Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Wed Jun 5 16:53:35 MDT 1996

Wei En Lin's thoughtful review of the film "The Gate of
Heavenly Peace would be confirmed by the evidence of the
British Ambassador in Beijing at the time. I quote
>from a post I made to this l'st on 25th March 1995

Chris Burford


"Tiananmen" Massacre, or The Particularity of Evil

Last night I heard a BBC radio programme which repeats
interesting clips from the week.

The British Ambassador in Beijing at the time of the "Tiananmen"
massacre was saying what really happened. He used the word "carnage"
but not in Tiananmen and the story starts to become more explicable,
albeit still as shocking.

He denied that thousands were killed in Tiananmen square: only 28,
although the square was cleared by machine gun fire. The worst deaths
occurred very severely in a stretch of about 6 kilometres along one of
the roads leading to it. The soldiers were very frightened and were
shooting even at people coming to the window. The British ambassador
said that about a thousand died altogether, of whom only about 40 were
students. He recalled the following morning how the servants came into
the embassy in tears, saying repeatedly, "But it was the People's Army;
but it was the People's Army."

He confirmed that students were crushed by tanks, and gave details of
how they had turned back to the square apparently taking a wrong

The picture appeared to be overall that the square was undoubtedly
cleared with brutal force, but the appallingly high level of deaths
was the result of the citizens, trying to force their way back into
the square, and also of the soldiers being scared and firing freely.

He gave another slant on the famous picture of the lone student holding
up a tank. The commentator noted that it was repeatedly shown in
England as a message of David stopping Goliath. The ex-Amabassador said
that at the time it was also being repeatedly shown by the official
Chinese media, with a different meaning, to report how the tank driver
had stopped, got out of the tank, gone to talk to the lone student to
persuade him to change his mind, and then driven the tank around him.
The commentator and the former ambassador agreed, I thought
appropriately that there may be some truth in both explanations.

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