See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: June 4th:Silence, Memorial and Blogger's Saying

Today it's June 4th, the 17th anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre, which marked the end of student democracy movement in Beijing and nationwide lasting from March to June, 1989. The communist party of China still did not recognize this mass incident as peaceful protest of students, who used demonstration and hunger strike to demand democracy and removal of corrupted officials.

Under the party propaganda policies, no commemoration of the movement was allowed in public places and the newspapers and TV networks passed the day wthout any even implied mention of it. Like the popular columnist and blogger Lianyue once has wrote when Google has entered Chinese market:”We(Google) guarantee: The day after Jun3th must be Jun5th”, the state-controlled media have just pretended that the event never happened 17 years ago, identical with the official history book's negligible claim of the movement as “a political incident in the spring and summer of 1989″.

Silence did not only existed in the media outlets but also on Internet. The major websites are mute as much as their mainstream media counterparts. While many foreign media will run their stories of civil right groups, dissidents sayings and request of groups like Tiananmen Mother, who demand compensation and recognition of people who sacrifice their lives in the event, a basic embarrassing fact is that the government will tighten the control of information online and offline, with blocking access  to witnesses and elevation of Internet blocking alike.

Even Google, who compromise to offered its Chinese search engine services in censored and uncensored version simultaneously are no exception from the powerful censor. Many areas in mainland China have reported failures to connect to Google in the past few days, while the censored and China-hosted Google.cn is still available. Andrew Lih has blogged a stories about it.  Shizhao also warned that people be careful using Google Desktop, since the application robots will crawl sensitive news from websites like BBC, causing the Great Firewall to trigger off.

Fortunately, the decentralized nature of Internet means such content can't be removed and ignored entirely. Andrea of T-Salon remind us that the del.icio.us tag “8964” is once again active, aggregating reflections and thoughts from the Internet,especially the blogosphere. The scanning copy of Hong Kong newspaper in June 4th 1989 can be found on Flickr and video on YouTube. It's like what XiaoQiang of China Digital Times, a participant of that event told in a recent interview that “Internet Keeps Tiananmen Spirit Alive”

Keepwalking shot photos of Tiananmen Square and post it on his blog titled “Picture without Words: Today, Square”: peaceful and crowded, not with anguish students but the cheerful and curious tourists, who may not even heard about the so-called June 4th Massacre, for many of them were born after the event and the state prohibt public discussion of the incident. Compared with the now famous image of Tank Man, who poised in front a row of armed tanks and block them to advance on the street in 1989, a true repersentatives of the spirits of the protesters, today's square is so quiet as usual as if nobody even remember, not mention to struggle for it.

Zheng, one of the earliest Chinese blogger, wrote today on his blog titled “17 Years”:

[In translation]
After the 17 years, the generation has grown up to adult.
However the ringing cry, warm blood and zealous yearning of them has not grown to be a self-organized and self-adapted environment of democracy, like the tiny seeds growing into green and vast fores
t…..
The thing needed to magnify is the voice, the continuity not the boring and faded mourning and commemoration year after year.
History won't repeat. New questions are ahead in front of us, and it's these news question that make the voice resurrect.

SideKick, a Hong Kong blogger, showed her “8964” special watch and change her blog's appearance in total black for “indirect memorandum”. In another post she edits a playlist of songs to commorate the anniversary . Every year Hong Kong will hold an unofficial memorial party to pay tribute to those who died on the street 17 years ago and HiRadio has many resources for that party.

21 comments

  • […] More at Global Voices. […]

  • […] UPDATE: A reminder of another anniversary. Only 17 years ago. […]

  • […] Instapundit, a video called “Not Settled. Not Forget.” As Glenn says, “Pretty strong stuff.” Agreed. Go watch.      […]

  • […] No matter how much the regime would like us to believe, China has not forgotten the slaughter of its citizens in its capital’s streets. […]

  • […] – Chinese bloggers take time out to remember yesterday’s 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. (via InstaPundit) […]

  • […] China: June 4th:Silence, Memorial and Blogger’s Saying “the 17th anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre, which marked the end of student democracy movement in Beijing and nationwide lasting from March to June, 1989″ Estimated deaths? Anything from 23 to 7000. (tags: democracy communist 8694 governance government violence china) […]

  • […] You can read also Global Voices Online and see how the Square is today. […]

  • I’d like to offer couple more reference in addition to PBS Frontline’s “The Tank Man”, where it reported the fact Chinese government did investigate this, and release casualty figure of 240 some dead (incidentally in-line with our own NSA intel estimate.)

    An article by Gregory Clark on pack journalism:

    http://mparent7777.livejournal.com/7702519.html

    “the so-called massacre was in fact a mini civil war as irate Beijing citizens sought to stop initially unarmed soldiers sent to remove students who had been demonstrating freely in the square for weeks. When the soldiers finally reached the square there was no massacre.”

    An article by Columbia Journal Review on passive journalism:

    http://archives.cjr.org/year/98/5/tiananmen.asp

    “as far as can be determined from the available evidence, no one died that night in Tiananmen Square.

    Hundreds of people, most of them workers and passersby, did die that night, but in a different place and under different circumstances.”

    [Just for reference, throwing molotov cocktail at riot police is a crime in US.]

  • […] China: June 4th:Silence, Memorial and Blogger’s Saying […]

  • 在中国所有的搜索引擎都找不到有关六四的信息,所有网站、论坛……信不信由你
    Believe it or not,you can’t find any information about “June 4th” on all website or bbs.
    “June 4th” is told the so-called “The sensitive phrase remit” when pressed on the Internet.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site