Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May 35th

Students in Beijing were recently shown this iconic picture and asked if they recognized it.  Most did not.  The event isn't mentioned in their schools or discussed in the media.  A few did know what the picture was about and were uneasy at being asked where others might hear.

Twenty-five years ago on June 4th, the protest in Tiananmen Square became a massacre.

If you search the popular Weibo search engine, China's google-equivalent with 500 million subscribers, you get the following, "According to relevant laws, statutes and policies," the results of the search "cannot be shown."

The now-infamous square, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace, ironically), saw a pro-democracy demonstration in 1989 that ended in martial law with civilians being shot by soldiers.  Hundreds at least, perhaps a thousand or more died.  Some escaped to tell the story, for which we're thankful.

Chinese authorities have for years been suppressing discussion and remembrance of the event.
Google has been suspended in China for the occasion, CNN tells us this morning.
For those in China who do remember, veiled references to the June 4th event are used to speak surreptitiously about the issue.  'May 35th' was one such reference.

As annoying as it might be to hear others speak on political issues, left and right, informed and not, I treasure the freedom I have to hold an opinion and talk about government from time to time.  We're fortunate in our freedom.

No comments: