Student Protesters Burn Chinese Flags at Anti-Party Rally

Times Staff Writer

On the 68th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese students from several Southern California campuses burned China’s national flag and the party’s flag, canceled party memberships and called for harsher sanctions against their government at two rallies in Los Angeles.

About 150 people, most of them students, gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate to continue protesting the brutal massacre of Chinese students in Tian An Men Square last month.

Later, the students joined about 1,500 people in front of the Federal Building in Westwood, calling on the U.S. government to impose harsher economic sanctions against China.

“The Chinese Communist Party died today,” proclaimed Walter Yuen, 39, a mechanical engineering professor, as he addressed the students from the steps of the consulate. “No political party which kills its people can maintain its legitimacy.”


Students hoisted placards and banners mounted on bamboo poles declaring, “The World Is Watching,” “CCP = Crime, Cruelty, Plague,” “Lies Written in Ink Cannot Cover Truth Written in Blood” and “Party of Murder.”

They also took turns stomping on the Chinese Communist Party flag and on copies of the Centre Daily News, a Monterey Park-based Chinese language newspaper that students claimed was taking an “anti-democracy” position on the issue.

Some students interrupted the addresses to torch the party flag. They also shredded and burned China’s national flag, with additional students grabbing at the ends so they could claim they had participated.

Hua Chuan, a biochemist at Montgomery Labs, also announced that at least seven Southern California students had joined 391 Chinese Communist Party members in the United States in quitting the party, which claims membership of more than 40 million.


“If I continue to be a member I will be a criminal, and I will be as guilty as the government and soldiers who massacred the innocent students,” said Haitao Wang, 35, an editor of the Press Freedom Herald, a newspaper first published after the June 4 massacre.

The students later joined the Westwood rally, where another replica of the Goddess of Democracy--erected by students in Tian An Men Square--was unveiled. The Goddess wore black arm bands and black ribbons also hung from her torch.

Changqing Cao, editor in chief of the Press Freedom Herald, led speakers who called on President Bush to impose tougher economic sanctions on China.

“Only the party officials in China benefit from trade . . . and the Chinese people are willing to play their part in bringing true democracy to China,” he said.


Surrounded by a cordon of fluttering American flags, Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Woo announced a postcard campaign, asking people in the crowd to return postcards calling on Deng Xiaoping, chairman of the Communist Party Military Commission, to “end immediately the repression of all Chinese citizens who seek only to exercise their basic human rights.” The postcards are addressed to China’s Ambassador Han Xu in care of U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.), who is co-sponsoring the campaign.

“We want to show the Chinese government that the United States is speaking with one voice on this issue. Those who advise the President that the events in China are only a temporary aberration and (that) we must think in the long term are missing the point. . . . It is an apology we cannot accept because in the long term we will have to deal with the democracy movement,” Woo said.

A sprinkling of non-Chinese participants attended the rally. Among them were Israel Feuer, 58, who held aloft two placards proclaiming “Socialism Without Democracy Is Neither,” and “Deng Li Peng, You Have Lost Heaven’s Mandate,” slogans chanted by the Chinese students before the massacre.