Communist General Reveals China’s 38th Army Refused to March on Tiananmen Square

April 28, 2009 7:11 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 9:51 pm
A student wounded by a bullet on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. (NTDTV)
A student wounded by a bullet on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. (NTDTV)

According to an article published in the March issue of Open Magazine, at a public speech in Yunnan province, General Liu Yazhou [1] said that 38th Army Commander Xu Qianxian had refused to follow orders to lead his troops into Beijing on the eve of the June Fourth Tianamen Square Massacre.

Liu said that General Xu was a real military talent and related some of his experiences with General Xu during a military exercise. “He was sitting in a relaxed attitude, or lying in a tent when he was commanding his troops in good order.  That is, he is able to direct and determine the outcome of a battle which may be thousands of miles away.”

During the June Fourth Movement, the Commander of Beijing Military Area Command Zhou Yibing met General Xu personally and requested him to lead his troops into Beijing. General Xu asked Zhou whether he had orders from the Military Commission of the Central Committee. Zhou answered “Yes.”

Then Xu asked again whether Zhou had orders from Deng Xiaoping. Zhou again answered “Yes.” Xu asked whether Zhou had orders from Yang Shangkun, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. Zhou answered “Yes.” Then Xu asked whether Zhou had orders from Zhao Ziyang, first vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. This time Zhou answered “No.”

General Xu then said I cannot follow the orders. (Note: Zhao Ziyang was ousted from power on the afternoon of the proclamation of martial law. General Xu knew well the answer to the question asked.) Zhou then hurled his accusation in Xu’s face, “Your wife is a judge. Your two sons are protesting in the Tiananmen Square! I know it.”

Liu said the 38th Army sympathized with the student demonstrators and so did the 28th Army because they were stationed in Beijing.

The 28th Army was marching into Tiananmen Square on the morning of June 4, 1989. Protesters and many citizens of Beijing constructed roadblocks to stop the military’s progress. On the way to Tiananmen Square, army commander He Yanran looked around and said, “Everywhere there is a green curtain of tall crops.”  That means the PLA was regarded as Japanese enemies and the people were as many as tall crops. The political commissar replied to him, “One hundred thousand youths stand for one hundred thousand soldiers.” Vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, Liu Huaqing requested Air Force Commander Wang Hai to send a helicopter to shout propaganda to the 28th Army such as “Move forward! Move forward regardless of anything!” But the army commander had no ear for this order.

[1] Liu Yazhou had been director of political department of Beijing military region and political commissar of Chengdu military region. In December, 2003 he was appointed as vice political commissar of the Air Force of the People’s Library Army (PLA). He is also a lieutenant general. As son-in-law of former President Li Xiannian, he is regarded as one member of the Crown Prince Party although it is generally believed that he is different from other members.

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