CHINA’S defence minister has defended the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square in which thousands died as the “correct the policy”.
Wei Fenghe said the decision to send troops into the central Beijing square in the early hours of June 4, 1989 "was decisive in stopping the turbulence”.
Weeks of protests the Chinese capital saw hundreds of thousands of protesters – mainly idealistic young students – demanding more democracy in the Communist ruled country.
But despite the world-wide condemnation of the massacre, Wei justified the brutal crackdown, in what was a rare official mention of the events.
"How can we say that China didn't handle that Tiananmen incident appropriately?,” said Wei.
“There is a conclusion of that incident, that incident was political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence, which is a correct policy.”
Wei was asked about Tiananmen after making a speech in Singapore.
He echoed the official position which emphasises the rapid development of China and the raising of ordinary citizen’s living standards in the years after the massacre.
"The past 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes," he said.
Due to the government's action at that time "China has enjoyed stability and development".
Since the massacre, China has sought to avoid discussion about what happened.
What happened at Tiananmen Square?
Tanks began moving into position late on June 3 and troops opened fire, killing and injuring many unarmed people in and around the square.
It is generally estimated thousands died and as many as 10,000 were arrested for their part in the demonstrations, with several dozen executed.
The events leading up to the massacre began in April when pro-reform, popular Communist leader Hu Yaobang died.
Thousands of mourning students marched to Tiananmen Square, calling for a more democratic government.
Then in May some began a hunger strike and their numbers swelled, capturing the world’s attention while Communism began to collapse elsewhere.
One rally attracted 1.2 million people but the Chinese government was determined to stay in power.
After the massacre, an image of a man carrying a bag blocking the path of a tank has become the defining image of the democracy movement in China.
Textbooks don't mention the events of and there are no photos or stories of about what happened on June 4 on China's heavily-censored internet.
Tiananmen massacre survivor Dong Shengkun told CNN about what he saw that night.
"I saw a few students were trying to climb over the fence and evacuate from the square, and a tank went straight there and crushed them to death," he said.
Fellow survivor Zhang Maoshang said he refuses to tell his two young daughters things about Tiananmen "that can only bring them trouble".
"The society we live in is not open or safe enough, and I want them to be able to grow up without fear or worries," he said.
China's widely read state owned Global Times paper said in a Monday editorial on the website of its English-language edition that June 4 had "immunised China against turmoil".
"Merely afflicting China once, the incident has not become a long-term nightmare for the country," said the paper.
"It has become a faded historical event, rather than an actual entanglement
"However, all these noises will have no real impact on Chinese society. The actions of the external forces are completely in vain."
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