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Monday, June 07, 2021, 23:16
Struggle between the ideological path and the pragmatic path
By Ho Lok-sang
Monday, June 07, 2021, 23:16 By Ho Lok-sang

Last week, several commentators wrote on the June 4 incident because this month marks the 32nd year of the fateful and unhappy event. In the minds of many, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government was bent on shutting them up so they cannot speak the truth. One article by Tsang Chi-ho, an RTHK program host, said, “Beijing does not want its people to mention, discuss, and investigate the June 4 incident. … The ruling regime will not want the subject of the one-party dictatorship being brought up in a court of law.” Tonyee Chow Hang-tung, vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, wrote an article headlined: “Candles carry the weight of conscience; HK people insist on telling the truth.” Both articles appeared in Ming Pao. 

What is the truth behind the Tian’anmen “massacre”? The truth is that there was no Tian’anmen Square massacre. Richard Roth, a reporter for CBS News, in a story published on June 4, 2009, reported that “There was no ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’.” Richard Roth was in Tian’anmen Square at the time. In his words, “Dawn was just breaking. There were hundreds of troops in the square. … There were some tanks and armored personnel carriers. But we saw no bodies, injured people, ambulances or medical personnel — in short, nothing to even suggest, let alone prove, that a ‘massacre’ had recently occurred in that place.” 

Wei Ling Chua, a freelance journalist accredited by the Australia News and Feature Services and the International News Syndicate, wrote the book, Tiananmen Square “Massacre”? The Power of Words vs. Silent Evidence. He proclaimed that “The art of media disinformation is hurting the world and humanity.” According to his findings, in 1998, The Washington Post journalist Jay Mathews confessed in the Columbia Journalism Review that “no one died at Tiananmen Square” and that “it is hard to find a journalist who has not contributed to the misimpression” (including himself). In 2004, The Christian Science Monitor revealed that the Human Rights Watch decided not to publish its own 52-page report that confirmed the Chinese side of the story. Since 2009, Chua has been banned from accessing any of the benefits derived from his accredited membership of ANFSINS due to a report he submitted to the Morris Journalism Academy questioning the honesty and ethics of the Western media.

I can understand why some people are intent on spreading rumors and smearing China. Their stand is dictated by the ideology or they have an agenda. Once bonded to beliefs, ideology, and political interests, there can be no genuine desire to seek the truth

In an article published in this column in 2019, I criticized the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union for sticking to the “massacre” narrative about the Tian’anmen incident and hosting materials about June 4 that only tell one side of the story without questioning if they are telling the truth. 

I wrote: “I have seen a video shot by a Spanish crew that showed peaceful evacuation of students from the Tiananmen Square, and clips exposing the lies of student leaders like Chai Ling and Wu’er Kaixi. John Passmore, the reporter to whom was attributed a report saying that the man who halted a line of tanks from moving forward had been executed, denied he had ever written that report and never had access to such information which apparently had come from a US source. In an interview, Hou Dejian, a singer from Taiwan at the scene of Tian’anmen till 6:30 am, said on camera he had never seen a single case of killing by gunshots or by tanks on the Tian’anmen Square as was reported in the Western media. Hou Dejian’s testimony was even confirmed by dissident Liu Xiaobo and protest-sympathizer Zhou Duo to be accurate. Moreover, a Spanish crew had gone back to the scene and videoed the peaceful evacuation of students around 4:45 am from the southeastern corner of the square, escorted by soldiers. Readers can search for the series of video clips under the title ‘The truth of June 4 that you have never heard of’ in Chinese for downloading.”  

I can understand why some people are intent on spreading rumors and smearing China. Their stand is dictated by the ideology or they have an agenda. Once bonded to beliefs, ideology, and political interests, there can be no genuine desire to seek the truth. If people hold a vigil for those who died in 1989, please remember also to honor the soldiers who died to keep China whole. 

China is doing so well on so many fronts because of its political system and its “Serve the People” culture. China is considered by its people to be more democratic than the United States (see the 2020 Ash Center, Harvard University report and the 2021 Democracy Perception Index report by Latana). I want to ask Mr Tsang: What is wrong with a political system based on unified leadership and selecting leaders by merit? What is wrong with Beijing defending itself against attempts to overthrow its political system by hostile forces?

In the earlier years of the Communist Party of China’s rule, “the struggle between two paths” is one between “the capitalist path” and “the socialist path”. Today, the fight is between those devoted to serving the people based on science and learning and those who are hijacked by ideology and who refuse to see the truth. 

The author is a senior research fellow at the Pan Sutong Shanghai-Hong Kong Economic Policy Research Institute, Lingnan University.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 

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