This is what the Japan Time, certainly not a CPC-sympathetic outlet, wrote on the 25th anniversary of the facts of Tienanmen Square:

What really happened at Tiananmen?

japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/

"Yes, there was something close to a massacre in those streets, with some of the units originally sent to clear the square of students turning their guns wildly on the crowds that had tried to block their approach. And to find out why the soldiers did such an atrocious thing we do not have to look much beyond those widely publicized photos of military buses in rows being set on fire by those protesting crowds."

Segui

"To date the world seems to have assumed that those buses were fired by the crowds after the soldiers had started shooting. In fact it was the reverse - that the crowds attacked the buses as they entered Beijing, incinerating dozens of soldiers inside, and only then did the shooting begin. Here too we do need not go far to find the evidence - in the not publicized photos of soldiers with horrible burns seeking shelter in nearby houses, and reports of charred corpses being strung from overpasses"

"[...] But by this time the crowds around the square were both large and ominous. The embassy reports note that the regime’s first move was to send in unarmed troops using the subways and easily blocked by the crowds. Armed troops were then sent in with the results we know. But even then only some of the units went berserk (soldiers tend to go that way when some of the comrades are barbecued [...]). Other units tried to restrain them. And the action was outside, not inside, the square."

"So whence the machine-gun massacre claim? Here too we do not have to look far — to a story a week later in a pro-British, English-language Hong Kong newspaper written under the name of an alleged student demonstrator claiming to have fled China, but whom no one has been able to find. Front-paged by The New York Times on June 12, it quickly traveled the globe, and we have been living with it in one form or another ever since."

"Not a single Western reporter in Beijing that night seems to have bothered to check out what actually happened; presumably they found a much wider audience for their stories of blood and gore.

Fortunately in addition to the U.S. Embassy reports we now have a detailed 1998 study by the Columbia Journalism Review titled <Reporting the Myth of Tiananmen and the Price of a Passive Press> that tracks down <the dramatic reports that buttressed the myth of a student massacre>."

"[...] If one has to fault the regime, it is in the failure to train troops in crowd control - a mistake that even hard line regime members later admitted. Ironically their later effort to import crowd control equipment was blocked by the United Kingdom acting under the Western arms embargo imposed as a result of the fictitious machine-gun massacre report that their own black information people had almost certainly helped create."

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