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.
Details are still being sorted out, but a jeep crashed into a crowd in front of the Tiananmen Rostrum around noon today, leaving three dead -- "a driver and two passengers," according to Xinhua. Tourists and policemen were reportedly also injured.
Every year, millions of Chinese and foreign tourists swarm the country's national symbol, the Gate of Heavenly Peace -- Tiananmen. But few know that the current gate is actually an imitation that was only built 43 years ago.
On Friday, the opening night of Cirque du Soleil's three-night performance of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour in Beijing, a highly sensitive image was displayed on the giant big-screens above the stage in Wukesong MasterCard Arena: the Tiananmen Tank Man. As first reported by a local magazine, then excerpted by Shanghaiist:
Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma (Yun) was interviewed by South China Morning Post last week, and in an article published Saturday, dropped this nugget of a quote:
"I made cruel decisions when thousands of Alibaba’s customers were involved in fraud, and when we adjusted Alipay’s structure. As the CEO of a company, you have to do that. It’s like Deng Xiaoping, the then top leader, had to make cruel decisions during the June 4 crackdown for the country’s stability."
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”
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.