China’s Global Times newspaper on Monday argued that the Tiananmen Square massacre “immunized” the country against any future political turmoil,” defending the mass murder on its 30th anniversary.
In an editorial entitled “June 4 immunized China against turmoil” in the English-language state propaganda outlet Global Times, the writers describe the massacre as “vaccination for Chinese society” that will “greatly increase China’s immunity against any major political turmoil in the future.”
“Since the incident, China has successfully become the world’s second largest economy, with rapid improvement of people’s living standards. The policy of avoiding arguing has served as a contributor to the country’s economic take-off,” the editorial declares. “Today’s China obviously has no political conditions to suddenly reproduce the riot of 30 years ago. Chinese society, including its intellectual elite, is now far more mature than it was in 1989.”
The editorial goes on to argue that “certain forces outside the Chinese mainland” weaponize the incident to “stir up public opinion and attack China,” including the United States.
“Western politicians’ discussions of the incident are mainly influenced by their countries’ relations with China,” it continues. “Due to the deterioration of China-US ties, US officials have launched fierce attacks against China that have focused on the incident since last year. But Chinese people are clear that those officials are not genuinely concerned about Chinese human rights, but are making use of the incident as a diplomatic tool to challenge China.”
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement expressing “deep sorrow to the families still grieving their lost loved ones” at the hands of Chinese tanks, noting that the number of deaths still remains unknown.
“Over the decades that followed, the United States hoped that China’s integration into the international system would lead to a more open, tolerant society,” Pompeo wrote. “Those hopes have been dashed. China’s one-party state tolerates no dissent and abuses human rights whenever it serves its interests.”
The Global Times joined China’s Defense Minister, General Wei Fenghe, in defending the event. Wei told an audience in Singapore that critics should visit China to “better understand” why authorities carried out the massacre.
“That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy,” he said in response to a question about the anniversary of the massacre. “The 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes China has enjoyed stability and development.”