First News
Volume:7, Number:49
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Around The World 1

How ‘China's IBM’ Funded the Tiananmen Protests of 1989

It may be hard to believe now but an electronics company, once predicted to become “China’s IBM”, was the primary corporate backer of the student-led unrest that swept China in 1989 only to be crushed by the military by June 4 of that year. After the Tiananmen Square protests were quelled, the Stone Group Corporation - considered China’s top electronics company at the time - was accused by authorities of funneling huge sums of money into the movement and providing logistical support. Wan Runnan founded the company in 1984. The group, in collaboration with Japanese company Mitsui, soon began to make, market, and sell word processors. But then came the turbulence of 1989 and Wan and his company got swept into it, demanding political reform and a free economy. The company donated money, equipment such as loudspeakers, and printers, mobile phones worth some RMB200,000 and allowed students to use its offices to contact overseas activists.

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