Could Tiananmen Massacre Happen Today? Print
Real China

The iconic photo of the 'tank man', an enduring image of courage in the aftermath of the massacre. The man was eventually pulled away from the tanks and was believed to have been executed after interrogation.  (Photo courtesy of

June 4, 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the horrific Tiananmen Square Massacre, in which the 7 week old, student-led democracy protests were crushed by military force on the orders of Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, resulting in the massacre of thousands of unarmed students.

So, 25 years later, has anything changed?

The communist regime, even today, denies that a massacre occurred, and the majority of Chinese citizens, particularly those born since the massacre, have no knowledge of the massacre because of communist party censorship.

Despite the so called 'opening up' and 'capitalism with Chinese characteristics", do Chinese citizens have anything approaching democracy, or freedom of speech and expression, or the freedom to have belief in anything other than the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)?

As China has become a more corrupt society under CCP rule, it is unlikely that the university students of today, born into 'one child' families and mollycoddled since birth by those families, many of whom rely on largesse from the Party, would have the courage to protest or even the understanding that they have no real freedoms.

As long as they have the latest fake iphone or other consumer gadgets, they are happy to be told what to think and believe, whilst across China, more than 50 people, including activists, lawyers, journalists and intellectuals have been arrested, detained or “disappeared” in recent weeks because of their intention to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the massacre.

Other activists, have been taken out of Beijing or, like Ding Zilin of the Tiananmen Mothers, barred from re-entering the capital.

Another massacre possible?

However, if the unlikely was to happen, and the brainwashed Chinese populace did suddenly find a voice and the courage to protest for democracy as did the students of 25 years ago, it is quite possible that another massacre of civilians by the CCP would happen.

Despite all its forms of suppression and censorship, the CCP is fighting a losing battle to stop Chinese from accessing information from the internet, and thousands of protests have erupted around the country, especially in rural areas, against corrupt CCP practices and suppression. Most of these public protests have been met with some form of violence and many protesters have been badly injured or killed by police or paramilitary forces.

If large scale democracy and rights protests similar to the 1989 demonstrations happened, then it is highly likely that the CCP would call in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to disperse the protests in the same brutal fashion.

The Chinese regime knows only one way to stay in power and that is by the use of force - if censorship, intimidation and other forms of suppression are not enough, then the regime will do anything it has to do to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union and the Arab Spring countries.

Likely world response?

In 1989, the world's people were shocked to the core, and democratic countries introduced tough sanctions and were outspoken in their condemnation. China became a pariah. Some countries, such as Australia, even offered citizenship to Chinese who were studying in the country.

It is very unlikely that that would be the case today.

As we have seen over the last 15 years, the democratic countries of the world have been cowed by greed and anticipation of the economic gains from trading with China. When human rights atrocities continue to occur, such as the cultural genocide in Tibet, and the human organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners, the world tut-tuts mildly and continues to trade and have diplomatic relations with China, whilst making excuses for these crimes against humanity, such as: "China is a developing nation and engagement will eventually improve the human rights situation."

The Chinese regime is fully aware that it has the upper hand and continues to push the boundaries of civilized behaviour, secure in the knowledge that the west pays lip service only, to human rights when profits are at stake.

The 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre is an opportunity to commemorate the courage of the students in 1989, and reflect on the loss of innocence of the Chinese people and of democratic people everywhere. The brutal regime is still in power in China, and despite its attempts to rewrite history, nothing has really changed, and the world turns a blind eye as it greedily competes for Chinese yuan.

See photo essay of Tiananmen Massacre (warning graphic images)