Date
15 December 2017
Peking University professor Kong Qingdong (in red circle) was in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 student protests reportedly as a party spy. Student leader Wang Dan is the one with the loud hailer. Photos: Sina.com, weibo
Peking University professor Kong Qingdong (in red circle) was in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 student protests reportedly as a party spy. Student leader Wang Dan is the one with the loud hailer. Photos: Sina.com, weibo

Kong looks more kindly on June 4 but is he for real?

When high-profile Mao supporter Kong Qingdong (孔慶東) described the June 4 protests in a recent speech as a democratic movement, not a riot, he surprised a lot of people, including his leftist fans.

Was he representing the Communist Party’s new line on the brutal crackdown that followed, or was he merely speaking out of turn?

Given his past record of giving emotional and exaggerated comments to the media, the latter is more likely.   

Kong, a professor of Sinology at Peking University, was in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 protests. He was a spy of the Communist Party, according to an article written by Feng Congde, an exiled dissident in the United States who was a student leader at the time.

After Kong was unexpectedly elected student representative of Peking University, he tried every means to discourage an April 27 protest organized by fellow students, Feng said.

At a very late stage in the movement, Kong’s classmates found that Kong was also the president of the student union appointed by the university.

After 25 years, Kong enjoys the party’s support and is free from any complicity in the June 4 protests, Feng said.

In the past decade, Kong has been making a lot of effort to spread his leftist views, including some anti-Japanese and anti-US comments, through television and the internet. 

He hasn’t spared Hong Kong. In early 2012, he described Hong Kong people as “colonial dogs” and said they should be beaten up for their harsh criticism of a mainland child who ate on the subway. He refused to apologize for his comments and accused the media of quoting him out of context.

In a microblog post last month, Kong blamed former party general secretary Hu Yaobang for a recent wave of riots in Tibet and Xinjiang, saying his soft political stance on the restive regions in the 1980s helped fuel the unrest.

His microblog has been suspended, presumably because the comments were too sensitive in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown.

But how about his recent pronouncements on June 4?

Kong made a video in which he said the 1989 student activism was a patriotic and democratic movement. He released it to the media.

He said the movement did not incite the overthrow of the party or government, then concluded that the Beijing government, some students and certain foreign powers should be held responsible for its aftermath.

Kong’s comments digressed from the official line that the June 4 protests were a riot aimed at the overthrow of the regime.

With his leftist background, it’s possible that Kong might be representing the views of some senior party leaders, but not all. It is more likely that Kong only wants to attract attention.

– Contact us at [email protected]

AM/JP/RA

Chief reporter at EJ Insight

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe