Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tiananmen: Open Letter from some PLA Officers to the Central Military Commission

The following is an extract from a letter written by some Peoples Liberation Army Officers. The content of this letter was broadcast by the protestors at Tiananmen Square on 18 May 1989. This was reported in Zhongguo Tongxun She, Hong Kong.

1. We absolutely cannot suppress the students and the masses by armed force. We must teach the whole body of PLA officers and men to love the people and protect them; to carry forward the people’s army’s glorious tradition of identity of army and people; and to strictly follow Central Military Commission First Vice-Chairman Comrade Zhao Ziyang’s demand for reason, calm, restraint, and order in properly handling our relations with the masses. Under no circumstances may we act like family members drawing swords on each other, which would give joy to our enemies.

2. As quickly as possible, urge the government and the student representatives to hold a public and fair dialogue. The lives of the hunger-striking students in Tiananmen Square are in danger and we hope you will be able to persuade the government leadership to go among the students and accept their reasonable demands to attain genuine stability and unity.


Donaldson Tan said...

A reminder of the dilemma for citizens working in enforcement agencies who are supposed to carry out the orders of the higher-ups.

Subra said...

it is a difficult position to be in. You are legally bound to obey orders. But, do you take orders from your superiors or from your conscience? Maybe, the choice might be clearer when the direct order is to kill an innocent child. It seems morally easier to disobey the order.
But, if you are told to arrest an innocent man on trumped up charges, the law enforcement officer's job becomes considerably more difficult. Should he obey a lawful command? Should he refuse to arrest because his conscience tells him it is wrong?
It is easy for me to assume from the comfort of my position to claim that I would act according to my conscience. But, how many of us would really have the courage to stand up to authority when it comes to the crunch. That is the litmus test.