1989年,前中共總書記胡耀邦的逝世引發北京學生在天安門廣場發起的學生運動。學生表達對貪污、官僚制度等改革開放引申的社會問題的不滿,並逐漸演化為對民主自由的追求。六月三日晚上,中國政府派遣解放軍進行清場行動,當中包括使用坦克車輾壓人群、以實彈射擊及施放毒氣彈等,死傷人數難以估計。中共至今仍將運動定性為「反革命暴亂」,引起兩岸以致國際堅持平反六四的聲音。
六四至今二十八年,當年許多記憶都漸漸被淡忘。今天兩岸三地的大學生都沒有經歷過六四的洗禮,加上本土思潮的崛起,對於六四似乎多了一份莫不關心的距離感。這份距離感是為了釐清自己與中共政權的關係,還是出於缺乏對於六四切身的了解,實在不得而知。然而,過去二十八年間,改變的還有中國本身,改革開放讓中國搖身一變成為全球經濟的火車頭,國際地位也大幅提升。當年在廣場上的學生,今天究竟有多少還堅持中國民主化的要求,有多少又因為中國的崛起承認中共政權?廣場上另一端的官員又有多少仍維護着當天以保護政權穩定為先的堅持,又有多少為學生的死傷而後悔?
下文列舉了當年廣場兩端五位人物的現況和他們今天對六四的看法。
【李鵬 – 國務院總理】
李鵬為時任中國國務院前總理,在運動歷時的兩個多月間均主張以強硬手段回應,是決定暴力清場的其中一位重要人物。在六四前夕,李在電視上發表措詞強硬的「五·一九講話」,引起更加大規模的示威活動;並簽署國務院命令,在北京部分地區戒嚴。隨著事態加劇,他與鄧小平、數名中共元老及政治局常委召開會議,允許「使用任何手段」實施清場以「結束暴亂並且恢復首都秩序」。李在六四事件後續任國務院總理,並在1998年轉任人大常委會委員長。然而,他1993年連任總理時有210張反對票,在中共歷史上實屬罕見。他退任後撰寫了多部回憶錄,包括《關鍵時刻:李鵬六四日記》,但被中共高層禁止出版。日記內容及後由趙紫陽秘書鮑彤之子鮑朴在香港出版;當中顯示李與鄧小平強硬對待學生運動,並拒絕對請願學生讓步。從回憶錄的內容可見,李似乎為自己不惜「賠上自己的身家性命」也要捍衛一黨專制的決心而驕傲。
【陳希同 – 北京市長】
陳希同為時任北京市長。趙紫陽指他是將學運定性為動亂的領頭人之一。但在他出版的回憶錄中,他否認自己是北京戒嚴指揮部的「總指揮」。陳於1995年在權爭中失勢,以「貪污罪」下獄。他在2004年因健康問題保外就醫,並在2013年六四前夕逝世。他晚年表示對於六四「作為市長,我感到難過……假如處理得當的話,一個人都不應該死,而事實上,那天死了好幾百人。」其回憶錄的作者指出他對六四事件的認知,並未擺脫「執政者的思維定式」;但對話過程,體現出陳「人性的復蘇和掙扎」。
【王丹 – 北京大學學生】
王丹六四運動擔任北大學生籌委會常委、北京市高校學生自治聯合會常委,積極領導廣場上的學生活動。六四事件後,他被中國政府通緝,並兩度入獄,及後獲准保外就醫逃亡到美國。他在美國哈佛大學完成學業後,到了台灣大學擔任教授,並積極支持台灣太陽花運動和香港的民主運動。他最近宣布赴美,投入推動中國人權及民主的工作。
【柴玲 – 北京大學學生】
柴玲在六四時間中曾擔任保衛天安門廣場指揮部總指揮,並是學生絕食抗議的倡導者之一。她在六四後逃亡到美國,現為軟件公司Jenzabar的創辦人兼總裁。柴玲於2010年歸信基督教,並透過「女童之聲」的組織關注中國計劃生育政策。她在2014寫給天安門母親丁子霖的信中寫道如果六四的時候認識上帝,她會勸學生不要上街、絕食;並指她「原諒鄧小平和李鵬,原諒1989年衝進天安門廣場的士兵」。王丹及丁子霖都對寬恕表達反對態度。
【李錄 – 南京大學學生】
李錄為六四事件後被通緝的21名學生領袖之一。他當時在南京大學修讀經濟,並在四月始在天安門廣場帶領學運。六四事件後,他逃到美國,在哥倫比亞大學繼續學業,並創辦私募基金喜馬拉雅資本(Himalaya Partners)。巴菲特在2003年成為其基金的其中一個主要客戶,並有傳他會成為巴菲特的接班人。2010年,他隨巴菲特合法返回中國大陸,成為首名回國的流亡學運領袖;並在15年在北京大學的投資課程擔任演講嘉賓。他曾在微博撰文指大陸史無前例的經濟增長,因「有一個具有超強執行能力,聚集了一批優秀人才的執政黨」。
他們的堅持或轉變不但折射了社會不同階層今天對於六四的看法,更讓我們深思今天中國經濟的發展對於政治改革的影響。中國崛起是否意味着中國已經沒有了推動民主化需要?民主自由對於今天的中國有什麼意義?

 

The death of Hu Yaobang, former Secretary General of the Communist Party of China, triggered the student movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989, commonly known as the June-Fourth Event. University students in Beijing voiced their discontent towards social issues that came to light from the Reform and Opening Up, such as corruption and bureaucracy. The movement expanded and students protested for freedom and democracy in China. On the night of 3rd June, the Liberation Army raided the Square. Lethal and brutal forces such as tanks, guns and poisonous gases were deployed to clear the Square. It is difficult to estimate the number of casualties. The Central government still categorizes the Event as an anti-revolution riot. Many across the Greater China region have been seeking for an official reassessment of the crackdown and demanding for official rehabilitation of those involved with the movement.

The memories of the June-Fourth Event have been gradually fading after 28 years. Some university students in Hong Kong try to distance themselves from China as well as the Event. It is hard to tell if it is a result of the rise of localism, or simply because we have not witnessed the tragic incident ourselves. China itself has also changed over the past decades. She became the driving force of the world’s economy and rose into one of the most important superpowers in the global stage. In light of these development, how many of the students who fought for democracy in the Square retained their passion? How many of them changed their views after witnessing the rise of China as a superpower? On the other hand, how many of the decision-makers in the “Great Hall of the People” on the other end of the Square still defend their decision to put security of the sovereign first? And how many of them regret causing the death of so many students?

This snapshot will tell the stories of five people on both sides of the Square in the June-Fourth Event and what they think about the Movement today.
[Li Peng – Premier of the State Department]

Li was the Premier of the State Department when the student movement unfolded. He insisted on responding with a high hand and played a vital part in deciding to clear the Square using violent means. Before the Event, he made a strong statement against the student movement on the television, but that resulted in even more support for the students. He was also the person who signed the order to enforce martial law in some parts of Beijing. As the protest escalated, he, alongside Deng Xiaoping and several other senior figures of the Communist Party, decided to “use whatever means” to clear the Square in order to “bring an end to the riot and restore discipline in the capital”. Li continued to serve as Premier until taking up another senior post as Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 1998. To many’s surprise, there were 210 votes against him when Li sought for re-election in 1993, which is extremely rare in the history of the Communist Party. He wrote a few memoirs after retirement, including “The Critical Moment: Li Peng’s Tiananmen Diary”. The book is prohibited from circulation in mainland China but is published in Hong Kong. The Diary shows that Li and Deng refused to make any concession with the protesting students. He seems to be proud to defend the one-party dictation with “his life and all of his wealth” in 1989 and shows no signs of regret.
[Chan Xitong – Mayor of Beijing]

Chan was the Mayor of Beijing at the time. Zhao Ziyang claimed that he was one of the leading proponents for categorizing the student movement as a “riot”. Nevertheless, he rejected the claim that he assumed the role as “Chief Commander” in the “Headquarter for the Enforcement of Martial Law in Beijing” in an interview for his memoir. He fell from power in a power struggle in 1995 and was jailed for corruption. He was given compassionate release due to his medical condition in 2004 and died shortly before 4th June in 2013. He said in his late years that “I am sorry as the mayor of Beijing. … If the event was properly handled, no one would have died. In fact, several hundreds died that day.” The author of his memoir said that although Chan retained the mindset of an authoritative governor, he showed compassion and humanity in the conversion with him.
[Wang Dan – student of Peking University]

Wang was one of the key student leaders in the Movement. He was sought after by the Chinese government after the incident and was thrown into jail twice. He was later allowed to seek treatment for his health issues in the United States. After finishing his Master in Harvard University, he taught in several universities in Taiwan. He asserted strong support for Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement and the movement for democracy in Hong Kong. He recently announced that he will move to Washington D.C. to continue to advocate for human rights and democracy in China.
[Chai Ling – student of Peking University]

Chai was the Chief Commander of the “Headquarter for Safeguarding Tiananmen Square”. She also launched the student hunger strike on the Square. She left China for the United States right after the Event. She is now the founder and CEO of Jenzabar, a high school software development company. Chai turned to Christianity in 2010 and advocated against the one-child policy. She wrote to Ding Zilin, one of the mothers who lost her child during the Tiananmen crackdown, in 2014, saying that if she was Christian at the time, she would not have asked the students to protest and launch hunger strikes. She said that she “forg[a]ve Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, forg[a]ve the troops who rushed into the Tiananmen Square in 1989”. Other student leaders were highly critical of her forgiving attitude.
[Li Lu – student of Nanjing University]

Li was one of the 21 student leaders who were sought after by the authorities after the June-Fourth Event. He was studying Economics in Nanjing University before the incident and started to assume a leading role in the student movement in April. He fled to the United States after the June-Fourth Event and continued his studies in Columbia University. He founded Himalaya Partners, a private equity fund. Warren Buffett is one of his major clients and it was rumoured that he would be named successor of one of Buffet’s multi-billions funds. Li returned to mainland China for the first time in 2010 in a trip with Buffett, becoming the first student leader in the June-Fourth Movement to return. He taught as a guest lecturer in an investment course in the Peking University in 2015. He once wrote on his Weibo account that the unprecedented economic growth in China is owed to the effective ruling of the governing party which is capable of drawing talents.
The five characters all have their own stories. Some of them persisted in the fight for democracy; others conceded to the reality. Some remained strong in defending the government’s actions that night; others regretted the mistakes they have made. There are numerous views on the June-Fourth Event across the political spectrum. However, the more critical question for us today is whether the economic growth renders political reform unnecessary. Does democracy and freedom mean anything to today’s China?

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