From Vox.com: Deng Xiaoping: "Comrade Xiannian is correct.:
The causes of this incident have to do with the global context. The Western world, especially the United States, has thrown its entire propaganda machine into agitation work and has given a lot of encouragement and assistance to the so-called democrats or opposition in China — people who are in fact are the scum of the Chinese nation. This is the root of the chaotic situation we face today.
When the West stirs up turmoil in other countries, in fact it is playing power politics — hegemonism — and is only trying to control those other countries, to pull into its power sphere countries that were previously beyond its control. Once we're clear on this point, it's easier to see the essential nature of this issue and to sum up certain lessons. This turmoil has taught us a lesson the hard way, but at least we now understand better than before that the sovereignty and security of the state must always be the top priority. Some Western countries use things like "human rights," or like saying the socialist system is irrational or illegal, to criticize us, but what they're really after is our sovereignty. ...
Two conditions are indispensable for our development goals: a stable environment at home and a peaceful environment abroad. We don't care what others say about us. The only thing we really care about is a good environment for developing ourselves. So long as history eventually proves the superiority of the Chinese socialist system, that's enough. We can't bother about the social systems of other countries.
Imagine for a moment what could happen if China falls into turmoil. If it happens now, it'd be far worse than the Cultural Revolution. Back then the prestige of leaders like Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou [Enlai] still loomed. We talked about "full-scale civil war," but actually no large-scale fighting took place, no true civil war ever happened.
Now it's different, though. If the turmoil keeps going, it could continue until Party and state authority are worn away. Then there would be civil war, one faction controlling parts of the army and another faction controlling others. If the so-called democracy fighters were in power, they'd fight among themselves. Once civil war got started, blood would flow like a river, and where would human rights be then?...
On the topic of mistakes, we indeed have made them. I said two years ago that our biggest mistake was in education. we haven't educated our kids and students enough. A lot of thought work has been neglected, and a lot of things have not been made clear. Some people, like [former Chinese premier who visited the protests] Zhao Ziyang, have even joined the side of the turmoil, which makes it even more our own faults that people misunderstood.
We must cast a sober and critical eye upon ourselves, review the past while looking to the future, and try to learn from experience as we examine current problems. If we do this, it's possible a bad thing could turn into a good one. We could benefit from this incident.
A majority of the people will sober up, too. After we put down the turmoil, we'll have to work hard to make up all those missed lessons in education, and this won't be easy. It'll take years, not months, for the people who demonstrated and petitioned to change their minds. We can't blame the people who joined the hunger strike, demonstrated, or petitioned. We should target only those who had bad intentions or who took the lead in breaking the law. Education should be our main approach to the student, including the students who joined the hunger strike.
This principle must not change. We should set the majority of the students free from worry. We should be forgiving toward all the students who joined marches, demonstrations, or petitions and not hold them responsible. We will mete out precise and necessary punishments only to the minority of adventurers who attempted to subvert the People's Republic of China.
We cannot tolerate turmoil. We will impose martial law again if turmoil appears again. Our purpose is to maintain stability so that we can work on construction, and our logic is simple: with so many people and so few resources, China can accomplish nothing without peace and units in politics and a stable social order. Stability must take precedence over everything....
No one can keep China's reform and opening from going forward. Why is that? It's simple: without reform and opening our development stops and our economy slides downhill. Living standards decline if we turn back. The momentum of reform cannot be stopped. We must insist on this point at all times.
Some people say we allow only economic reform and not political reform, but that's not true. We do allow political reform, but one condition: that the Four Basic Principles [of Marxist ideology and Communist Party rule] are upheld.
We can't handle chaos while we're busy with contradiction. If today we have a big demonstration and tomorrow we have a great airing of views and a bunch of wall posts, we won't have any energy left to get anything done. That's why we have to insist on clearing the square.