Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were killed in June 1989, when Chinese soldiers open fired on unarmed civilians in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. For 30 years, China tried to repress the memory of the brutality. Former Tiananmen student leader Wu’er Kaixi, photographer Jeff Widener of “Tank Man” fame, author Louisa Lim and Human Rights Watch researcher Yaqiu Wang, who was a baby when the crackdown happened and only learned about it by chance, share their stories. Read more: https://wapo.st/tiananmen30

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35 COMMENTS

  1. Summer of 1989 is my finest memories. Everybody took to the street of Shanghai. Protesters and regular people filled the evening Blvd. All the metro buses shut down. You can think and say whatever you wanted.

  2. Thirty years later, Tiananmen Square still remembered in Vancouver
    “Thousands of miles from Beijing, we are gathered to remember this history and pass it from elders to youth,” says Mabel Tung, the chair of the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement.
    ZAK VESCERA Updated: June 3, 2019

    The Goddess of Democracy carries a roughly shaped torch, her eyes staring defiantly forward.
    Around her are yellow flowers and caricatures of Chinese political and business leaders. In front are gathered members and supporters of the Vancouver Society for Democracy Movement, here to pay respect to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
    “Thousands of miles from Beijing, we are gathered to remember this history and pass it from elders to youth,” says Mabel Tung, the chair of the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement.
    “We are the legacy of Tiananmen Square. And we will not forget.”
    Thirty years ago, China’s military clamped down on student pro-democracy protests in Beijing and across the country in what is now known simply as June 4.
    An official death count was never released but is estimated in the thousands.
    After the massacre in 1989, Tung’s organization held hunger strikes, marches and protests in solidarity with the protesters killed.
    They still meet every year at the Goddess of Democracy on the UBC campus, which is modelled after a similar statue built by students during the original demonstration.

    It’s a ceremony that could never take place in China, where any mention of the massacre is censored.
    “It’s virtually impossible on the internet in China to ever use the numbers six and four together,” said Diana Lary, a professor of Chinese history at UBC. “They’ll be immediately deleted.”
    Lary was in China when the crackdown happened. She remembers comforting crying colleagues and riding an otherwise empty train to the embassy on the way to evacuate. But most of all, she remembers the anger.
    “I still feel that sometimes,” she said. “I felt this profound anger that the government dared do that in the middle of this lovely city.”
    When Tung heard the news, she was in the middle of a night shift as a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital. She and hundreds of other Vancouverites went straight to the Chinese consulate the next morning to protest.
    “Before June 4, we all hoped that China might change to a democratic country,” said Tung. “After the massacre, the hope faded away and we had so much anger that the country would do something to its own people.”
    It’s a hope that has only drifted farther away. During the ceremony, Tung noted the case of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians apparently detained in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver under an extradition order from the United States.
    Richard Lee is a former MLA and founding member of the society. As an elected official, he says he promoted trade with China because he thought it would promote the expansion of civil rights.
    “This way, people in China might understand issues here more,” he said.
    He still pays the price for his stance against the government. He says he was denied entrance to his home country several years ago and was told by border officials “you know what you did.”

    Lee says some colleagues told him Chinese Consul General Tong Xiaoling refuses to attend events where he is present. The consulate did not respond to a request for comment.
    The detainment of Spavor and Kovrig along with the continuing internment of the Uighurs, a persecuted Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang province, leaves him little hope for democratic reform in China.
    “How can you claim to be ruled by law and then you’re not allowing someone being accused to see a lawyer to defend themselves?” he asked.
    Despite the setbacks overseas — and perhaps because of them — Tung says commemorating the massacre is more important than ever.
    “When you forget the piece of history, nothing will happen,” she said. “We have to remember this to pass it along to the next generation and the people around you and make sure it carries on. Once history is there, justice will be served.”
    The Goddess of Democracy itself is a reminder of how the memory of the massacre has persisted in the face of interference.
    When the statue was proposed the Chinese consulate originally penned letters to then-UBC President David Strangway demanding it not be allowed on campus and threatening to cancel programs between the school and China if the project continued.
    “This has survived in spite of the fact,” said Lary. “It’s come down to younger people even though China has done as much as it possibly can to not allow anybody to remember it.”

  3. It is very dangerous to scream "freedom" in controlled countries and societies ,. But sacrifice is sometimes followed to obtain freedom ,. If you fear sacrifice, there is no freedom , China tries to erase the history of Tiananmen by using Internet blocking technology ,.

  4. Tiananmen Massacre is a fake news by BBC. For 30 years, there is not a single photo, a single frame on a film that you can p:oint to to say, that's the proof of massacre, zero, zilch, nada.

  5. There is a nauseating conceit here. The americans wring their hands and sob over those poor Chinese bastards while they pour billions into overthrowing democratically elected governments in Venezuela and Syria and unashamedly supply the Saudis with the training and weapons to exterminate Yemeni families through an unspoken genocide. The hypocrisy reveals a deeper truth, China is winning this hybrid war; culturally, diplomatically, financially and militarily its rise cannot be stopped or assailed by the west. The condescension expressed herein masks the jealousy and bitterness of the morally degenerate culturally dying americans as they hiss through their rotten teeth.

  6. this… kind of reminds me… of something… something that has caused a lot of massacres throughout history… what was it again… ah… can't seem to remember… something that doesn't want people questioning and just kind of imposes blind obedience… what was it… AH! YEAH!! religion…

  7. no a single state you will find in the world would allow someone to take public space for monthes, no matter for what irresistable reason…use your brain kids…it is the day that china should churish them had vaccinated against colored revolution which was designed to boost the stronger dollar…but it sweped through the russia, eastern europe, mid-east, north america..now it is blowing back to europe…such as yellow vest, brixit….thnk god chinese gov had spoted the plot and crushed those agendas….

  8. Had the protested succeeded, China would follow — on a much larger scale — the path of the USSR collapse and mounting corruption and criminality in Russia …. Chaos and organized criminals, on a much larger scale than in Russia would take over China ….Hundred of millions would have been displaced….Tens of millions would be dead…..

  9. Anyone in China who cares to know about the Western media version of the incident can easily VPN out and google to their hearts' content.
    They're known as wall-hoppers. (I've been told the Great Firewall for all practical purposes works one-way — outbound. They don't care what you do going out, but monitor inbound traffic strictly, lest China be overwhelmed with fake news.)
    BTW, I watched CBS Evening News, CNN, Headline News (is it still around?), everyday back in the day. It never showed APCs burning. I never saw APC burning with soldiers in it until years later on a German/Argentine? documentary about Erich Honecker that included some footage about the Tiananmen Square 6/4 incident. I was like, "Wow, holy cow. I didn't know that. (CBS, CNN never told me.)" Imagine what went thru the soldiers' mind when they saw what had happened to their comrades and what might happen to them.
    What do you think the French police would react if the Yellow Vest burned alive their colleagues in vehicles?

  10. This is not opinion. This is history. China has been trying to erase the memory of June 4th over the past 30 years from severe torture to abandonment.

  11. This is one way the CCP is showing how powerful they are over the USA by brutally crackdown their own defenseless people and crushing them into pastes and pieces without mercy.

  12. The best way to deal with this is to create a democracy here in the U.S. We still hire slaves. Slaves don't vote nor should they. They say everything starts at home. That's where the oppression that leads to wars begins. It's because people get away with abusing their victims fiscally and physically. The taste for abuse becomes as insatiable as alcohol. Once some of them transfer that aggression to the oppressed or in some very limited cases, their own aggressors but not often enough, it becomes an endless stream of aggression toward the oppressed because people learn to associate the oppressed's defeat with their senses by observing body language, speech patterns and smells, not to mention their overflowing pockets, to name a few. To elicit the same reactions from other bullies takes much longer and that's not fast enough for them to temporarily use abuse for painkillers and a living. To stop wars the aggression against the oppressed must be stopped here at home first. This can, ultimately, end slavery or at least kink up the slave element to this endless viscous cycle of slavery and war that feed upon each other. People misuse tribalism to abuse the oppressed. It was never intended for that purpose. Except for necessities, women (male or female) should use tribalism the way it was intended, to raise herself and children in safety and stay away from those people (the abusers). This will account for a lot of those things children "don't seem" to be getting the way the system is at present. We need viable incomes for ourselves and, if need be, our children to do that. These guys want to, literally, stay in the crapper with us because no place but, but up means more money. It's infantile and greedy. Our economy should be based on the P:E, person in environment, the health of our two biggest resources including but, by not means, limited to giving everybody, businesses and individuals, groups, institutions, M&Ms, no government expenditures based on Money For Morals. There are so many programs that can help this happen and I don't see a single candidate making any changes.

  13. This us a painful memory but not as painful as the atrocities being committed daily by the U.S government. Before looking elsewhere let's clean up our own house. America has no moral high ground when it comes to human rights.

  14. Reminds me of Facebook and other social media platforms banning several conservative and right-leaning bloggers for having a different opinion. Merely mentioning them would as well get you banned from the platform.

  15. I'm surprised the brainwashed CCP slaves haven't come to start saying these people deserve to die. The real Chinese with spines have been slaughtered or forced to Taiwan and the sheep are left.

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