Wow!! Tiananmen Square didn't happen!

The Chinese tyrants don't tell the children what happened in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago!

Wow!! The kids in China now don't know about what happened in Tiananmen Square! I remember so guy on the street defying a military tank. And instead of the tank commander killing the guy, he let the guy stand there. A blow for freedom.

Normally the people that put on the protest at Tiananmen Square would have been quickly murdered by the government rulers and the protest covered up.

But because there was some type of event going on in China there were reporters from all over the world. And when the Tiananmen Square even happened they covered it. And so it was impossible for the Chinese rulers to keep the rest of the world from knowing about Tiananmen Square.

Of course sadly 20 years later while the rest of the world knows what happened at Tiananmen Square, the Chinese children still don't know what happened.

I remember the events very well. I had finished up my job at Honeywell and was going to soon start my new job at Motorola in Scottsdale.

I was going to move out of my Phoenix home and rent it, and I would soon buy another home to buy in Tempe.


Web-savvy & cynical: China's youth since Tiananmen

By ALEXA OLESEN, Associated Press Writer Alexa Olesen, Associated Press Writer – Sat May 30, 10:28 am ET

tiananmen square tanks KAIFENG, China – Twenty years ago, on the night of June 3, rumors were flying about an impending military crackdown against demonstrators in Beijing. That's when Feng Shijie's wife went into labor in his hometown, Kaifeng.

The baby born the next morning, June 4, is now an undergraduate at Kaifeng University. After class, he plays games online or shoot hoops at a campus basketball court. He can list the latest Hollywood releases and NBA stats. But he knows next to nothing about the pro-democracy movement that ended in a bloody crackdown the day he was born.

"My parents told me some incident happened on Tiananmen Square on my birthday but I don't know the details," says Feng Xiaoguang, an upbeat graphic design student in faux Nike shoes and an imitation Prada shirt.

Xiaoguang is one of China's 200 million so-called 'post-1980' kids — a generation of mostly single children, thanks to the one-child policy, born on the cusp of an unparalleled economic boom. Aged between 20 and 30, they are Web-savvy, worldly, fashion-conscious — and largely apolitical.

Asked what kind of reform the Tiananmen students were after, Xiaoguang says he doesn't know.

"Did it have something to do with the conflicts between capitalism and socialism?" he asks.

It would be hard for him to know more. The subject is taboo. The demonstrations are classified as a counter-revolutionary riot and rarely mentioned in public. Textbooks touch on them fleetingly, if at all.

Few young people are aware that millions of students, workers and average people gathered peacefully in Beijing and other cities over seven weeks in early 1989 to demand democratic reform and an end to corruption. They are not told how communist authorities finally silenced the dissent with deadly force, killing hundreds.

Chinese leaders today argue that juggernaut growth and stability since the early 1990's prove that quelling the uprising was the right choice. Indeed, young Chinese people are materially better off now than they have perhaps ever been, with annual income per capital soaring to about 19,000 yuan ($2,760) in 2007, up from just 380 yuan ($55) in 1978.

But the tradeoff has been that young Chinese have no real role in shaping their country's future — and may not be very interested in having one.

An official survey released this month found 75 percent of college students hoped to join the Communist Party, but 56 percent of those said they would do so to "boost their chances of finding a good job." The rest wanted to join for personal honor — 29 percent — while 15 percent were motivated by faith in communism, said the Internet survey of 12,018 students by the People's Tribune.

An accompanying commentary said students today are clearly "cold" about politics and cited concern from education experts about "extreme egotism" among the youth.

At Peking University, a hub for the 1989 protests, only one political group cracked the top 15 extracurricular clubs — the elite Marxism Youth Study Group, reputed to be good for career networking.

The generation that demonstrated on Tiananmen Square grew up surrounded by political discussion, scripted as it often was, and lived through mass movements that demanded full public participation, notably the tumultuous Cultural Revolution that ended in 1976.

But the 1989 crackdown put an end to most public debate on the topic of whither China. Few now risk serious political discussion even behind closed doors, with good reason.

Consider The New Youth Study Group, a short-lived club of young Beijing professionals that met privately to talk about political reform and posted essays online, including one titled "China's democracy is fake." Four of the members were convicted of subversion and intent to overthrow the Communist Party in May 2003 and sentenced to between 8 and 10 years in prison.

tiananmen square tank With this fear of political dissent, it's hard to tell whether young people like underground musician Li Yan are being shallow or shrewd when they shrug off Tiananmen. Li Yan, also known as Lucifer, was born in May 1989 and is a performing arts student in Beijing with a cultivated rebel image.

"Young kids like us are maybe just more into popular entertainment like Korean soap operas. ... Very few people really care about that other stuff," says Lucifer, before mounting the stage at a Beijing club to belt out "Rock 'N Roll for Money and Sex."

Tiananmen veterans read the reaction as apathy and lament it.

"All those magnificent ideals have been replaced by the practical pursuit of self-centered comforts," says Bao Tong, former secretary to Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party leader deposed for sympathizing with the 1989 protesters. "The leaders today don't want young people to think."

According to Bao, 76, China's youth are in the arms of the government being fed candy. They could continue this way if the economy remains strong and the government distributes wealth more equitably, he says, but he doesn't think either is likely.

Others say the reckless optimism of the Tiananmen era is the reason young people today lack ideals. The fearless naivete of 1989 serves as a cautionary tale, not inspiration.

Sun Yi's father was a Tiananmen-era dissident. In a self-published magazine in 1990, he openly criticized the crackdown and was soon imprisoned for speaking out. She admires her father but wonders if his sacrifices, a broken marriage and seven years in jail, were worth it.

"It was a really heroic undertaking, but still I feel he gave up so much, too much," says Sun, a 22-year-old engineering student in Sydney, Australia. "His voice was heard by some of the people but not many, not many compared to the population in China. Is that worth it?"

Wu Xu, 39, was a Tiananmen participant. His generation was plagued by insecurity, he says, and hoped that China could "catch up" to the West politically and economically.

"This generation is totally different," says Wu, author of a recent book about Chinese cybernationalism. "There is no kind of feeling of inferiority. ... They have had the advantage of the last thirty years of China's economic performance."

Wu contends that China's youth know more than they let on, and while they tend to be fiercely proud of their country they are also highly critical of their government. He calls them "a double-edged sword with no handle," because their opinions cut in many directions and are not guided by any single ideology or organization.

Xiaoguang, the boy born that June 4, bears out the theory. He criticizes the United States for the "inadequate apology" it made after a mid-air collision between an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet in 2001. He is angry at CNN for allegedly exaggerating Chinese military brutality against Tibetan rioters last year. Both views parrot the government. Later though, he scoffs at classmates keen to join the Communist Party and grouses about corruption.

His convictions are worn loosely, like a fashion, and have not translated into action. Like many Chinese people today, he appears satisfied with his hobbies, pop culture and other distractions.

He lives with his parents down a dusty dirt road in a simple concrete home. A grapevine snakes up a trellis in the courtyard. The family is supported his mother's monthly 800 yuan ($117) retirement pension and his weekend odd jobs.

In his bedroom, he can watch downloaded pirate copies of Hollywood films like "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with slapdash Chinese subtitles. At the same time, he texts friends on his Nokia phone and sends instant messages online.

His parents have scrimped and borrowed to provide their only child with these luxuries — 2,800 yuan ($410) for the computer and 500 yuan ($73) a year for the Internet connection — because he says he needs them for school.

An anxious scowl steals across Xiaoguang's usually cheery face as his father recounts the night he was born.

A debilitating stroke ten years ago has made speaking difficult. But, with help from his wife, Feng told how he dropped his wife at the hospital on the evening of June 3, 1989, then dashed to Kaifeng's Drum Tower where a crowd had gathered in solidarity with protesters in Beijing.

He spent an hour there and the experience inspired his son's name, which means light of dawn.

"His name has great significance. I had just seen China's dawning promise and possibility."


Tiananmen 20th anniversary brings new repression

Posted 6/4/2009 12:18 PM ET

By Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING — China aggressively deterred dissent in the capital on Thursday's 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square. But tens of thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mourn the hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators killed. The central government ignored calls from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and even Taiwan's China-friendly president for Beijing to face up to the 1989 violence.

In Beijing, foreign journalists were barred from the vast square as uniformed and plainclothes police stood guard across the area, which was the epicenter of the student-led movement that was crushed by the military on the night of June 3-4, 1989.

Security officials checking passports blocked foreign TV camera operators and photographers from entering the square to cover the raising of China's national flag, which happens at dawn every day. Plainclothes officers confronted journalists on the streets surrounding the square, cursing and threatening violence against them.

Tourists were allowed in Tiananmen as usual, though security officials -- paramilitary, police and plainclothes officers -- appeared to outnumber the visitors.

The repression on the mainland contrasted starkly with Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of people bearing white candles chanted slogans calling for China to own up to the crackdown and release political dissidents. It was the largest commemoration on Chinese soil.

Organizers estimated the crowd at 150,000 -- the largest rally since the first anniversary vigil in 1990 -- while police put the number at 62,800.

"It is the dream of all Chinese people to have democracy!" the crowd gathered in Hong Kong's famous Victoria Park sang in unison.

A former British colony, the territory has retained its own legal system and open society since reverting to Chinese rule in 1997. Those killed in the violence were eulogized as heroes of the push for democracy in China, their names read aloud before the crowd observed a minute of silence in their memory.

"It's time for China to take responsibility for the killings," said Kin Cheung, a 17-year-old Hong Kong student. "They need to tell the truth."

On the mainland, government censors shut down social networking and image-sharing Web sites such as Twitter and Flickr and blacked out CNN and other foreign news channels each time they aired stories about Tiananmen.

Dissidents and families of crackdown victims were confined to their homes or forced to leave Beijing, part of sweeping efforts to prevent online debate or organized commemorations of the anniversary.

"We've been under 24-hour surveillance for a week and aren't able to leave home to mourn. It's totally inhuman," said Xu Jue, whose son was 22 when he was shot in the chest by soldiers and bled to death on June 4, 1989.

Officers and police cars were also stationed outside the home of Wang Yannan, the daughter of Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party leader deposed for sympathizing with the pro-democracy protesters, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Wang heads an auction firm and has never been politically active.

In Hong Kong, tape recordings of Zhao recalling the violence of Tiananmen, used for his recently released posthumous memoir, were played during the rally.

In a further sign of the government's intransigence, the second most-wanted student leader from 1989 was forced to return to Taiwan on Thursday after flying to the Chinese territory of Macau the day before in an attempt to return home.

Wu'er Kaixi, in exile since fleeing China after the crackdown, told The Associated Press by phone he was held overnight at the Macau airport's detention center and that being denied entry on the Tiananmen anniversary was a "tragedy."

The student leader who topped the most-wanted list, Wang Dan, was jailed for seven years before being expelled to the United States in 1998.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton said in a statement Wednesday that China, as an emerging global power, "should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal."

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urged China to lift the taboo on discussing the crackdown.

"This painful chapter in history must be faced. Pretending it never happened is not an option," Ma said in a statement issued Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang attacked Clinton's comments as a "gross interference in China's internal affairs."

"We urge the U.S. to put aside its political prejudice and correct its wrongdoing and refrain from disrupting or undermining bilateral relations," Qin said in response to a question at a regularly scheduled news briefing. Qin refused to comment on the security measures -- or even acknowledge they were in place.

"Today is like any other day, stable," he said.

Beijing has never allowed an independent investigation into the military's crushing of the protests, in which possibly thousands of students, activists and ordinary citizens were killed. Young Chinese know little about the events, having grown up in a generation that has largely eschewed politics in favor of raw nationalism, wealth acquisition and individual pursuits.

Authorities tightened surveillance of China's dissident community ahead of the anniversary, with some leading writers under close watch or house arrest for months.


AP Writers Min Lee and Dikky Sinn in Hong Kong contributed to this report.


Police deter Tiananmen anniversary observances

By Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY

BEIJING — Chinese police swarmed Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Thursday to deter any attempts to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators that left several hundred dead and injured. Events to mark the June 4, 1989, massacre were held in Hong Kong and cities around the world, but China's state-run media stayed silent on what remains a highly sensitive anniversary for the ruling Communist Party. The spokeswoman for the Tiananmen Mothers group for relatives of victims of the crackdown was prevented from public mourning in Beijing, according to the Associated Press, and one exiled student leader was blocked in an attempt to return home.

Police stopped foreign journalists from entering the square, one of the world's largest public plazas, where blue-shirted officers appeared to outnumber tourists Thursday. Hundreds of plainclothes police also monitored the square and streets nearby.

"I was surprised there were so many policemen on the square, and I don't know why there were that many" said tourist Li Hongbo, 43, visiting from Shaanxi province. When informed of the anniversary, Li said he had heard of the "rebellion" in 1989, as the party described the demonstrations, but said there had been few protests in his native city Hanzhong.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Thursday attacked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's demand a day earlier to account for the dead and missing as a "gross interference in China's internal affairs." He told reporters that "on the political incident that took place in the 1980s, the party and the government have already reached a conclusion."

The government's highly effective control of information has been extended in recent days with the closure of social-networking and image-sharing websites such as Twitter and Flickr. When foreign TV channels such as CNN and BBC World aired stories on the anniversary, the screens blacked out for the length of the reports.

Wang Xiaoxia, 23, a major in Chinese at the Beijing University of Technology, said "I know little about June 4th because I can't find useful information. I care about politics, and I think time will bear everything out. I am not upset about the blocked website, because every country has censorship. In the future I want to become a teacher, and then I will encourage my students to have their own thoughts," she said.

One Chinese state-run newspaper, the recently launched English edition of the Global Times, did publish a related story Thursday, entitled "Prosperity tangible along Chang'an Avenue", Beijing's central axis, where the tanks of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) crushed protests two decades ago. The piece quoted Chinese academics praising the government for maintaining stability and pushing economic growth.

In the Chinese language press, however, "there is a pronounced and consistent effort to deflect attention away from this anniversary," said Russell Moses, a Beijing-based American political scientist. "There is not a shred of evidence that any serious or sustained rethinking of the event is underway. What one sees in the Chinese language press is praise for the close relationship between the party and the PLA. This is a clear signal that this is not the time to re-evaluate the events of 1989," he said.

China prevents several former leaders of the pro-democracy movement from returning to China, as well as placing restrictions on their family members traveling abroad. One prominent exile, former student leader Wuer Kaixi, was blocked Wednesday from returning to China when he was stopped trying to enter the southern territory of Macau after taking a flight from Taiwan.

"The only option left to see my parents is to turn myself in and be arrested," Wuer said Thursday by telephone from Macau airport before being deported back to Taibei where he lives.

His parents, who live in Urumqi in China's northwest Xinjiang region, have repeatedly been denied passports to travel, Wuer said.

The former student leader, once No. 2 on the government's "most wanted" list, also said his attempt to return home was a bid to have a dialogue with the Chinese government that was denied on the square. "It's been 20 years and it's about time to sit down, even in a courtroom, and hear what they have to say about what they did 20 years ago," said Wuer, who vowed to make a series of attempts to enter Chinese territory.

Former philosophy professor Ding Zilin, spokeswoman for the Tiananmen Mothers group for victims' relatives, had planned to mourn her teenage son Jiang Jielian on Wednesday night on the spot where he was shot dead on June 3, 1989. Ding was prevented from leaving her home, according to the AP, and could not be reached by telephone Thursday.

"Through lies and repression, the government has shut the eyes and the mouths of the Chinese people, but can they sustain their cover-up of the truth in the long-term?" Ding, 72, told USA TDOAY in an interview Monday.

"I am confident the truth will come out one day, although I may not live to see it. And the truth will be like an earthquake for those who realize they have been tricked for so long," she said.


A final repost: Remembering June 4th and Tiananmen Square

9:00 pm June 3, 2009, by Jim Galloway

Twenty years ago, tens of thousands of students were camped out on Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, in the final days of a democracy protest that would end with tanks and armored personnel carriers rolling onto the scene.

At my Facebook site, I’ve posted 50 or so photos that I took during the protests. The colors are slightly faded, and the negatives were dusty, but they’re worth looking at. Most have never been published.

You’ll see nothing from the violent night of June 4th. My wife brought these rolls of film out a few days before the crackdown.


Former AP Photog Who Shot Tiananmen 'Tank Man' Recalls it 20 Years Later

By Joe Strupp

Published: June 03, 2009 11:55 AM ET

NEW YORK Twenty years after the famous Tiananmen Square uprising and the dramatic image of a lone protester in front of a line of rolling tanks, one of those who captured the image recalls well the June 5, 1989, event.

Former Associated Press photographer Jeff Widener recalls the moment he photographed the historic event in a pair of blog posts.

First, for BBC News, here, then at The New York Times Lens blog, here.

Among his comments on the Times blog were his thoughts during a recent return to China:

"My unexpected 20th anniversary return to Beijing was filled with emotions. On one particular day, I recall walking down a very tranquil tree-lined boulevard by the American embassy. As I strolled through Beijing's Ritan Park and sniffed that pleasant wood burning smell of Asia, I found it hard to imagine such hell took place on those streets two decades earlier."


Other Stuff