I was a college student in China for about 4 months in 1989 and during the brutality at Tian An Men Square. I had been traveling from university to university during the many large and peaceful demonstrations throughout the cities and rural areas. When I finally got to Beijing University, it was late in May, 1989, where I stayed until June 4th. There were, as reported, over one million people in Tian An Men. Marshall Law had been declared some time in April, as I recall; students and workers alike, everywhere I went, were protesting Deng Xiao Ping's government for more freedoms, most especially freedom of speech. The trains were often delayed for many hours due to protests, sometimes someone would strap themselves to a rail track in protest, and I remember clearly the hunger strikes. The government-run television stations altogether ignored any strife and robotically praised farmers for increases in rice, wheat or potato yields; they would also report on "heroic activities" such as a brave young boy that saved a poor woman's cat from a tree.
Well, I went back to China in 1992 as a graduate; I was an intern for an American college Professor who taught politics with an emphasis on US-USSR-USA Relations (this was also my area of focus in my University and the main studies for which I received my college degree). An enormous amount had changed in the way of economic growth and development then as now, but certainly not for the issues of freedom of speech.
My third and final visit to China was in 1994-1995 as University teacher. I chose a small fishing village called Weihai in the northwestern part of Shandong Province, right on the Yellow Sea. I was the first white person to live in that town; I was so foreign in fact, that many farmers (known as "peasants") asked me if I was Korean (since Korea is right across the Yellow Sea). My students were all, every one of them, from the countryside, which meant that they were all peasants. Well, the fact is that the peasants, which comprise about 85% of China's huge population (and most of China's standing army, i.e. military) truly believe what they are told by the government. Every last one of them buys it all, hook, line and sinker. They have all been taught to fervently believe in Marxist economics, Mao Zedong Thought, Vladimir Lenin Communism; THEY BELIEVE ALL OF IT. This is a VAST POWER TO HOLD. This is precisely why Deng Xiao Ping was able to 1. round up his fully brainwashed army, (all peasants from the countryside that had been told that there were some "very bad people" trying to destroy their country)...2. place them in tanks, 3. TOTALLY ISOLATE all of them within the walls of the Forbidden City in Beijing, i.e.. away from the protesters that might be able to convince them of REALITY, and at last, 4. use the army to crush, to literally roll over the protesters. IT WORKED!!
Yet OPPRESSION is NEVER FOREVER. Ever hear of "PANDORA'S BOX?!?! It's happening RIGHT NOW before our very eyes, even here in "FREEDOM-LOVING" (BULLSHIT) AMERICA!!!