It’s almost 20 years ago that the social impetus for the Tiananmen Square killimgs latched onto the event of Hu Yaobang’s death.
It gives one perspective.
How masterly the media manages the masses…
That said, I was, on June 4th 1989, in a dingy Dundas dwelling, killing time on what i thought was my last year as a civilian.
Came home from the night shift, well really after a few diversionary ales in a park, and found it all over the tube. My housemates downstairs were Taiwanese. They flipped out. As I did too. Spent the next two daze trying to talk my student housemates from certain plans that would have come to naught.
Yet here we are, a generation later, and my threats of a better future were just what they spat at me:
Dust in The Wind.
I should have aided my comrades in distress, let them hurt somebody.
Onward, the Great Circle Rolls.....
So where were you, when you saw live footage of the tanks on that boulevard?
Knowing that much worse would come?
I had an appointment with a couple of young Taiwanese women to take a bus from Taipei to Sanxia for some hiking and recreation along the Dabao River. While we were waiting for the bus, we saw footage of the massacre on the TV in a roadside eatery. We were all a bit stunned, but still went on to enjoy a delightful day in and out of the water.
I was in the dinning hall at school. I distinctly remember getting into a heated discussion with some Honky classmates because I said the gov was going to shoot them all…then the news came out and we were all silent.
I was teaching in Jiayi - I had just gotten a raise and was making 45k a month. With my rent at $2500, and a high Taiwan dollar, I was making a king’s ransom.
I was pretty interested in the student protests, because Gorbachev had just visited Beijing, and with the fall of the Iron Curtain, I was wondering if China would go the same route. It was a huge year, in terms of news.
The reaction of the students here was pretty interesting - they were very upset and indignant that this could have happened to their “brothers”. No way would there be a reaction like that today!
that guy with his shopping bags? in front of the tank? that was me…
actually no, i was in bangkok waiting to fly into china and trying to persuade my chicken-livered travelling mates it would be ok. eventually i gave up and went in by myself but only as far as yangshuo in the south. suffice to say there was almost no backpackers left by the time i got there.
I was hiking by myself in Fiordland, New Zealand. It’s beautiful in winter - snow on the peaks but still quite mild. And very few hikers. I spent 6 weeks exploring the park with my old Nikon F2. At the end of the Hollyford Track I found a Time magazine in a hut which detailed the massacre.
I was watching saturday morning cartoons when Peter Jennings interrupted. I remember he condescendingly talked to us kids and told us that an important news event was happening in China and to wake up our parents and tell them. I didn’t bother though as I flipped thru the channels to find a different cartoon to watch.
That’s very interesting. That day a group of Taiwanese friends and I went for a day of watery fun around Shimen reservoir. We rode motorcycles across Taipei County stopping to see the news. I agree with Maoman that people were interested in away that they would just not be now.
Like Omni, we had a very pleasant day as well, and just a few kilometers away. Our paths may have even crossed!
I must point out, as I have before, that there was no massacre in Tiananmen Square, although several hundred civilians, including a few students, and a smaller number of soldiers were killed in other places in Beijing on the night of 3-4 June 1989.
uh…yeah…uh huh… …no…I’m just gonna go ahead and call BS on that one Juba.
Hopefully you are posting in irony. Quoting the revisionist agenda of someone other than yourself.
Chat forums are not all that good at conveying such “inside” jokes unfortunately.[/quote]
And of course, and predictably, mister intel man would be fantastically wrong. See this documentary The Gate of Heavenly Peace. I know some of the people invilved in this, and who were in Beijing at the time. One of whom helped get Taiwanese pop singer Hou Dejiang into the Australian consulate in Shanghai and thus avoid the initial round up. Who was he? The man that led the last protestors out of the square. He saw not one person killed in Tianamen,
Born in Taiwan in 1956. A singer-songwriter, Hou achieved fame with his 1979 song “Children of the Dragon.” In 1983 Hou moved to the mainland in search of his roots. He became a very popular cultural figure and introduced a new, personal style of performance. During the protest movement, Hou took part in the four-man hunger strike of June 2nd. When troops surrounded Tiananmen Square early on the morning of June 4th, Hou and Zhou Duo, another of the four hunger strikers, negotiated with the army to allow the students to leave the Square. In June 1990, after Hou repeatedly refused to remain silent about his political views, the Chinese authorities put him on a Taiwan fishing boat which they had stopped, and ordered the crew to take Hou back to Taiwan. In Taiwan he was arraigned by the authorities for illegal entry and was given a seven-month prison sentence, subsequently commuted.[/quote]
However, as Juba says, and the point you missed, is that people were killed trying to stop the army getting to the square, Ordinary citizens of Beijing threw up road blocks and so on and were gunned down mercilessly. And of course, and is often forgotten, away from the limited foreign media focussed on Beijing, people were being murdered by their army as sympathetic protests sprung up in cities all across China. Shanghai was fierce, especially so because the workers got involved, similarly in Wuhan and Hangzhou, to name a few.
Who were they defending?
Well the likes of protest leaders like Chai Ling for one:
I was studying Chinese Medicine in Sydney at the time, and had a rather obvious interest, so wandered up the the protests outside the PRC Embassy in Sydney. What I saw amazed me. There were genuine protests, don’t get me wrong, but the biggest line was to a table some entrepreneurs had set up, where they commanded a bevy of protest props like banners, headbands and so on, and then dressing people up in the protest gear to their photo taken carefully framed to show the embassy name and location. They’d stop, take a few pics, pay some money and then write down their contacts to receive the photos later. Chinese, eh? Can’t help themselves.
I asked, although my Chinese was not that good at that time, what this was all about, and was told, “this means we get to stay in Australia.” Actually those pics weren’t needed in the end, because the Australian government handed out resident visas to all PRC folks in the country at that time.
While I didn’t see the original post in which you are referring to here Feiren, I think with something like one million Taiwanese now in China, there would be even more interest.
Now who else was at the square? Well current Premier of the PRC Wen Jiabao, for one. Here he is standing behind and to the right of his political mentor, Zhao Ziyang, then who was then the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, but later purged for his sympathetic view of the protest movement and placed under 15 years of house arrest until he died. In the picture below he is in tears pleading with the students to leave the square. The Wiki carries his full speech. It is quite moving,
It is precisely because of Wen Jiabao’s current leadership that I am far more hopeful for China’s future, and why I am increasingly frustrated by the kneejerk anti-China quips by several 'mosans. Like Americans, there’s some good, some bad, some of their leaders are complete arseholes, some reasonable, but you shouldn’t write them all off.