The Tiananmen Papers

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The Communist Party account of the Tiananmen Square massacre that’s been smuggled out of China and published in America this month has been called the Chinese Pentagon Papers. Hundreds of documents and transcripts are a record of the government’s cover-up and deception over the deaths of student protestors, but they show a divided Chinese leadership and even suggest an alternate end to the story.

The Politburo was split two to two over whether to use force to end the demonstrations. Had Deng Xiaoping and other powerful retired party elders not broken the deadlock, moderates might have prevailed and inspired political reform. An anonymous Chinese Communist Party official says he gave the documents to American scholars to stimulate a reassessment inside China on Tiananmen where it’s still called a criminal uprising.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Perry Link, Professor of East Asian Stuies at Princeton and editor of the Tiananmen Papers

Jonathon Spence, Professor of Chinese History at Yale

Eric Eckholm, Bureau Chief for the New York Times in Bejing

Li Lu, a student protestor from Tiananmen

Dai Ching, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Dissident from Bejing

and Ross Terrill, Professor at the University of Texas, Austin