Gaza Protests and the Legend of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

The Israel/Gaza conflict is now well into its eighth month as the slaughter and starvation of Palestinians continues unabated, with many tens of thousands of helpless civilians already dead.

Despite occasional bleats of feeble disapproval by members of the Biden Administration, America’s government has continued to fully support that massacre, providing all the necessary money and munitions that enable it. Although as far back as January, the jurists of the International Court of Justice had issued a series of near-unanimous rulings that the Palestinians were at risk of suffering genocide at the hands of an Israel consumed with bloodlust, the leadership of America and the West totally ignored that verdict. Just a couple of weeks ago, our government passed new legislation providing an additional $26 billion in financial and military support to that genocidally-minded country. When word came out that the International Criminal Court might be planning to indict several Israeli leaders for war-crimes, twelve U.S. Senators published a letter directly threatening the ICC and its leadership if it took that step. How Everything Became ... Brooks, Rosa Best Price: $2.81 Buy New $11.95 (as of 01:32 UTC - Details)

For many months, horrific images of dead or dying Palestinian children have become widespread on relatively uncensored social media platforms such as TikTok and Elon Musk’s Twitter, and across America large numbers of college students have reacted to that carnage. Over the last two generations, they and their predecessors had been heavily indoctrinated in the story of the Holocaust and the terrible shame of those who stood by and did nothing as innocent men, women, and children were murdered. So with grisly scenes of what they consider a present-day genocide unfolding in real-time on their smartphones, a huge wave of protest demonstrations has swept across our colleges and universities, a campaign far greater than anything since the late 1960s movement opposing the Vietnam War.

College protests on a wide range of different social and ideological issues had been common for decades and these have sometimes focused on foreign policy controversies. But unlike all those previous examples, the protests criticizing Israel immediately provoked an enormously harsh and hostile reaction from our political and media establishment. When the presidents of Harvard and Penn were hauled before a Congressional committee and they emphasized their commitment to maintaining political free speech at their universities, both those Ivy League leaders were quickly forced to resign, an absolutely unprecedented development in American academic history.

Then last month the president of Columbia University sought to avoid a similar fate after she faced a grilling before that same House committee, so she quickly called in 100 NYC riot police who broke up the pro-Gaza demonstrations taking place on her campus and arrested many of the protesters. Images of burly, helmeted police manhandling peaceful students on their own campus for protesting a possible genocide went viral on social media, inspiring a huge wave of sympathy protests at dozens of other universities, many of which were soon broken up in similar fashion by local police raids. As of last week, some 2,800 college students have been arrested at dozens of schools for peacefully exercising their freedom of speech. This crackdown seems far more severe than anything since the late 1960s and in some respects may have even exceeded that previous peak set more than a half-century ago.

As I emphasized in an article last week, the scenes from Emory University were particularly shocking, with Georgia’s Republican governor ordering his state police to invade the grounds of one of the most prestigious local academic institutions and arrest the protesters. In one particularly dramatic incident a 57-year-old tenured professor of Economics named Carolyn Frohlin was distressed to see one of her own students being violently wrestled to the ground and approached him. For merely walking across her own campus, she was immediately grabbed by a hulking police sergeant and another officer, thrown to the ground, hog-tied, and arrested. CNN anchor Jim Acosta expressed total shock at this when he reported the story, and the video has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.

Consider that a seemingly very respectable-looking middle-aged college professor was brutally man-handled and arrested by the police on her own campus merely for trying to closely observe the arrest of one of her own protesting students. I’m not sure whether anything like this had ever previously happened in American college history even during the height of the 1960s protest movement, and it seemed more what we would expect to see on the college campuses of turbulent Latin American dictatorships.

Others had similar reactions. Someone distributed a shorter clip of the same incident on Twitter, with that Tweet viewed some 1.5 million times.

Although my main focus was on the video clip itself, the first line of the Tweet’s introductory text also caught my eye:

This isn’t CHINA.. This is AMERICA..

In recent years our government and its subservient media have become intensely hostile towards China. As far back as January 2020, both the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration had together declared that the Chinese government was guilty of committing “genocide” against its Uighur minority of Xinjiang Province despite failing to provide any evidence that significant numbers of Uighurs had been harmed let alone killed. Our leading media organs enthusiastically endorsed and promoted that story, which merely seems to be a ridiculous propaganda-hoax.

So surely if there existed any video footage of Chinese security forces attacking a Chinese professor at a Chinese university in such a manner, the global media would have been blanketed with that story for days or weeks and it would have been featured on the front page of the New York Times. Indeed, I think that merely a credible report of such an incident would have gotten heavy media coverage, and I haven’t seen any such thing. So although that Tweeter’s accusatory comparison was certainly well-intentioned, he was probably mistaken. There’s no evidence that anything like that has happened in China in recent years, let alone on a regular basis. The JFK Assassination ... Crumpton, Matt Buy New $35.00 (as of 09:13 UTC - Details)

What then inspired those words? Obviously the proximate cause was the unrelenting wave of anti-China rhetoric and propaganda that has poured out of nearly all of our media outlets during the last few years. But I strongly suspect that a crucial factor had been the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, which for 35 years has been regularly revisited on every June 4th anniversary by our media.

In that notorious atrocity, euphemistically known within China itself as “the June Fourth Incident,” many hundreds of peaceful pro-democracy student protesters were massacred by the Chinese military, with some senior American officials even later claiming that the true death-toll was vastly larger, perhaps numbering many thousands or more. Those huge anti-government protests in Beijing had gone on for many weeks so large numbers of Western reporters and camera crews were already on the scene covering the story. This allowed them to document the events as they unfolded and their gripping photographic images and video footage were widely broadcast all across the world, becoming an indelible part of our historical memory. Who can forget the famous, tragic scene of a single, lone civilian courageously blocking an advancing column of Chinese tanks with his own body? The story of “Tank Man” became world famous, with that image often appearing in our standard textbooks.

For more than three decades, the legacy of that horrific 1989 Chinese massacre has been a weighty one, greatly coloring Western perceptions of China, even among writers who were focused on entirely different matters.

For example, two weeks ago I published an article on the origins of the Covid epidemic and my analysis discussed important books on that topic by Sen. Rand Paul, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and an independent Canadian journalist named Elaine Dewar.

All those authors strongly believed that the virus had been created in China’s Wuhan lab and then leaked out, resulting in the global epidemic that has killed perhaps thirty million people worldwide. The writers were firmly convinced of the nefarious nature of China’s government and although the leak of the virus had been accidental, China’s stubborn denial of what had happened demonstrated the notorious dishonesty of its regime.

Although 1989 was decades in the past, all those books also included mention of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of that year, in most cases several times, citing that incident as proof-positive evidence of the cruelty of China’s dictatorial government, which had slaughtered so many of its own young college students merely for peacefully seeking democratic freedom. The authors also suggested various conspiratorial plots by China’s dictatorship, and although the evidence for most of these seemed extremely thin, there was an underlying assumption that a government willing to butcher its own idealistic young students was capable of almost anything.

Back in late 2021 I’d published an earlier article that reviewed and analyzed several other books on Covid origins. These had similarly blamed the epidemic on a virus bioengineered by the Chinese, and once again they mentioned the Tiananmen Square Massacre in much the same way. Indeed, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin cited that 1989 massacre five separate times in his book, while Sharri Markson of Rupert Murdoch’s SkyNews quoted former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who suggested that up to 10,000 Chinese civilians had been killed at the time. The subsequent denial of that brutal massacre by the Chinese government merely demonstrated its total dishonesty, indicating that it could not be trusted on matters related to Covid or anything else.

Rather than fading away over time, the story of the 1989 massacre still very regularly appears in our media. When I did a quick search of the New York Times for the last five years I found more than 100 different references to the “Tiananmen Square Massacre” while a similar search of the Wall Street Journal returned 95 results. Given the enormous influence of those elite newspapers on so many other publications and journalists, I’m sure that searches of lesser outlets would return comparable totals. With that story of Tiananmen Square still appearing in the news so frequently, it’s hardly surprising that all those books and authors would have mentioned it, believing that it provided important insights into the behavior of China’s government and the Communist Party that controlled it.

Just as Auschwitz and the Holocaust have permanently branded Germany with a mark of Cain and the 1937 Rape of Nanking has similarly blackened Japan’s reputation, China will long suffer the international political consequences of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, at least while its Communist Party remains in power.

Read the Whole Article