Chen Yizi, former private councilor for former Chinese president Zhao Ziyang and former head of the PRC (People's Republic of China) State Council's Department of Economic System Reform, was interviewed by Radio Free Asia in Los Angeles. During the interview, he analyzed the impact and damage caused by natural and man-made calamities such as the Sichuan Wenchuan Earthquake May 12 and the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. He went on to provide a deep insight into the good and evil that exists in modern Chinese society. In addition, next June, Chen will broadcast the impending presentation of a grand documentary entitled “The Shock of History” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the June 4th massacre.
Since Zhao Ziyang's death, this is Chen's first appearance in a pro-democracy activity and a gathering of human rights groups.
Chen said, “I've been ill for over a decade, suffering from lymphoma, and problems with my limbs. Furthermore, the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution in 1967 left over a dozen gaping wounds and bruises on my body. It's indeed a miracle I ever survived.”
Despite his physical suffering, when Chen talks about the June 4th documentary to be released next year his perseverance and integrity having to do with the restoration of historical facts still show through.
Chen said, “It's been 19 years since the June 4th Incident. Yet people with conscience and justice will never forget this historical tragedy. Since 2006, I have been in contact with various elders between the ages of 50 and 60 from large cities such as Guangdong, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Xian. They are eager to learn all the details surrounding the Tiananmen Square Massacre, since now they only have fragmentary knowledge of what happened. Some documentaries were available, but failed to tell the whole story. Meanwhile, I've also contacted some graduate students between the ages of 30 and 40. They were still in disbelief about what happened on June 4th, 1989 saying, 'How could the government kill students? How could soldiers drive tanks to crush students?' They just couldn't understand it.”
Chen added, “Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the June 4th Incident. Several friends of mine and I feel obliged to expose the facts. What should we do on the 30th and 40th anniversaries? Will what we do also be covered up as an “anti-rightist campaign” or a Cultural Revolution? Therefore, we decided to film a grand documentary, entitled 'The Shock of History: Recording of Tiananmen Square Incident'.”
Chen also hopes this documentary will help maintain social values that have been ignored or even suppressed by state authorities.
Chen explained, “The purpose of filming this documentary is to preserve historic facts, sum up the lessons that history has taught us, and to look toward China's future. I hope this documentary can be released to the public no later than June 4th, 2009. When the world commemorates the 30th or 40th anniversary of the June 4th Incident, we may be absent, but we still hope our future generations will be well informed of our past history. If China really wants to be a genuine superpower in the modern world, democracy, apart from the global market economy, is also needed.”
From commemoration of the June 4th Incident to the May 12th earthquake, Chen has observed kindness and ugliness in Chinese society brought about by these calamities.
Chen elaborated, “People give unconditional support to the quake-stricken victims, regardless of race, nationality, or political party. The glory of human nature can be seen. We also witnessed the same glory during the Tiananmen Square incident 19 years ago. When Beijing was surrounded by 300,000 soldiers of the Chinese army, millions of adults in Beijing took to the streets. When seeing a large number of people in front of them being shot to death, large throngs of demonstrators moved backward. When the shooting stopped, the crowds moved forward. That was a really touching scene. Yet the most awful ruthlessness and malevolence of human nature was also displayed— to satisfy their own personal interests, Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng slaughtered young students and citizens who were standing up for democracy and freedom, against corruption and the abuse of power and privilege. In modern China, Deng Xiaoping is being viewed as a deity, while Hu Yaobang is being dwarfed and Zhao Ziyang belittled. History is distorted.”