June 20, 1989 Deng’s Purge Seeks to Split Workers From StudentsBy James Ridgeway AS THE SHADOW of fear spreads across China, the outlines of a purge that could last as long as five years have begun to emerge. In city after city, the authorities are rounding up “scoundrels” and “bad elements” to be dealt with by “the iron hand of the people” — the name given the anonymous plain-clothesmen now making nightly visits throughout the country. In its first hours, the purge hit hardest at the workers and “unionists” who had defended the prodemocracy movement in the streets. These were the “bad elements” who, in China newspeak, “agitate” the still “patriotic” students into “hooliganism.” The police have been given orders to shoot on sight, and in Shanghai three people have been executed (they originally were arrested for bank robbery, but authorities later linked them to student uprisings as well). By Monday night, upwards of 700 had been arrested. The prospects for an ongoing underground resistance are slight. Given the long tradition of purges in China’s history and the Communist Party’s continuing pervasive political control, grassroots movements find little nourishment in the world’s most populous country. Ever since the Democracy Wall… Read full this story
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