It was just another day on the Square, though it seemed there were slightly fewer people than usual. Many must have gotten turned away at the security line underground, as officers informed, "If you don't have ID, don't bother waiting in line." The sternest reprimand we heard all day came from an officer who halted a woman sauntering past the queue. "Go wait in line," he barked. "Do you not see all these people waiting?"
China ramped up its censorship considerably in the lead-up to today, both of words and Internet services. Google is by far the biggest company to find its services halted -- as anyone trying to access Gmail without a VPN knows well -- and Google has by far the best response to it. We really want this to be true, anyway -- via Jonah Kessel:
Via NY Times: "A photograph of Tiananmen Square that was uploaded to the Chinese social network Weibo ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crackdown there on pro-democracy protesters on June 4, 1989."
Today marks the 25th anniversary of a turning point in modern Chinese history. In the run-up, around 20 key intellectuals and campaigners have been been detained, and security around Beijing heightened. And who knows how many warnings and threats have been issued to the family and friends of conscience-driven citizens across the country.
Photo: Catherine Henriette, AFP/Getty Images, via USA Today
Chen Xitong, who was Beijing's mayor from 1983 to 1993, has died at age 84, multiple sources have told SCMP. The news was first reported by Hong Kong China News Agency (HKCNA) today.
Chen's exact date of death is not confirmed, but it's ironic that the public would learn about his passing on today of all days, the 24th anniversary of the brutal military crackdown on Tiananmen Square.
Global Times chose June 4 to publish two editorials about how the Internet and media need to be brutally censored. One editorial is by Shan Renping -- the party’s stupidest editorial lapdog -- and the other is from the rat-infested oozing pile of vomit and bile shat through the vagina of a dead yet zombified tapeworm screaming at the top of its intestines, Hu Xijin.
Let’s start with Hu: “Web regulation in public's best interest”
It's the lead pic from the New York Times's story today about how China's current leaders were molded by the events of 1989.
I'm just going to put this here and admire from afar.
Liao Yiwu was a fledging poet without a formal education, a hot-tempered philanderer prone to fights, a dreamer who actively despised politics -- until the early hours of June 4, 1989, when, from the living room of his home in the river town of Fuling, he listened with Canadian Michael Day to shortwave radio reports of Chinese troops opening fire on students around Tiananmen Square. "The bloody crackdown in Beijing was a turning point in history and also in my own life," he writes in his prison memoir For a Song and a Hundred Songs...
If you haven't already, watch The Gate of Heavenly Peace, directed by Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton, with writing by Geremie Barmé and John Crowley. The three-hour documentary was released in 1995 to rave reviews -- "the atmosphere of the Beijing Spring is conveyed beautifully in all its pathos, drama, hope, craziness, poetry, and violence," wrote Ian Buruma; "a hard-headed critical analysis of a youthful protest movement that failed," wrote The New York Times -- and remains the best film ever made about the June Fourth Incident, neither gorifying the student leaders nor incriminating the Communist Party, but explaining how a peaceful democracy movement could possibly have resulted in martial law and Chinese troops opening fire on their own citizens.
The Atlantic has posted 50 beautiful photos on its website in a series called "Tiananmen Square, Then and Now," that should more than justify the five minutes it takes to look at them. I've posted five more of my favorites after the jump, but there really isn't a bad shot in the bunch. You might have seen many of them in the Boston Globe's "The Big Picture" in 2009 to commemorate 20 years since the military crackdown at Tiananmen, but they're worth seeing again. Cogs in something turning... they were all childs of God.
Via Buzzfeed: "A monk prays for an elderly man who had died suddenly while waiting for a train in Shanxi Taiyuan, China." (H/T Alicia)