Taiwanese NGOs have discovered that Chinese-style foreign propaganda is spreading tens of thousands of whitewashing statements about the June 4 massacre, with the intention of erasing the truth about the June 4 massacre. Former June 4 leader Wang Dan asked Taiwan to continue the memory of June 4 for China and Hong Kong, so that history will not be forgotten. He believes that the younger generation in China may one day rise up against the Communist Party because of their own interests, such as the lack of freedom to “lie flat. The Taiwan Land Commission calls on the Communist Party to reflect on June 4 and return power to the people.
The Taiwan Democracy Lab, a Taiwan-based NGO that monitors China’s information warfare, has been monitoring more than 17,000 Facebook fan pages that have been spreading false messages about China since early last year, and found that at least 30,000 posts were related to the June 4 whitewashing narrative. In particular, around the time of June 4, there were numerous statements that distorted the truth, such as “The fact that the tankers were not crushed to death proves the PLA’s love for the Chinese people” and “China’s economy took off because of the June 4 crackdown.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia on June 3, Taiwan Democracy Lab researcher Zeng Baiyu said that the whitewashing of the June 4 rhetoric has three purposes: “not to respond positively, to deny and to rationalize”, to excuse the Chinese Communist government and to cover up the historical truth.
Zeng Baiyu said, “The ‘no response’ approach is to avoid discussing how serious the June Fourth massacre was in terms of human rights, or to focus too much on the details. The ‘denial’ technique is the most common to create conspiracy theories, for example, the June 4 massacre is a message created by the United States, foreign media such as the BBC. The ‘rationalization’ is full of false testimonies, making up that the students were also witnessed in Tiananmen Square back then as thugs, massacring military and police, that the crackdown had to be done, or that the students’ demands were so exaggerated that the government could not possibly accept them, and that without the crackdown back then, there would not be a stable political situation and a strong China today.”
Zeng Baiyu said that the whitewashing of the June 4 speech is quite consistent with the ten techniques of “foreign propaganda” studied by the academia, such as “shining light”, with positive, noble, love for the motherland and country, linking the concept that wants to convey. Or “creating mass pressure”, “using strong emotional and sensational words”. Or they may adopt “unilateral arguments” and make generalizations, for example, because of what happened to Wang Dan, all the June 4 students are like that.
Taiwan NGO: many of those involved in copying the whitewashing narrative are deceived and do not know it
Zeng Baiyu said: “The most common ‘shift in focus’, such as ‘What qualifications do you have in the United States to say about June 4? How are your own black people’s human rights being persecuted and the black movement being suppressed by the military and police, and you are not qualified to talk about China?'”
Zeng Baiyu pointed out that the June 4 whitewashing discourse will deliberately amplify the Chinese ideology, and those who collaborate to create these discourses are not necessarily 50 cents, pinkies, many self-made five, and the netizens who believe in this set of words from the bottom of their hearts.
Zeng Baiyu said that many of the fans on Facebook are in business mode, making money by posting, and Youtube is obviously spreading a lot of videos in simplified Chinese characters, with a set of messages with the same purpose, many of which are not fake accounts controlled by the Chinese government, and a large number of internet users in the Chinese speaking world are convinced after watching these whitewashing statements, and then share them.
Zeng Baiyu said that young people, especially those who had not experienced June 4 at all, were unable to distinguish the truth from the falsehoods and quickly copied and reposted them, becoming the disseminators of the whitewashing narrative. Calling on netizens who know the truth to refute and respond to the whitewashing narrative of June 4, not to win, but to make the real truth about June 4, and the whitewashing narrative of the proportion of messages at least close, in order to increase the judgment of netizens.
Gong and Jian: June 4 in the territory is still a minefield outside the country can not play June 4 anti-June 4
The dissident Gong Hejian, who was in the June 4, 1989, and his classmates in his hometown in Hunan Province, posted his own “patriotic students are not guilty”, “Down with Deng Xiaoping”, “for the June 4 vindication “In 1992, he was arrested and sentenced to two years of reeducation through labor for counterrevolutionary crimes.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Gong pointed out that the issue has to be divided into internal and external propaganda, and the Chinese people are inside the firewall, even after 32 years, the June Fourth Incident is still a taboo that cannot be touched.
Gong and Jian said: “June 4 to the Communist Party is a thorn in the side, would rather hide, so that the Chinese people will always forget, the Chinese Communist Party in the territory of June 4 completely covered up, is simply a very large minefield, June 4 does not exist to cleanse the problem of whitewashing, is not even mention, domestic dissidents before June 4 have been disappeared, were travel.”
As for foreign propaganda, Gong and Jian said he agreed that the history of June 4 can be reviewed, can attract lessons, but this year there is a June 4 whitewash argument is hotly discussed, almost from all aspects to deny June 4, he could not accept.
Gong and Jian said: “I have seen a class of comments that if June 4 had not happened, perhaps Zhao Ziyang would not have stepped down, China would have peacefully evolved democratization and liberalization development, today’s China is not so. You can’t be anti-June 4 in the name of exploring June 4, and I personally have always been so alert to the fact that history is not a traversal, and you can’t erase the merits of June 4 to history.”
Wang Dan: China’s pinkies may one day fight for “not being able to lie flat”
Wang Dan, the former leader of the Tiananmen school movement, said on the 3rd recording of Radio Free Asia’s “Asia Wants to Talk” program that he met with a dozen young people in Hong Kong just before the program, who participated in the anti-Send China movement and police clashes in exile in the United States, the youngest was only 19 years old, so he thought of his own exile in the United States after June 4, and was very sad.
Wang Dan believes that “today, in Hong Kong, is the second June 4”, and that only by insisting on not giving up will there be a chance of recovery. He mentioned that when he first came to Taiwan to teach in 2009, he found that young people were very indifferent to politics, but a few years later, he witnessed the tremendous energy of the Sunflower movement that quickly exploded, just as he was surprised to see 19-year-old Hong Kong people so thin and weak, with scars on their arms from the fight with the Hong Kong police.
Wang Dan said, no matter Taiwan, Hong Kong, China’s young generation, and the June 4 generation have something in common, once the external conditions from quantitative to qualitative changes, the sense of deprivation caused by the energy of resistance will erupt, this is human nature.
Wang Dan said: “The same path! We may promote democracy and freedom out of grand ideals, and the national interests conflict, one day the younger generation in China, may also be in order to defend the game, freedom to lie flat are not allowed, really will be desperate, may also fight for this, not to the younger generation in China disappointed .”
Can Taiwan light up the June 4 memorial candle for China and Hong Kong?
Despite the proliferation of whitewashing remarks on the Internet on June 4, Wang Dan said he is not worried, he believes that China’s younger generation has not forgotten June 4 and has its own judgment of right and wrong, the Communist Party also knows that what it did back then was a crime, but they are afraid to speak. Wang Dan expects that civil society across the Taiwan Strait can dovetail in terms of demands and build a sense of community in terms of the value of democratic outlook, which will have an encouraging effect on the transfer of Taiwan’s experience to China.
Wang Dan lamented that the 30-year tradition of commemorating June 4 in Hong Kong will not be seen again: “I really hope that our friends in Taiwan will help us or help our friends in Hong Kong to do this, so that Freedom Square can become a place in East Asia where June 4 can still be commemorated, so that the June 4 candle can be lit in Freedom Square, and at least let the Communist Party know that it can put China Mainland China down, can put Hong Kong down, but he has no way to put Taiwan down.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council: The Chinese Communist Party should apologize for violent governance and return power to the people at an early date
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council issued a statement on March 3 calling on the Chinese Communist Party to reflect on the historical lessons of the June 4 Incident and show its determination to reform the democratic political system. The spokesman for the Mainland Affairs Council, Chiu Chui-ching, pointed out that “the Chinese Communist Party authorities have not yet faced up to the historical revelations of the June 4 Incident, and have avoided reflecting on the mistakes of violent governance and apologizing frankly; we express our regret and call on the other side of the Taiwan Strait to concretely implement people-centered political reform, do not clamp down on the people’s democratic demands, and return power to the people as soon as possible.”