The TV and printed news media are again pressing us with an erroneous concept regarding the Tiananmen incident in China in 1989 by calling it a "pro-democracy" movement. To begin with, the rally was really a funeral procession to honor Hu Yao-Bang, an elderly leader who had been a favorite of the city students. This coincided with a visit by Mikhail Gorbachev to China, the first Russian leader to do so.

The American press took advantage of this coincidence and promoted some radical students into anti-government rallies.A few leaders seized control of an unruly situation and caused the violence. Radical students also blocked the streets and did not permit the delivery of food to the people in that area. Only then did the government take harsh action against the students.

The first shots fired by the soldiers were provoked by blaring broadcasts by Voice America that repeated NBC and CBS statements that Teng Hsiao Ping was dead, Li Peng had been shot and that hundreds were being killed in the city. This panicked the students into barricades that had been set up, causing the soldiers to fire on them. From this point on, confusion and anarchy reigned for 24 hours . If the U.S. press had not been present, this tragedy would never have occurred.

A few students in Beijing, urged on by ambitious and stupid newsmen, helped to set back the development of democracy and freedom in China for 15 to 20 years. I speak from experience. I was there, and I have talked to hundreds if not thousands of people in rural China about this problem from 1989 through 1994.

Why do we let the news media feed us such garbage?

H. Grant Heaton