Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Remembering Tiananmen

Remembering Tiananmen
(02:01) Report Reuters Video

Jun. 2 - Wang Dan, a former student activist in China, recalls the crackdown on Tiananmen Square some 20 years ago.

SOUNDBITE: Wang DanDeborah Lutterbeck reports.

Twenty years after Tiananmen
Silence on the square

Outside the Communist Party, memories of the 1989 massacre get hazy

(Source AMONG journalists at a Chinese newspaper, there has been some surprising talk of publishing a story to mark the 20th anniversary on June 3rd and 4th of the massacre of hundreds of Beijing citizens by Chinese soldiers. One journalist even told his colleagues he would be ready to go to jail for doing so. But such bravado, especially if it proves more than rhetoric, is likely to be rare. For many in China the nationwide pro-democracy protests of 1989 and their bloody end have become a muddled and half-forgotten tale.
This does not stop the Communist Party worrying about the issue. It fears that the efforts of even a small number of people to keep memories alive could be destabilising. The most senior official to serve jail time for his role in the Tiananmen Square unrest, Bao Tong, has been escorted by security officials from his Beijing home to a scenic spot in central China (far from muttering journalists) where he will spend the anniversary period. Mr Bao agreed to go, says a family member. But in China an invitation from the police can be awkward to refuse. Several other dissidents report heightened police surveillance.

This year’s anniversary has spurred a hardy few to pronounce on the massacre. A Beijing academic, Cui Weiping, told a gathering of intellectuals called to commemorate it that the party’s campaign to deter public discussion of Tiananmen, and public acquiescence to it, had damaged China’s “spirit and morality”. She posted her remarks on her blog.
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