This was the song that Cui Jian performed in Tiananmen Square 15 days before the military crackdown of June 1989. As he told Time in 1999: “I sang A Piece of Red Cloth, a tune about alienation. I covered my eyes with a red cloth to symbolize my feelings. The students were heroes. They needed me, and I needed them.”
James Tiscione, That’s Beijing’s music editor, told us via email: “It’s the perfect metaphor, and says everything that needs to be said about the state of affairs in the guise of a love song. That meaning, combined with those heartfelt vocals, make it Cui’s finest songwriting moment. In my opinion, no one, including Cui, has topped it since.”
Lyrics to the song can be found here via China Digital Times.
UPDATE, 6/5, 10:43 am: Thanks to R. Tyler Cotton for alerting us to this Soundcloud from a year ago that features Cui Jian performing live on Tiananmen. Skip to the 19-minute mark for this song.
(H/T Bill Bishop/Sinocism)