General Defied Tiananmen Square Orders

    15TH IN A SERIES OF 16

PEK59:CHINA-TIANANMEN:BEIJING,31MAY99 - FILE PHOTO 4JUN89 - Crowds of jubilant students surge through a police cordon before pouring into Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 during a pro-democracy demonstration. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the bloody June 4 1989 army crackdown on the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.  REUTERS/Stringer - RTRPNZJ

    © Str Old / Reuters

    On the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, a new account from inside the Chinese government is coming out. Maj. Gen. Xu Qinxian, who led the 38th Group Army, told a historian he defied orders to quash the protesters because he felt it was a political problem that should be solved through negotiations. Xu was arrested shortly thereafter for his refusal but said, “I’d rather be beheaded than be a criminal in the eyes of history.” He ultimately passed the orders along to his troops, but he refused to lead them and was expelled from the Communist Party and imprisoned for four years. 

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