REMEMBERING TIANANMEN SQUARE AND THE PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS
The immediate trigger for the 1989 protests at Tiananmen Square was the unexpected death of Hu Yaobang, Party General Secretary and former revolutionary leader. Hu Yaobang had long supported an easing of the tight controls that constricted many freedoms in China, and supported the free expression of political, philosophical, and intellectual thought. He was also a strong advocate of the right of students to gather and to demonstrate peacefully in public spaces. His death on April 15th 1989 generated protests throughout China against the regime of Deng Xiaoping. These protests were actively supported by both officials and by workers – often in the tens of thousands – in many provinces. But they did not all prove to be peaceful. One of the essays describes how the student protests in the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province soon after Hu Yaobang’s death in April resulted in clashes with police in which a number of student protesters were killed.  The violence exercised by the police in the Xi’an protests was but a prelude to what was soon after to erupt at the hands of the Chinese military in Tiananmen Square.
By the morning of June 5th, the army had complete control of Beijing. Troops used bulldozers to push bodies into heaps, doused them in petrol, and then burned them up. According to Peter Everett, most of the students killed did not die in the actual assault on Tiananmen Square, but were systematically rounded up by the military and killed in the weeks following June 4th. Many were forcibly removed from their parents’ houses, taken elsewhere, and executed. The parents received notices that their children had been “shot while trying to escape” or that they “fell down the stairs.”
“The four fundamental attributes of the Creative are likewise the attributes necessary to a leader and ruler of men. In order to rule and lead men, the first essential is to have humane feeling toward them. Without humaneness, nothing lasting can be accomplished in the sphere of authority. Power that influences through fear works only for the moment and necessarily arouses resistance as a counter-effect.On the basis of this conception, it follows that the mores are the instrument by which men can be brought into union. For nothing binds people more firmly together than deeply rooted social usages that are observed because they appear to each member of society as something beautiful and worth striving for. . .Furthermore, as the foundation of social life there must be the greatest possible freedom and the greatest possible advantage for all. These are guaranteed by justice, which curtails individual freedom no more than is absolutely necessary for the general welfare. Finally, to reach the desired goals, there is the fourth requisite of wisdom, manifesting itself by pointing out the established and enduring paths that, according to immutable cosmic laws, must lead to success.” 
The principles of just government were recognised in China even before the birth of Jesus and will hopefully be meaningfully recovered in the uncertain future that awaits us all. However, it would appear that we either learn very slowly or that the very nature of power and its exercise has an irremediably corrosive effect on human nature.