June 4, 1989. In the predawn darkness we were forced to evacuate Tiananmen Square. Negotiations with the army were completed. The terms we agreed upon were simple: We should leave before daybreak. A peaceful conclusion to the occupation of this largest of public gathering places in all of China seemed within reach. Helmeted soldiers allowed us to pass through the narrow corridor at the southeast side of the square, all the while pointing their bayonets, as if we were prisoners of war. Army commanders had promised to give the demonstrators an opportunity to disperse.
The process, time-consuming because the crowd was huge, seemed under way. “Fascist!” a female student cursed furiously. Immediately, several soldiers rushed at her and beat her down with the butts of their rifles. Her male comrades hurried to help her back into the march . And thus commenced the last phase of a major confrontation between nonviolent demonstrators led by university students and the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China. On the one side, words: speeches, pamphlets, poems, petitions, the weapons of persuasion. On the other side, dictatorial power: guns, bullets, and tanks, the weapons of destruction (Zhang Boli: Escape From China, 2008, Chapter I).
History is always full of paradoxes. In the spring of 1989 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used tanks and rifles to suppress dissent. Unable to gain the support of the people by rational arguments, it had to impose its ideological truths upon them by force. While the peaceful students were dubbed 'counter-revolutionaries', the memory of June 4th was extinguished by censorship and threats. Only a handful of students that escaped the People's Republic of China (PRC), as well as people outside the Communist state, can commemorate those tragic events.