Tiananmen '89: a look at the evidence
by Henrietta Wang, with additional reporting from Cock Zhou and Fortuitous Li
Like milk after three days in the Beijing sun, the confusion surrounding what did or did not occur 20 years ago is thick, and slightly smelly. On the one hand are those who say that nothing happened at all, and that evidence was fabricated by Bin Laden. On the other hand, some believe that the cover-up is greater than even the Roswell UFO landing which occurred near the end of the Chinese Civil War, or CIA involvement in the SARS virus. Like a marble tossed into a steel drum full of horse urine, gou-rou.com is going to get to the bottom of it.
Finding out the truth is always a difficult task. Journalists such as myself constantly have to contend with questions like "is he lying?", "why?", "who is this woman?" and "does this small peasant child have an agenda?". During this sensitive time, I decided to interview as many people as possible, both experts and citizens, to bring you, the reader of gou-rou.com, the facts.
Video evidence: we eye official body head handed army footage
Of course, there is a lot of footage of what appears to be a bloody crackdown occurring in Beijing, footage which was aired across the world, and backed up by eyewitness testimony from both journalists and citizens. I played this footage during an interview with a senior official last week. However, all is not what is seems when it comes to this footage, states Zhang Xuanbu, spokeshuman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whilst rolling his eyes repeatedly and shrugging.
"Rather than being a so-called 'massacre' of hundreds of people," says Zhang, "careful inspection of this footage shows that what has happened here is that someone has maliciously stitched together footage from around 150 separate, smaller incidents of police violence that day. I mean, look, the location jumps from one street to next, how could anyone travel so quickly? It's obviously fake! Furthermore, they have inserted footage of some routine military parades, not any type of 'crackdown', involving tanks, firecrackers and other fireworks, which were invented in China. This is manipulative and clearly designed to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people."
Above: this man's injuries could have come from any baton.
"Although some people were injured in Beijing that day, they were all members of the military, who weren't even there at the time anyway, so these lies must stop! This footage is no more credible than that despicable footage - similarly edited together from different cameras - of law enforcement officials beating handcuffed people somewhere in the mountains earlier this year."
Photographic evidence: does it hold up any better?
Photographic evidence doesn't hold up any better.
Whilst the Western media tried to describe photos and videos of armoured cars and soldiers marching into the city as "a crackdown", these have since been proven by independent photo experts from Pyongyang University as "photos from a film set", in which actors are playing soldiers, and other actors are playing protestors and bodies. Rangoon scholar Hun Ga Win, who leads a group of PhD exchange students from Damascus University and Al Khartum School of Photographic Media, last year confirmed the prestigious North Korean experts' findings.
Above: second assistant director Li Jianhan instructs extras playing tank-shaped robots.
"These photos are from the set of 2400AD," says Hun, "a movie which was never completed but which was set against the backdrop of a dystopian future in which an oppressive government, tied heavily to big business and a small rich urban elite, keep their grip on power through brutality, denial of history, nationalism and empty promises of total wealth for all."
Conclusions: they go at the end
In the end, there are two or more sides to every story, and two or more stories to every event. When it comes to the events in the summer of 1989, there are serious questions to be answered, and we know better than to ask them.