Thursday, 4 June 2009

Tiananmen: Kate Adie takes on the CCCP

Excellent programme on the 20th anniversary of the 4 June mssacre last night on the BBC, presented by Katie Adie. iPlayer link here. Some observations:

1. It was a reminder how good a presenter and reporter Adie is. So why is she never allowed on our screens any more? Is she too posh? Too morally serious?

2. Re her moral seriousness: it was a jolt how Adie un-relativist Adie was. There was no attempt to show 'balance' - save an honest account of a soldier being beaten by an angry crowd (hardly surprising behaviour). On the contrary, Adie told us - showed us - what a barbarity this was, and importantly, how effectively nothing in the security system has changed in China. People are still being harrassed, followed, kept under house arrest, kept in prison, twenty years on. And admirably, Adie made no effort to hide her disgust.

3. The extent of the massacre, as explained by Adie, was deeply shocking. People inside their houses were killed by the Army's high velocity bullets. Firing was indiscriminate. Tanks crushed people's skulls. Adie told how she followed some people to a local children's hospital, where there was not only blood on the floor - there was so much that she and the crew were literally wading in it.

4. The bravery of ordinary Beijingers was incredible. People who had seen the Army mow people down with submachine guns took their place - 'eyeballing' the soldiers as Adie reported.

5. One of the theories of the neo-cons, as I understood it, was that a pluralist democracy would follow the stablishment of market capitalism as night follows day. China shows this to be wrong. It is, to pretty much all extents and purposes, a capitalist, market-driven economy now. But the party shows absolutely no sign of loosening its iron grip on power.

Nothing substantive has changed in the mindset of China's elite since Tiananmen. It's a vile regime. And those in the West who proffer support to that leadership, such as the useful idiots in the Hands off China campaign, or Seamus Milne, are wankers.


Ace Starburst said...

I once went to the Waterstones in Leadenhall market, but couldn't get in as people were queuing round the block to get books signed by some motorbike racer (Fogarty is it ?).

Anyway, went back a week later and it was much quieter, and the signing celeb was ?
Kate Adie (great lady).

She was sat there behind a desk, pen ready, but absolutely no takers - I felt so sorry for her.

Jonny Mac said...

So did you buy a copy to cheer her up?

Ace Starburst said...

No, I was tempted but it was about £25, and a hardback. I don't buy hardbacks on general principle.