Last year was the 25th anniversary of the “June 4 Incident,” as it is officially known. State security went full bore over the ultra-sensitive date, harassing journalists and activists, detaining anyone who sneezed on the subject.
There are those moments when you feel the weight of history pressing on you -- that awestruck realization that a great moment happened here, and now you're bearing witness. Maybe you've ducked into a tower while on the Great Wall. Or you're standing just inside the Lincoln Memorial. The thing is, I never expected to have that feeling while standing in my basement, squinting up at an unidentified roll of film. But that's what happened to me last Sunday, as I was searching through an old shoebox from my parents labeled "photos."
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?"
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.
This notice has been going around Twitter and Facebook all day, so it's likely you've seen it, but we want to hear from the students in Beijing -- what happens if you say no to this "study tour" that "all foreign students have to attend"? Drop us a line.
As the US and EU prepare to levy economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Russia's leaders may be growing desperate to find support wherever they can. On Tuesday at 12:14 pm, the official Sina Weibo microblog of the Russian Embassy posted a message that, in no uncertain terms, sought Chinese empathy. There was one big problem: the post contained a remarkably tone deaf reference to the "Tiananmen Incident," i.e. the 1989 student protests in Beijing that resulted in a violent government crackdown, i.e. the one event that no one here is supposed to talk about.
Wu'er Kaixi, who fled China following the 1989 student-led protests at Tiananmen, reportedly flew into Hong Kong this morning via Taiwan and is pleading with authorities to extradite him to face trial on the mainland.