arrived, leaving became the only option. Therefore, the intellectuals’ persuasion was also effective to a certain degree.180

The soldiers began to get restless. At about 4:15 a.m. Hou Dejian went back to Ji Xinguo to request a little more time. Ji guaranteed that they could still have a peaceful retreat but told Hou that there was not much time left, and he suggested that Hou leave alone if he was unable to persuade the students to ac- company him. When Hou went back, the remaining students finally decided to take a voice vote on the issue. Feng Congde asked the students for a voice vote for or against the withdrawal. According to several of my informants, they could not really tell the difference,181 but Feng announced that the voice vote for the withdrawal was louder.182 Therefore, the students started to leave, drag- ging along with them those who refused to go.

At 4:35 a.m., only several minutes after the students started to retreat, all the lights at the Square were turned on. The army started its final operation. Sol- diers marched forward to squeeze students to the south. Meanwhile, a squad charged up to the Monument to the People’s Heroes and shot down the loud- speakers belonging to the students.

At this point, the students astonishingly still maintained a good order. They marched about five to ten people in a row, under the banners of their own uni- versities. They also arranged for local residents and females to stay in the

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183. Gao Xin (1990).

middle, for better protection. They cried along the way and sang “L’Interna- tionale.” After reaching the Qianmen area, the students dispersed in several di- rections. Yet, at the very rear there were still about a hundred or so people who refused to go further. Gao Xin, one of the four hunger strikers, happened to be there.183 According to Gao, when they arrived at Qianmen, they met thousands of local residents and students and stopped. Together, they shouted slogans against the soldiers. However, when they shouted “Fascists! Fascists!” the sol- diers rushed forward and started to shoot. They all ran to hide. Soldiers actu- ally shot at the sky, but one student was still wounded, according to one of my informants. It was 6:00 a.m. on the morning of June 4. Gao Xin saw the sol- diers wave their guns, toss their helmets, jump high, and shout with excitement. After seven most dramatic weeks the movement was repressed.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:23.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:23.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:23.

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Zhao, Dingxin. The Power of Tiananmen : State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/wooster/detail.action?docID=557594. Created from wooster on 2018-08-31 21:28:23.

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Attachment 4

The 1989 Tiananmen Movements

Today’s theme: What was going on at the Tiananmen SQ (from 4/15 to 6/4) from the participants’ perspective? 1) Who were there? What happened? 2) How can we understand the student mobilization theoretically? (next class) A. Definition of Social Movements Collective sustained attempts to bring about or resist social change by people who cannot rely on routine access to power (“underdogs,” outsiders) making some use of Disruptive or unconventional tactics (Sidney Tarrow 1998) B. Key Events 1. 4/15 Hu Yaobang’s death 2. 4/17 Xinhua Gate Incident led to: - Some students called for class boycott. - Some student organizations began emerging (e.g., Beijing Student’s Autonomous Union). 3. 4/27 student demonstration in response to the 4/26 People’s Daily Editorial about students at the SQ Why did the editorial upset students? What did students want from Govt? Were the majority of Students opposing to the basis political system? The Emergence of Student activist groups What were your impressions of student groups? Were they unified or fragmented? The Hunger Strike Why did some student group want the hunger Strike? What external factor (e.g., foreign relations) facilitated their decision to carry out the strike? What kind of roles did intellectuals play in the strike? Workers Zhao describes workers’ participation in the demonstration.

Did you find anything interesting about their participation? What was Zhao’s take on the roles of independent union? 4. 5/14 short-lived dialogue Were students prepared for the dialogue? Was the dialogue fruitful? 5. 5/15 Gorbachev visited China. What kind of effects did his visit had on the movement? 6. 5/17 Martial Law 7. By Late May, the Movement lost momentum 8. 5/30-6/4 The Goddess of Democracy How did the Goddess of Democracy influence the movement? What was the nature of students who occupied the SQ around this time? 9. 6/3-4 The PLA cleared up the SQ.

Q. Do you find the effects of globalization?

Attachment 5

Week 2: Key Events during the Maoist Era (1949-76)

1949 The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded

via the Communist Takeover.

China was liberated from: Japan – an Imperialist Invader

UK&US – Capitalists

KMT (Kuo Min Tang) – nationalists who

fled to Taiwan.

Purposes: to create an egalitarian society (Da tong = great

equality) w/ Communist culture based on self-

sacrifice

1958-61 The Great Leap Forward (GLF): Da yue jin

Purposes: to increase productivity in the agricultural and industrial sectors

Ended up with Massive Famine

1963-66 The Four Cleanups Movement

(the Socialist Education Movement)

Purpose: to remove the reactionary elements in the CCP (Chinese

Communist Party bureaucracy by cleansing politics, economy,

organization, and ideology (the four cleanups).

Intellectuals were sent to rural China to be re-educated by peasants.

“Sent-down youth” (late ‘60s to early ’70s): the same reason as above.

The real purpose is to redistribute population after the GLF. Need people

to cultivate land.

1966-76 The Cultural Revolution (led by Chairman Mao and the Red Guards)

Purpose: to weed out bourgeois elements w/ capitalist thoughts through

continuous class struggles.

1976 Mao’s death

1978 Economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership: from central

planning to the more-market oriented system.

China opens its market for foreign trade and investment.

Attachment 6

“Uphold
the
Four
Basic
Principles”
(Speech,
March
30,
1979) By
Deng
Xiaoping

The
 [Party]
 Center
 believes
 that
 in
 realizing
 the
 four
 modernizations
 in
 China
 we


must
uphold
the
four
basic
principles
in
thought
and
politics.
They
are
the
fundamental


premise
for
 realizing
the
four
modernizations.
They
are
[as
follows]:

1.

 We
must
uphold
the
socialist
road.

2.

 We
must
uphold
the
dictatorship
of
the
proletariat.

3.

 We
must
uphold
the
leadership
of
the
Communist
Party.

4.

 We
must
uphold
Marxism-Leninism
and
Mao
Zedong
Thought.

The
 Center
 believes
 that
 we
must
 reemphasize
 upholding
 the
 four
 basic
 principles


today
 because
 some
 people
 (albeit
 an
 extreme
 minority)
 have
 attempted
 to
 shake


those
 basic
 principles.
…
 Recently,
 a
 tendency
 has
 developed
 for
 some
 people
 to


create
 trouble
 in
 some
 parts
 of
 the
 country.
 …
 Some
 others
 also
 deliberately


exaggerate
 and
 create
 a
 sensation
 by

raising
such
slogans
as
“Oppose
starvation”
and
“Demand
human
rights.”
Under
these
slo

gans,
 they
 incite
 some
 people
 to
 demonstrate
 and
 scheme
 to
 get
 foreigners
 to


propagandize
 their
 words
 and
 actions
 to


the
outside
world.
The
so-called
China
Human
Rights
Organization
has
 even
 tacked


up
 big
 character
 posters
 requesting
 the
American
 president
“to
 show
 solicitude”

toward
human
rights
in
China.
Can
we
permit
these
kinds
of
public
demands
for
foreign

ers
to
 interfere
in
 China’s
 domestic
 affairs?
 A
 so-called
 Thaw
 Society
issued
 a


proclamation
 openly
 opposing
 the
dictatorship
of
 the
proletariat,
saying


that
it
divided
people.
Can
we
permit
 this


kind
of
“freedom
of
speech,”
which
openly
opposes
constitutional
principles?

Attachment 7

Name:_____________________

SOC 219: Globalization and Contemporary Chinese Society

Exam #1 Fall 2020

General Instructions: Use no smaller than a 12-point font and no narrower than standard

1-inch margins. Double space the entire essay and put your name on every page. The

exam should total about 5 pages with a maximum of 7 pages. Nothing over the 7 page

limit will be considered. A bibliography is not included in the page limit.

Write well-organized, succinct essays in your own words, incorporating key concepts you

learned from this course. All answers must be in complete sentences.

You are expected to ONLY refer to our readings, lectures, and class discussions. This is

not a research paper. Your direct use of other sources is prohibited.

SHORT ESSAYS (100 points):

1. The majority of the American public consider the 1989 Tiananmen Square

movement in China to be a student democracy movement. They also think that the

Chinese Communist leadership unanimously decided to crush the movement. How

would you explain the event to the American public so that they obtain a more accurate

understanding? Please answer the questions in detail. Be sure to ground your arguments

in the class readings: “The Power of Tiananmen” by Zhao and “The Tiananmen Paper”

by Nathan, Link, and Schell (70 points).

2. Discuss the ways in which globalization affected China’s political climate from

1978 to June 4, 1989, describing the key events we learned from class (30 points).

  • SOC 219: Globalization and Contemporary Chinese Society