Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 6.2.2019
The Chinese government said the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square – which left hundreds of protesters dead, perhaps thousands – was not a mistake. The defense came days ahead of the 30th anniversary of the killings.
Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe on Sunday defended the bloody crackdown on protesters Tiananmen Squarealmost three decades after it took place.
“That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy,” Wei told a regional security forum in Singapore.
“The 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes,” Wei said in response to a question from the audience. He said that because of the government’s action at that time “China has enjoyed stability and development.”
Wei said the action was necessary to avoid political instability, and questioned why people still said that China has not handled the situation well.
The response was a rare acknowledgment of the killings, which had followed seven weeks of protests in 1989 by students and workers calling for democracy and an end to corruption.
Hundreds, possibly more than 1,000 people were killed when soldiers and tanks chased protesters and onlookers in the streets around the square. One secret British diplomatic cable put the possible number of dead at up to 10,000.
Within China, online censors have been removing online content — such as memes, hashtags and photos — that allude to the events at Tiananmen Square.