søndag 23. mai 2021

What Happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and Why It Still Matters Three Decades Later

In his new book, Tiananmen Square; The Making of a Protest; A Diplomat Looks Back, Vijay Gokhale has given us a precise, accurate and valuable account by an eyewitness of a pivotal incident in contemporary Chinese politics – the demonstrations and clearing of Tiananmen square. This book is an analytical and detailed look at the events of three months in 1989 in Beijing, shorn of the myths that Western and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda attached to them, then and later.

Gokhale’s book is a detailed account of the politics and factional fights within the CCP that made Tiananmen possible, by causing the apparent leadership paralysis between April and May followed by the crackdown on June 3-4. In our era, it is clear that Tiananmen was a turning point in China’s history. The reverberations of Tiananmen continue even though the party-state has done everything to suppress and obliterate the memory of what happened in Beijing and elsewhere, centered as they all were on Tiananmen Square in spring 1989. Gokhale has gone beyond a diplomat’s narration of what he saw to mine the literature and analyse the various accounts, many self-serving, of what happened, giving us as accurate a picture as possible of the events of 1989.