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Jun 04

On my way to school, I saw beautiful flowers

Written by: BMY | Filed under:politics | Tags:, ,
228 Comments » newest 2013-08-24 12:51:15

admin’s note: As Nimrod commented in an early thread, “the tankman photo was a snapshot …, the whole incident is a lot more powerful than the snapshot; in the same way that the whole 1989 movement makes a more powerful statement than the snapshot of 6/4.” Previously, we posted personal accounts of students from Tianjin or Shanghai to give readers a taste of the spread, both in terms of time and space, of the 1989 student movement. Today, we post an account from a student in Beijing on what he saw on that fateful day 20 years ago. Needless to say, the views on the movement among the participates have diverged and shifted considerably over the past 20 years. However, the raw emotions we felt on that day, shock, anger, confusion, and above all, profound sadness, are afresh in our minds on this anniversary.

My Daughter, who is in the first grade, was reading her homework to me, “On My way to school, I saw beautiful flowers. Some flowers were hanging on stems …”

“That’s very good” I said.

“Others felt on the grass after a thunderstorm, but they are still beautiful” She continued.

“Yes, they are.”

Every life is a flower. Twenty years ago, in the morning of June 4th, I saw flowers fell.
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May 20

A recollection of the 1989 student movement in Tianjin

Written by: kui | Filed under:General, politics | Tags:, , ,
225 Comments » newest 2013-06-27 00:46:21

admin’s note: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement. No matter what your view on this subject is, what happened 20 years ago is no doubt an important piece of Chinese history. As Zhu Rongji, former Chinese premier minister, then mayor of Shanghai, famously said, on June 8, 1989, “No one can cover up historical facts forever, and the truth will eventually reveal itself” (历史事实是没有人能够隐瞒的,事实真相终将大白).

Many people are interested in the events happened on the Tiananmen Square. While undoubtedly it was the epicenter of the 89 student movement, we should not lose sight that large scale demonstrations happened in many other cities too. To almost any college student at that time, 1989 was a life changing year. Previously Eugene recalled his experience as a student in Shanghai. Here is an observation and reflection from a student in Tianjin (天津), the closest major city to Beijing. This post was emailed to me by kui (thank you very much!). I took liberty to  modify the original text slightly. I hope more people of the ’89 generation will come forward and share his/her experiences and thoughts.

I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.
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May 08

Sorting fact from fiction – Tiananmen revisited (Part 1)

Written by: MAJ | Filed under:Analysis, politics | Tags:,
201 Comments » newest 2015-06-03 15:10:04

Foreword

The following piece is the first installment of a two-part essay that explores the tumultuous events that occurred in Beijing during the spring of 1989. The essay is divided into seven sections, the first three of which appear here in Part I.

The first half of the essay provides a brief outline of the economic and social setting from which the movement sprung, and questions the motivations and organisational characteristics of the student movement in general.
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Apr 15

Spring 1989 in Shanghai – A Memory of the ’89 Student Movement

Written by: EugeneZ | Filed under:General | Tags:,
122 Comments » newest 2015-02-25 05:13:20

One year ago, Buxi asked me to write something on 6/4, and I did not get around to do it, but promised that I would do so this year, the 20th anniversary.  At the reminder of Admin a few weeks ago, I started to think about this “action item”.  I pulled out a diary/report that was written within the weeks after 6/4/1989,  the report was 50 some pages long.  It did not have any dust on it since it has been sealed in an envelope.  Twenty-year is a long time, the paper has turned completely yellow-ish, but reading through it still brought out a lot of emotion and a lot of memories.

After some thought, I decided that the best way to write about 6/4 is to simply translate parts of the 20-year old diary for it truthfully recorded what a 22-year old student experienced, observed, heard, thought, believed and felt at the moment.  Twenty years has gone by, the author, like most of the 6/4 students, has moved on and has since lived a more or less fulfilling life unrelated to 6/4. Along the way, he has learned a few things,  has had opportunity to reflect upon the past, and his political views may have evolved along the way.  But in memory of the 1989 student movement, I felt that the best thing to do is to trace back to the time as it occurred.  I am sure that we will then have a discussion as to how we look at the events in Spring 1989 today.

So here is – Part I, from April 15th, the day Hu Yaobang died, to the day of hunger strike.
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Mar 07

Chas Freeman’s view of the dominant view on June 4th in China

Written by: DJ | Filed under:General | Tags:,
180 Comments » newest 2009-03-17 11:10:07

This post is perhaps a bit ahead of its proper time since the 20th anniversary of June 4th is still about three months away. Nevertheless, the recent chatters in the blogsphere made me check out the background of Chas Freeman, Obama’s choice as the head of the National Intelligence Council, and his comment concerning June 4th. Well, it’s kinda difficult to keep on skipping through posts concerning Freeman, about whom I knew absolute nothing, when James Fallows decided to jump into the fray with a post titled “A fight I didn’t intend to get into: Chas Freeman“.

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Jun 05

Six Four: A simplistic view

Written by: DJ | Filed under:Letters | Tags:
20 Comments » newest 2009-06-14 01:48:48

This one-liner also comes from MITBBS.

In the end, it was simply a case of an immature government using immature suppression tactics against immature students. It could have been no big deal if rubber bullets and high pressure water canons were used instead of [the guns and tanks].

就是一个不成熟的政府对一些不成熟的学生动用了不成熟的手段进行镇压,要是换成橡皮子弹和高压水枪,估计屁事没有.

Jun 05

Six Four: 1989 and Falun Gong

Written by: DJ | Filed under:Letters | Tags:,
39 Comments » newest 2008-06-11 00:12:59

This article is another one coming from MITBBS. Because the original post at MITBBS seems to have been edited into a truncated version, the full Chinese text is presented along with the translation.

To be honest, it seems out of place to discuss 6/4 and FLG together. But after seeing the “antics” of FLG followers in the last few years, I cannot help reflect on the way the government handled 6/4.

说实话,把六四和FLG放在一起似乎有些不合适,但近年来F LG在全球范围内的“表现”不由得引发了我对当年政府处理“六四”的方式作一点思考。

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Jun 04

Six Four: The early morning bus

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:
1 Comment » newest

This poem comes from a different forum, WanWei.  It’s written by a student remembering his escape from Six Four.

how I spent tens of hours on the edge of life and death, I was already
unable to remember clearly, but

the “pai-pai” sounds of the assault rifles I could remember;
the bright purple flames of fire from the assault rifles I could remember;

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Jun 04

Six Four: Remembering the victims of Six Four

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:
8 Comments » newest 2008-06-09 12:28:01

This article comes from another self-professed moderate “middle” general. He views the government and the students in a negative way, but most of his criticisms are aimed at the government for the violent suppression.

Let’s take the recent topics of debate, one by one:

1. Why should we commemorate Six Four?

This was supposed to be the last topic, but after finishing I decided to move it to the beginning. I want to use this article to memorialize all of the students, average city folk, and soldiers who died 19 years ago. They are all innocent, and there were no Six Four winners.

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Jun 04

Six Four: Glad the student movement didn’t succeed

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:,
115 Comments » newest 2008-06-18 06:35:14

This article comes from a self-described moderate who wasn’t old enough to participate in the Six Four movement. Instead, he’s one of many of his generation who is “glad” the student movement didn’t succeed. Some “old generals” of the movement might refer to him derogatorily as “young” and “immature”… but keep in mind, this man is now in his mid-30s, and has lived in the United States for 10 years. It can be argued he represents the mainstream opinion.

I went to university in 1991; I’m not an old general or a young general.

1. Even as early as 1992, my opinion was that the Six Four student movement should not have been allowed to succeed. Primarily because of a comparison against the Soviet Union.

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Jun 04

Six Four: A shift in attitudes

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:
48 Comments » newest 2008-06-08 06:10:03

After translating numerous other perspectives, here is my take.

It’s hard to say what a “moderate” position on Six Four should be. In the early days and years after Six Four, it’s no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of Chinese were united in a single consensus: the students were heroes, and the government had behaved like fascists.

But as the years have moved on, as China’s economic and social development moved on from those early failed chaotic days… life has gone on, and attitudes have gradually shifted. I think this is perfectly understandable. Remember, the college students of 1989 are now approaching their 40s. This year’s entering class of university students were not even born during that fateful summer. The man who stood with Zhao Ziyang as he apologized to the fasting students on the square, now happens to be the beloved Premier of China.

Today, 19 years later, there’s a wide range of passionately held opinions. Many have argued that the goodness in today’s China would not exist if the student movement had succeeded; others argue the badness in today’s China would not exist if the government hadn’t suppressed the student movement. I can start by describing what the extreme positions are; these may be “extreme” in attitude, but it’s no exaggeration to say that many Chinese support each side. (Remember the “What kind of Chinese are you” quiz..?)

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Jun 04

Six Four: A Personal Memory

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:
6 Comments » newest 2008-06-06 23:55:38

This woman participated in the Six Four protests as a young college girl. She will never forget her memories, including the terrible sights of violence and death. Fortunately, it has not marked her life or twisted her outlook. She has moved onto a successful career in government, eventually coming to the United States to study and work.

In 1989, I was studying at a university in Beijing. I personally experienced the marches, the fasting, and all of the important events on the square. I’m going to briefly talk about my background. Everything below is my personal experience.

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Jun 04

Six Four: The person I admire the most is myself

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:,
36 Comments » newest 2008-06-08 10:46:41

It is early June, and the minds of many Chinese again return to the tragic political upheaval of 1989. Over the next few days, we will translate a number of messages that tries to capture our conflicted feelings towards that violent summer.

This message also comes to us from MITBBS; the translation is below.

Of course, in the face of all those who died… whether students, city people, or People’s Liberation Army soldiers… I don’t dare claim to be superior.

I was always participating in the marches and protests, but I never lost my ability for independent thought. Although, I was still too young, and wasn’t very clear what I should’ve been considering… regardless I was there at the critical juncture. On the night of June 3rd, with the help of others I rescued two soldiers, and helped bring them to a safe spot.

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Jun 04

Six Four: A rational review of history

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:
13 Comments » newest 2008-06-06 09:35:59

It is early June, and the minds of many Chinese again return to the tragic political upheaval of 1989. Over the next few days, we will translate a number of messages that tries to capture our conflicted feelings towards that violent summer. We especially welcome submissions from those with first-person memory of 1989.

This article comes to us from MITBBS, and represents just one of many personal opinions. Because of the great depth and well considered tone of this article, however, it has gathered great support (and of course criticism) from many other readers. I describe this opinion as the moderate view, embraced by many Chinese who have reviewed all of the historical material on this issue… without actually being personally involved.

During 6.4, I was in Beijing. I wasn’t an adult at the time, but I witnessed the entire process, and saw part of the actions of both the students and the government sides.

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Jun 03

Six Four: He Xin’s 1990 speech at Beida

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:, ,
18 Comments » newest 2013-05-18 11:04:00

It is early June, and the minds of many Chinese again return to the tragic political upheaval of 1989. Over the next few days, we will translate a number of messages that tries to capture our conflicted feelings towards that violent summer. We especially welcome submissions from those with first-person memory of 1989.

He Xin (何新) is a noted Chinese scholar from the ’80s, variously labeled as “neo-conservative” or “ultra-nationalist” by Western analysts. Before and after June of 1989, he was attacked from both the left and the right: the left accused him of fomenting a coup alongside the students, and the right attacked him for being a “running dog” of the Communist Party for opposing the protests.

Below is a translation of the speech he delivered to the 1990 graduating class at Beijing University. He was received in a very hostile way, but spoke candidly of the reasons why he opposed the Tiananmen protests. Everything from this transcript is interesting; keep in mind the timing of the speech, and the (hostile) reactions of the Beida crowd… it gives us a flavor of China during the late 80s. Nineteen years later, a significant number of young Chinese believe He Xin made excellent points about the protests.

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