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On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. In this extraordinary collection of hundreds of internal government and Communist Party documents, secretly smuggled out of China, we learn how these events came to pass from behind the scenes. The material reveals how the most important decisions were made; and how the turmoil split the ruling elite into radically opposed factions. The book includes the minutes of the crucial meetings at which the Elders decided to cashier the pro-reform Party secretary Zhao Ziyang and to replace him with Jiang Zemin, to declare martial law, and finally to send the troops to drive the students from the Square.
Just as the Pentagon Papers laid bare the secret American decision making behind the Vietnam War and changed forever our view of the nation's political leaders, so too has The Tiananmen Papers altered our perception of how and why the events of June 4 took the shape they did. Its publication has proven to be a landmark event in Chinese and world history.
The present volume is unprecedented in the drama of the story it tells, the fullness of the record it reveals, and the potential explosiveness of its contents. It consists of full or partial transcripts from hundreds of documents detailing the highest-level processes of decision-making during the fateful events in Beijing in spring 1989. Not only was this one of the most important events in the history of Communist China, but the world -- and the Chinese people -- have no other such intimate account of top-level politics from any period in Chinese history....
Taken as a whole, these reports tell us in extraordinary detail what the central decision-makers saw as they looked out from their compound on the events unfolding around them and how they evaluated the threat to their rule.
Added to these are minutes of the leaders' formal and informal meetings and accounts of some of their private conversations. In these we observe the desperate conflict among a handful of strong-willed leaders, whose personalities emerge with unprecedented vividness. We learn what the ultimate decision-makers said among themselves as they discussed the unfolding events: how they debated the motives of the students, whom they identified as their main enemies, which considerations dominated their search for a solution, why they waited as long as they did and no longer before ordering the troops to move on the Square, and what they ordered the troops to do. Perhaps most dramatic of all, we have definitive evidence of who voted how on key issues and their reasons for those votes, in their own words.
|Preface: Reflections on June Fourth||xi|
|Introduction: The Documents and Their Significance||xv|
|Prologue: 1986-Spring 1989: Seeds of Crisis||3|
|Chapter 1||April 8-23: The Student Movement Begins||19|
|Chapter 2||April 24-30: The April 26 Editorial||56|
|Chapter 3||May 1-6: Signs of Compromise||100|
|Chapter 4||May 6-16: Hunger Strike||121|
|Chapter 5||May 16-19: The Fall of Zhao Ziyang||175|
|Chapter 6||May 19-22: Martial Law||223|
|Chapter 7||May 23-25: The Conflict Intensifies||277|
|Chapter 8||May 26-28: The Elders Choose Jiang Zemin||297|
|Chapter 9||May 29-June 3: Preparing to Clear the Square||318|
|Chapter 10||June Fourth||365|
|Epilogue: June 1989 and After: Renewed Struggle over China's Future||419|
|Afterword: Reflections on Authentication||459|
|Who Was Who: One Hundred Brief Biographies||477|