The Tiananmen Papers by Orville Schell

The Tiananmen Papers by Orville Schell
The Tiananmen Papers by Orville Schell The Tiananmen Papers by Orville Schell (click images to enlarge)

The Tiananmen Papers by Orville Schell

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Description of The Tiananmen Papers from Orville Schell

On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. In this extraordinary collection of hundreds of internal government and Communist Party documents, secretly smuggled out of China, we learn how these events came to pass from behind the scenes. The material reveals how the most important decisions were made; and how the turmoil split the ruling elite into radically opposed factions. The book includes the minutes of the crucial meetings at which the Elders decided to cashier the pro-reform Party secretary Zhao Ziyang and to replace him with Jiang Zemin, to declare martial law, and finally to send the troops to drive the students from the Square.

Just as the Pentagon Papers laid bare the secret American decision making behind the Vietnam War and changed forever our view of the nation's political leaders, so too has The Tiananmen Papers altered our perception of how and why the events of June 4 took the shape they did. Its publication has proven to be a landmark event in Chinese and world history.



Published to predictable international controversy, this sensational trove of documents, chronicling events leading up to, and following, the violent quashing of student protests in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, vividly details for the first time what previously had only been surmised. Zhang Liang, the pseudonym for the high-ranking Chinese official who leaked the documents, has revived the memory less to tell the truth than in a bid to advance political reform in China, which stalled as a result of Tiananmen Square. In that sense, the book is as much about hidden struggles now as it is about those in 1989. The Chinese government, unsurprisingly, has condemned it as "fabrication," and while a post-Hitler Diariesworld is cautious, with experts admitting they cannot guarantee authenticity "with absolute authority," the feeling is that the records are largely credible.

What they reveal is the paranoia that gripped the Chinese rulers when the death of Hu Yaobang sparked public demonstrations that showed no signs of abating. The biggest villain appears to be former Premier Li Peng, the so-called "Butcher of Beijing," who conspires to bring about an aggressive end to the "turmoil." Yet it's Deng Xiaoping, who, although officially long retired, still wields the most power, as he and his fellow Elders intervene to enforce martial law. The moderate Zhao Ziyang favors negotiation and dialogue, but as a consequence is crushed and replaced by Jiang Zemin, the present leader, plucked from obscurity and appointed in defiance of procedure. The gripping scenario that unfolds, in compulsive detail, is akin to parents bickering over the best way to control unruly children, with carrot or stick.

Preceding a much longer Chinese edition, the American editors, Andrew J. Nathan and Perry Link, have performed their duties with acuity and flair, providing a lucid commentary to link the whistle-blowing government papers, minutes of meetings, speeches, eyewitness accounts, poster text, and foreign observations. The Tiananmen Papers affords a wide audience the opportunity to watch the drama unfold, blow by blow. It proves as brilliantly enthralling and explosive as a fictional thriller, allowing a rare snapshot of Chinese Communist Party factionalism in action. --David Vincent, Amazon.co.uk

On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. In this extraordinary collection of hundreds of internal government and Communist Party documents, secretly smuggled out of China, we learn how these events came to pass from behind the scenes. The material reveals how the most important decisions were made; and how the turmoil split the ruling elite into radically opposed factions. The book includes the minutes of the crucial meetings at which the Elders decided to cashier the pro-reform Party secretary Zhao Ziyang and to replace him with Jiang Zemin, to declare martial law, and finally to send the troops to drive the students from the Square.

Just as the Pentagon Papers laid bare the secret American decision making behind the Vietnam War and changed forever our view of the nation's political leaders, so too has The Tiananmen Papers altered our perception of how and why the events of June 4 took the shape they did. Its publication has proven to be a landmark event in Chinese and world history.

Manufacturer Description

On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. In this extraordinary collection of hundreds of internal government and Communist Party documents, secretly smuggled out of China, we learn how these events came to pass from behind the scenes. The material reveals how the most important decisions were made; and how the turmoil split the ruling elite into radically opposed factions. The book includes the minutes of the crucial meetings at which the Elders decided to cashier the pro-reform Party secretary Zhao Ziyang and to replace him with Jiang Zemin, to declare martial law, and finally to send the troops to drive the students from the Square.

Just as the Pentagon Papers laid bare the secret American decision making behind the Vietnam War and changed forever our view of the nation's political leaders, so too has The Tiananmen Papers altered our perception of how and why the events of June 4 took the shape they did. Its publication has proven to be a landmark event in Chinese and world history.



Published to predictable international controversy, this sensational trove of documents, chronicling events leading up to, and following, the violent quashing of student protests in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, vividly details for the first time what previously had only been surmised. Zhang Liang, the pseudonym for the high-ranking Chinese official who leaked the documents, has revived the memory less to tell the truth than in a bid to advance political reform in China, which stalled as a result of Tiananmen Square. In that sense, the book is as much about hidden struggles now as it is about those in 1989. The Chinese government, unsurprisingly, has condemned it as "fabrication," and while a post-Hitler Diariesworld is cautious, with experts admitting they cannot guarantee authenticity "with absolute authority," the feeling is that the records are largely credible.

What they reveal is the paranoia that gripped the Chinese rulers when the death of Hu Yaobang sparked public demonstrations that showed no signs of abating. The biggest villain appears to be former Premier Li Peng, the so-called "Butcher of Beijing," who conspires to bring about an aggressive end to the "turmoil." Yet it's Deng Xiaoping, who, although officially long retired, still wields the most power, as he and his fellow Elders intervene to enforce martial law. The moderate Zhao Ziyang favors negotiation and dialogue, but as a consequence is crushed and replaced by Jiang Zemin, the present leader, plucked from obscurity and appointed in defiance of procedure. The gripping scenario that unfolds, in compulsive detail, is akin to parents bickering over the best way to control unruly children, with carrot or stick.

Preceding a much longer Chinese edition, the American editors, Andrew J. Nathan and Perry Link, have performed their duties with acuity and flair, providing a lucid commentary to link the whistle-blowing government papers, minutes of meetings, speeches, eyewitness accounts, poster text, and foreign observations. The Tiananmen Papers affords a wide audience the opportunity to watch the drama unfold, blow by blow. It proves as brilliantly enthralling and explosive as a fictional thriller, allowing a rare snapshot of Chinese Communist Party factionalism in action. --David Vincent, Amazon.co.uk

On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese troops violently crushed the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the history of the communist regime. In this extraordinary collection of hundreds of internal government and Communist Party documents, secretly smuggled out of China, we learn how these events came to pass from behind the scenes. The material reveals how the most important decisions were made; and how the turmoil split the ruling elite into radically opposed factions. The book includes the minutes of the crucial meetings at which the Elders decided to cashier the pro-reform Party secretary Zhao Ziyang and to replace him with Jiang Zemin, to declare martial law, and finally to send the troops to drive the students from the Square.

Just as the Pentagon Papers laid bare the secret American decision making behind the Vietnam War and changed forever our view of the nation's political leaders, so too has The Tiananmen Papers altered our perception of how and why the events of June 4 took the shape they did. Its publication has proven to be a landmark event in Chinese and world history.



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