Events of the last week in Iran have been widely reported by the world press. Not long before, the press also reported on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989. Were these two distinct events reported in a similar manner or were they treated as different and unique events? Let’s take a look at each and see what we can find.
1) Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?
Based on the coverage I’ve seen, both governments were cast as being in the wrong and both protest movements as in the right. In the case of China, the government sent in tanks and used live ammunition to break up a protest movement that was alleged to have turned violent. Most of the reporters in the world press were located in or near the same area, and their reports reflected what occurred in that vicinity. Analyzes of this event in most cases pointed to the government as the culprit and the demonstrators as being victims and responding in a suitable fashion. Is this an accurate assessment? The Chinese government attempted to confiscate film of the event from foreign sources but those attempts were successfully evaded in most instances.
It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the mainland from July 1st.
There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.
1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers? Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
The Chinese government still attempts to restrict public discussion in China about the events surrounding the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Its real reasons for doing so can only be guessed at – its official stance on the matter is vague and unsubstantiated. However, the fact that it does at all is highly important.
The “Tiananmen Mothers”, a brave group of campaigners, have long called for an open discussion of and investigation into the circumstances concerning the death of those who were killed 20 years ago. They have done this despite the harrassment many of their members have received from the Chinese authorities. Last week they issued a fresh public statement, calling for an investigation. Continue reading »
The BBC has run an article by James Miles, its Beijing correspondent who witnessed the events of the 3rd and 4th June, putting across his memories of those days, as well as subsequent thoughts on issues like their reporting and how the protests are seen today. I have selected a number of passages from the larger article. Continue reading »
When Zhao Ziyang died on 17th January 2005, the Chinese authorities’ official response was muted, with a distinctly vague and brief obituary produced. Yet the fact this was all Chinese newspapers were allowed to publish, bar those in Hong Kong, and that online tributes were immediately deleted showed that the government knew Zhao’s importance was much greater than a handful of words. Continue reading »
As a readers of China blogs for quite some times, I’ve read my fair share of reports of Tiananmen being a taboo subject in China, and a sensitive terms that’s filtered by the Chinese government’s GFW (here, here).
But those reporting filtering/censorship seem to have categorically fell silent when it appears the term “Tiananmen 64” (in Chinese and English) is not being filtered. For what reason or motive, I don’t know – but there appears to be zero, I mean, ZERO follow-up on this appearant good news.
Anyway, here’re what appear to be uncensored search results from two major Chinese-language search engines:
With a jet-lagged baby, I thought this morning would be the perfect time to attend one of my favorite events in Beijing: watching the raising of the national flag on Tiananmen square. It is a daily ritual at sunrise, but always thrilling with its simplicity, elegance; I’ve only attended a few times (emphasis: sunrise), and always found it deeply moving.
Here’s a video, from 5/19, when the flag was lowered to half-staff to remember the victims of the Wenchuan earthquake: (Why isn’t it a video of my trip? Explanation below.)