Ahh, June 4. Time of the year again to ignore facts, twist history, make spurious claims, and generally offer plenty of wrong-headed arguments. Since this is the 20th anniversary of the Massacre, tempers might flare so if you’re a true China-loving patriot, you are really going to need to be prepared with this, our handy guide to rhetorical fallacies. Here’s an example: Argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance). No one knows the true death toll of June 4. Therefore, the incident was no big deal. That’s great incorrect thinking—your “proof” is your absence of evidence! You’re now well on your way to winning any June 4 argument by exhausting the other reasonable party, but we are only just starting. You’re going to need to ratchet up the deductive fallacies if you have any hope of tackling someone armed with rational, fact-based arguments. So let’s get started. And remember, if you find yourself in a bind, just start shouting till you’re foaming at the mouth—that should close any argument once and for all. Bare assertion fallacy. Rich is right. China is rich. Therefore, China is right. False analogy. Think of it this way—if the praying mantis does not devour her children and her mate, then there is no way that the manufacturing and export sectors of the mantis economy can adequately mature. Compound question. Did the student leaders at Tiananmen Square A) incite violence with the goal of de-stabilizing and destroying the country, or B) did they go home and prepare fresh cupcakes for a nationwide bake sale? Exactly. Red herring. If we want to properly understand the complex web of motivations behind the 1989 demonstrations, we need to look at the broader socio-economic and geopolitical context. Let’s start with this picture of a baby panda—it fits right in the palm of your hand! Denying the correlative. Sure, we can talk about whether or not the Chinese government should apologize for the massacre, but that is only assuming that the date June 4, 1989 actually exists... Appeal to probability. We can’t really put all the blame on the Communist leadership—the odds of being flattened by tanks in Beijing are unusually high to begin with. Argument by the absurd. If the Tiananmen Square demonstrators really wanted a better China, then they should have just written in to their congressman or woman. Syntactic ambiguity. Nothing is better than eternal happiness. The Chinese government is better than nothing. Therefore, the Chinese government is better than eternal happiness. Case closed!