Advertisement

Helmut Schmidt defends Tiananmen massacre

Share this article

Helmut Schmidt defends Tiananmen massacre
Photo: DPA
12:44 CEST+02:00
Helmut Schmidt, ex-chancellor and sacred cow of German political punditry, has defended the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. Casualty estimates were "wildly exaggerated" and the Chinese army was defending itself, he said.

Schmidt told Die Zeit weekly newspaper which he publishes, that the Chinese military had been attacked with stones and Molotov cocktails before the infamous massacre.

He said the Red Cross estimate that 2,600 people were killed did not tally with that of foreign ambassadors in the city at the time.

Schmidt, who was Germany's Social Democratic chancellor from 1974 until 1982, added that other mitigating circumstances needed to be taken into account when assessing the riots and massacre.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was visiting China for the first time after a long interval, and that his Chinese counterpart Deng Xiaoping had "lost face" because Gorbachev had been forced to enter the city's "Great Hall of the People" by a back door because of the violence.

He also said that since the government had had no police force available, authorities were forced to send in the army. "And the soldiers had only learned to shoot," said Schmidt.

Schmidt praised Deng, who steered China to long-term prosperity, as the most successful communist leader in world history. He also rejected the claim that the Chinese had "sacrificed" civil rights in favour of material wealth, since there has never been a tradition of personal freedom in Chinese history.

Chinese politics could not be measured by European standards, he argued.

The Local/bk

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

How to get the dream tech job you always wanted

Europe's tech industry is booming, giving rise to a range of programming ‘bootcamps' that offer tech literacy more quickly and affordably than traditional degree programs. The Local finds out more.

Advertisement
Advertisement
8,842 Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement