Yu Hua definitely seems to be critiquing the way that the people responded to what the government wanted. I saw this was most evident in the writing chapter when the family created the poster to hang in their home, as well as when the one teacher was “overlooked” in the posters criticizing the educators. With both anecdotes I felt that Yu Hua was commenting on the ridiculousness responses to the posters. His family was so quick to create a poster to prove their loyalty, but then easily forgot about it and let it become trash on the floor. As for the poster about education, nobody cared about the Chinese teacher not having a poster about him until the propaganda team leader made a comment about the absence. Once this was discovered, Yu Hua made a big deal about making a poster for the Chinese teacher. Both of the responses came off as forced and very reactionary which appeared to be the point. Yu Hua may have been critiquing the way in which the people, including himself, were always eager to prove themselves as loyal, but only when the need arose. He was also very focused on the critique about China’s economic growth in comparison to the Great Leap forward. His commentary was clear that he thought China was making the same mistakes as it had in the past, which is going to continue to hurt the country if they do not come to this realization.
Most of the progress I have made in the past week has been putting my sources and information into a more defined outline. I have started connecting a lot of points and realizing where there are gaps in my research. I am working on getting some more primary sources that were cited in some of the sources I have been reading. I have not run into too many challenges this week. I am continuing to struggle with getting government sources, but that was expected and will probably not change. Things have actually become clearer about the direction of my paper in the past week. The next step is to find all the primary sources that I need. Specifically the sources with the data about how many people were victims in the massacre as well as the international media coverage of the massacre. Another step will be to find any last secondary sources that will be beneficial to my research. My third step will be to start coming up with a thesis and structure to my paper.
One of the biggest issues I am running into with this project is finding sources that are focused only on my topic. I have had this issue many times with other papers. There is usually plenty of information about a general topic, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, but I have to go digging through the sources to find more narrowed information. Ideally, I would love to find an article or book that only focuses on the government crackdown after the massacre. This issue is not as big as it has been in the past for me, but it is still something I am finding. Another issue is that many sources are in Chinese or do not officially exist due to government censorship. The censorship issue is something that I keep running into because many of the facts and figures I am interested in for my paper are either skewed or do not exist. I ran into the language issue many times for my History of France paper. Some parts were easily translated or a translated version was online, others I was unable to use because I could not find a way to translate. Another common issue is finding sources, but then having to request them through ILL. ILL usually works very well, but at times it has taken way too long to get a source or not schools have it to loan.
The primary source I chose to analyze was the June 9th, speech by Deng Xiaoping to the soldiers of the martial law units. The copy of the speech used was a text of the speech that was read allowed on June 27th 1989. In his speech, Deng discusses the response to the Tiananmen protests and the general state that China was currently in economically. The speech begins with Deng asking for a moment of silence for the members of the police force, the PLA, and security officers who were killed, injured, or participated in the “struggle”. He goes on to say that “the storm”, meaning the protests, was bound to happen and by no human fault. Deng continued to talk about how it was very difficult to distinguish those in the crowds who were simple citizens and those who were trying to start an uprising. He goes further to say that what the students were demanding were only a front for their eventual goal of toppling the communist party. Deng does admit that getting rid of corruption was a good suggestion and is something the party will continue to focus on. He praises the PLA and declared that they are an army for the people and will continue to be. The PLA will also always have the approval of the people when the next crisis arises. This is where the discussion about the massacre mostly ends. Deng then goes on to discuss the goals and achievements of China as well as questions brought up in the Eleventh CPC Central Committee and the Thirteenth Party Congress. Deng wants the future Chinese policy to be a balance of a planned economy and market economy. He discussed how the American economic and politic system is not always well liked and that the United States has no grounds for criticizing the Chinese governments handling of the situation in Beijing. He ends his speech with hope about the future of Chinese industry and growth.
It is very clear from the start of the speech that Deng did not approve of the student protests and wanted to focus on the achievements of the security forces used to stop the protests. His original audience was filled with members of the armed forces who participated in the government crackdown and eventually the speech circulated throughout China, which means that he wanted to promote faith in the PLA by the Chinese people through the use of speech that praised the PLA. In the beginning of the speech he says “They support the use of resolute action to counter the rebellion. Although some comrades may not understand this for a while, they will eventually understand this and support the decision of the Central Committee.” Deng assumes that down the road the people will recognize that the government will make the right choice. He also wanted to take the time to address the current economic state of China while continuing to promote faith in the system. He did this by discussing the successes of China as well as insulting the Americans. This source is very good for understanding the government response to the student protests and the massacre. It shows that the government tried to twist the events into an uncalled for rebellion by extremist students and the government response was completely justified. The speech brings up many good questions about the fears the government had after their crackdown in Tiananmen. They were clearly worried that there would be a large backlash after the massacre that they had to respond with a speech that praised the government actions and the actions of the PLA. This speech is great for understand the official response by the government, but it leaves it important details about what the government actually did in response to the protests. If this speech were to be used as an analysis of the Chinese population’s response then it would be very weak, however the speech is coming from a leader in the government which makes it a great source for that perspective.
Deng, Xiaoping,” June 9th speech to Martial Law Units” (speech text, Beijing, China, June 9th, 1989), tsquare, http://www.tsquare.tv/chronology/Deng.html.
This poster was created by Hong Tao in 1976. Hong Tao was a worker-peasant-soldier student at Peking Normal University. This poster was created as part of the Seven May Cadre schools. The goals of this poster was to encourage and inspire people about the movement of intellectuals and cadres into villages in order to undergo reeducation about how to farm and be part of production. You can see in the poster who appears to be part of the intellectuals sent down, and those who are now teaching these intellectuals. The main in the grey shirt appears to be asking a question to the man in the brown shirt, who is happy to answer. The man in the grey shirt appears much older than most of the people there, as does the man in the blue and pink shirt. This was probably done purposely in order to demonstrate that no matter what age, anybody could go back to the villages and learn the skills of agriculture. Both of these men are also hold books or paper of some sort which could be used to show their intent to learn or just to signify that they are not usually part of this scene. The environment chosen for this poster is very interesting as well. The poster shows all the workers in a picturesque field. This poster is putting the intellectuals and cadres directly into the work, which is different from many of the posters in this category which show the intellectuals preparing to go to the villages or currently marching up to the villages. the artist probably decided to draw the people actively working because it would be encouraging to those preparing to depart for the villages. The title of the piece is called ” The University takes care of our mountain village” which is probably implying that those standing around the brown shirted man are members of a University. This title implies that those currently in the village went voluntarily in order to support the village and its members.
Hong Tao. 1976. The University Takes Care of Our Mountain Village. Poster. Landsberger collection.
I have been playing around with the idea to do my research on some aspect of the Tiananmen square massacre. As I was researching some background on the massacre I found article titled “Witnessing the Aftermath of China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre”. The article is Q&A with Carroll Bogert who was a reporter for Newsweek in 1989. She was in China covering the protests when the massacre occurred. The article addresses what occurred in the days after the massacre and how it shaped China. I would like to continue my research on the aftermath of the massacre. I am hoping to look at the aftermath from the citizens perspective as the government continued to crack down on protesters and criticism. I will probably use this article as one of sources.
One of the dynamics that I saw reoccurring in the film was hope. Even though each individual in the film had their own goals and motivations, what kept many of them driven was that the future could bring a better life. Wang Xiaolei continued to pursue a career as a rapper despite a very rough upbringing and little money. Wei Zhanyan hoped to find love and build herself a life that could allow her to support a family. Her family dealt with many challenges which Wei Zhanyan had to overcome. Lu Dong was searching for something to fill a void in his life, and he eventually found religion to assist him. He was driven by hope that he could find another motivation for himself that would help give his life purpose. It seems that hope is a common motivation because growing up in China can be very harsh, and many do not get great opportunities while growing up. It raises the questions about what will change in the quality of life for the Chinese in the coming years.
Poverty is another dynamic that occurred often in the film. Most of the stories were focused on the lack of wealth that many people had. Even with the stories that poverty did not directly affect the main character, it was still prevalent in their testimonies. Such as Zhang Jingjing who was the public interest lawyer. She worked with the poor farming community who was dealing with pollution from a coal company. Zhang Yao was the doctor who was very passionate about helping others. He saw people everyday who could not offered health care or whose families would be left with a large amount of debt if the proper care was pursued. Poverty seemed to limit many people in the film and in China as a whole. Similar to hope, the poverty dynamic brings up many questions about how life in China will change to better the living situation.
My name is Anna and I am history major with a security and conflict studies minor. I am from Philadelphia, which is one of the photos above. I am a huge hockey fan in general, but I played lacrosse throughout highschool and part of college. My favorite movie are “Miracle” and the Star Wars movies.
“Broad St., North from Walnut, Philadelphia, Pa.,” Flickr – Photo Sharing!, accessed January 13, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/library-company-of-philadelphia/9415584315/.
“Image from Page 38 of ‘Bulletin of the State Normal School, Fredericksburg, Virginia, June, 1915’ (1915),” Flickr – Photo Sharing!, accessed January 13, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14783951795/.
“Hockey Game in Pincher Creek,” Flickr – Photo Sharing!, accessed January 13, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/alberta_archives/21703546520/.