Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Tiananmen film targets young cadres


China has ordered officials to watch a new documentary on the Tiananmen Square demonstrations to persuade younger cadres that the 1989 army crackdown could not be avoided, government sources said yesterday.

The four-hour documentary has been shown to people holding ranks of ministry department director or higher since March in order to change the minds of a new generation of government officials who may disagree with the government line on the massacre.

"Young cadres need to watch it because many think the crackdown was unnecessary," said one government source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The message: The disturbance turned into a rebellion ... and there was no choice but to crush the demonstrations," said the source, who saw the documentary. Another government source said officials were recently shown a Tiananmen film.

The documentary, twice as long as one aired to officials not long after the 1989 crackdown, blamed former Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang (趙紫陽) for confronting then-paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平).

"The narrator said the party had two headquarters then. Zhao Ziyang was behind one. [Former premier] Li Peng (李鵬) was behind the other, which had the backing of Deng Xiaoping," the first source said.

Deng eventually sacked Zhao as party chief. Deng died in 1997. Zhao, now 84, has lived under house arrest ever since.

China bans public commemoration of the anniversary of the crackdown, fearing it may spark protests against high unemployment, heavy taxes on farmers and a widening gap between rich and poor.

In the run-up to this year's anniversary, authorities have put top dissidents under house arrest or taken them outside Beijing, the activists and human rights groups say.

Li Peng, dubbed the "Butcher of Beijing" by critics after he declared martial law on state television, tried to publish his memoirs in retirement, apparently to clear his name, the Hong Kong-based magazine Yazhou Zhoukan said.

The current leadership in Beijing blocked Li's plan as too politically sensitive, the weekly said.

Also see story:

China reacts angrily to US resolution on Tiananmen

Editorial: China: New words, same actions

Tiananmen was not a defeat, but a victory

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