Tiananmen crackdown was necessary

Students and people gathered at Tiananmen Square as part of a protest in Beijing, on May 14, 1989.
Students and people gathered at Tiananmen Square as part of a protest in Beijing, on May 14, 1989.PHOTO: AFP

I do not think that the crackdown in Tiananmen Square requires closure, judging by China's rapid progress in achieving prosperity and better living standards for its 1.4 billion people (Tiananmen: Lack of honest accounting has its costs, June 9).

Considering the long list of rebellions, uprisings, dynasty changes and civil wars in China's history, the ghost of Tiananmen Square can rest in peace.

When 20 armoured personnel carriers were burned by demonstrators during clashes with soldiers near Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, it was a rebellious riot against the government, and crackdown was necessary.

If the Tiananmen incident was allowed to fester, it could have developed into another Boxer Rebellion in China. The government decided to nip the unrest in the bud.

It is also false to say that there is a cover-up of the incident in China.

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe, at the Shangri-La Dialogue earlier this month, said: "Throughout the 30 years, China under the Communist Party has undergone many changes - do you think the government was wrong with the handling of June Fourth? There was a conclusion to that incident. The government was decisive in stopping the turbulence."

In doing so, he categorically acknowledged and defended the government's actions - that the political turmoil had to stop so that China could focus on rebooting its economic and industrial development.

Over the last 30 years, China has enjoyed stability and tremendous development. The country has become the world's second-largest economy, with modern facilities and higher standards of living.

The Tiananmen incident was just one of many incidents in Chinese history, and a turning point for national rejuvenation.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Tiananmen crackdown was necessary'. Print Edition | Subscribe