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China, If You're Listening

CHINA | S05 Bonus episode - The story behind Bob Hawke’s mysterious Tiananmen Cable


In 1989, five days after tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square in Beijing and brutally ended weeks of protests, the then prime minister Bob Hawke gave a horrifying description of what Australia thought happened.

But where did the account come from? And what did it get wrong?

Over the past three months China, If You’re Listening investigated the source of this description and found it was a previously undisclosed diplomatic cable from the Australian Embassy in Beijing, which subsequently had key details retracted.

This is a bonus episode, produced with our friends at The Signal - a daily ABC News podcast.


Blanche d'Alpuget, biographer and wife of late former prime minister Bob Hawke
Richard Rigby, Emeritus Professor of the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra
Craig Emerson, former advisor to Bob Hawke, and cabinet minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments



by ABC Radio