Tiananmen Papers

Tiananmen Papers

The Tiananmen Papers are presented as the formerly secret Chinese official documents relating to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. They were reportedly copied from computer disks and, following editing and translation work by Andrew Nathan, Perry Link, and Orville Schell, the work was published on January 8 2001. In April of that year, the Chinese version was published as June Fourth: The True Story (中國「六四」真相). The compilation of The Tiananmen Papers is attributed to an individual using the pseudonym "Zhang Liang", leading to speculation about the authorship and motivation behind the work.

The Tiananmen Papers provide a detailed account of the power struggles within the Communist Party of China and the party's struggle to manage the protests. According to the Papers, Deng Xiaoping was largely responsible for the critical decisions surrounding the handling of the Tiananmen Square protests. Premier Li Peng is ascribed a secondary role in the government's decision to clear the Square by force. He is depicted as convincing Deng that the students have created "turmoil" and have begun "networking" (terms often used to describe student behavior in the Cultural Revolution). President Yang Shangkun is portrayed as a moderate who attempted to support General Secretary Zhao Ziyang and avoid confrontation, until Deng's decision to dismiss Zhao was clear.

Some readers have pointed to sections of the Papers which they believe are plagiarized or fabricated. Other readers have complained that expressions found in the Chinese documents are uncommon in Mainland dialogue. For these reasons, the authenticity of the work has been questioned.

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