February 7, 2023
    Home Book Tiananmen 1989 – Seven weeks that shook the world (PDF version only) (TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

    Tiananmen 1989 – Seven weeks that shook the world (PDF version only) (TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)


    TIANANMEN 1989

    “They just opened fire, and bodies dropped. Bodies just dropped, time and time again. People would get up again and they would go forward, with red flags sometimes, sometimes with bricks, sometimes just shouting. They would go down again. They would get up again. The troops were shooting everybody.”

    With these words, Stephen Jolly from Australia describes what he and his Chinese friends saw on the streets of Beijing on the night of 3-4 June 1989. The Tiananmen protests triggered one of the biggest mass movements in modern history, one that came close to toppling the dictatorial regime of the so called ‘communist’ party. Striking students and later the industrial working class laid the foundations for an independent trade union movement. This development above all else terrified China’s leaders.

    The June 4th massacre required the mobilisation of 200,000 soldiers, almost as many as George Bush deployed for his 2003 invasion of Iraq. To this day, the Beijing regime is haunted by the legacy of “6/4 (June 4th) and the ideals it evokes.

    Stephen Jolly’s eyewitness account is republished here, with new material by Vincent Kolo and Chen Mo on the lessons for today’s struggle for democratic rights and independent unions and against neo-liberalism www.chinaworker.info works to publicise and support workers’ struggles in China as part of the International Socialist Alternative(ISA) – an organisation with members around the globe fighting for a socialist world.

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