Paul de Vries: A New Day Has Dawned for Global Liberty

Thirty years ago, a brilliant new day dawned for liberty.  As with every 24-hour day, the new Day of Liberty began in eastern Asia, and then swept into eastern Europe and then to the rest of the world.  The 1989 Day of Liberty dawned with the awakening of transformative visions and hopes – creatively and profoundly expressed by many thousands of Chinese university students and other Chinese citizens at the giant Tiananmen Square at the center China’s capital city Beijing.  This magnificent “dawning” for liberty extended over 50 amazing days. 

Protests began on April 15, the day a former Chinese Communist Party General Secretary and reformer Hu Yaobang died at age 73.  Because of his years of courage and articulate defenses of more democracy, human-rights, free-market economics, and personal liberty, many considered Mr. Hu’s death suspicious.  After all, Mr. Hu had been forced to resign as General Secretary just two years earlier because of other party leaders’ fears of Mr. Hu’s ideas – fears that the Chinese people would be dangerously empowered.  Specifically, Mr. Hu was deemed too lenient with student protesters two years before, in 1987.  When Mr. Hu was coerced to resign at that time, he was also compelled to make a humiliating, public “self-criticism” of his “mistakes.”

Mr. Hu was therefore all the more honored among the many Chinese citizens desiring real protections for human-rights and personal liberties.  However, to try to restrict Mr. Hu’s influence even at his death, the government minimized his funeral.  Nevertheless, the public mourners lined up for ten miles to honor him!

The protests in Tiananmen Square began on April 15 explicitly to honor Hu Yaobang and his human-rights ideas, to protest his suspicious death, and to urge a more appropriate celebration of his life and democratic values.  Moreover, the protests then continued in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere in China for the next 50 days – with thought-filled and creative efforts to open up a new and effective dialog with the national leaders – in order to strengthen human-rights, democracy, and liberty.  On some of those days, there were protests in up to 200 Chinese cities.

What were the outcomes of these courageous protests?  For all freedom-lovers in the world, there were 50 days of profound admiration for the Chinese protestors and their message – along with grateful relief that the otherwise oppressive Chinese government was tolerating such dramatic and powerful free expression.  Tragically, that grateful relief was short-lived when on June 4 and 5, the so-called “People’s Liberation Army” (PLA) moved in and brutally massacred thousands of the courageous Chinese protestors.

Much of the world mourned this tragic loss of life, this silencing of brilliant voices for liberty.  Not surprisingly, there was also praise for the Chinese tyrants and the PLA – primarily from eastern European communist dictators.  In Romania, for example, the Stalinist-type tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu publicly praised the Chinese military action.  In appreciation, China sent a special emissary to honor Ceausescu at the Romanian Communist Party Congress in August 1989.  I had personally served as an underground missionary in Romania just three years before.  Therefore, I knew first-hand Ceausescu’s government’s evil oppression of his people, especially the Romanian citizens who were Christians.  When I read what Ceausescu said, my whole being deeply revolted at his nauseating praise of the Chinese tyrants and their tragic Tiananmen Square massacre.

Other eastern European communist tyrants also praised the Chinese tyrannical violence against the many human-rights-affirming protestors.  The East German communist parliament even unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Chinese Government’s violent suppression of protest, and sent a “good will” delegation of its top officials to Beijing to personally reaffirm their mutual tyrannical support against human-rights.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Paul de Vries