Twenty Years Later
There was much promise of the idea of an open and honest government in China, maybe even a peaceful transition to a multiparty democracy like the ones that swept Eastern Europe. I don't remember everyone involved in using the military to crash the party atmosphere of the rally, but the name Jiang Zemin rings clear as one of the many men who decided that the shooting should start. Who was this Jiang fellow? Just the President of China. Maybe not a political mover and shaker behind the scenes like Deng Xiaoping was until his death, but Jiang was still one of the people who would need to sign off on orders like that.
Look at the above. One man stopping tanks by appealing to another man's humanity. Once he was removed by the People's Armed Police, though, the tanks rolled through. Remember this as well. The People's Liberation Army units in the Beijing Military District refused to take part. The refrain to a patriotic song in China says "The People Love The Army and The Army Loves The People." Many of the army units refused to back up the Beijing Police Force or the People's Armed Police. So, the government's crisis managers came up with an idea: bring in outsiders from other military districts who don't necessarily like the people in Beijing. They trucked in soldiers from rural provinces like Gansu to do the work the Beijing soldiers wouldn't.
Despite what pro-disarmament people might say, the Second Amendment exists to ensure that situations like this don't happen here. It exists to ensure that the people are armed well enough to make power-grabbers think twice before trying to use American troops against their own people. Combine that with a professional class of officers and non-commissioned officers whose jobs are not political prizes for party loyalty, and you can see that there are still a few checks on unlimited power. It starts with the Second Amendment, though. If that amendment is repealed, what gets repealed shortly afterward? The First? The Fourth or Fifth? I hope we never find out. The process of finding out will not be pleasant.