Reflection and Remembrance Ahead of 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Protests

  • As the Tiananmen Square protests’ 30th anniversary approaches on June 4, former students who led the movement reflect on mistakes made and lessons learned.
  • Though many protesters have moved on since the protests, others are just as committed as ever to bring democracy and bring an “end to corruption and for a more open and fair society” in China.
  • Former protester Wu’er Kaixi was the Chinese government’s second most-wanted for his participation in the movement and said, “sometimes remembrance is one of the most humble forms of resistance.”.
  • After seven weeks of students protesting, the military came in to squash the resistance, which resulted in hundreds and possibly thousands dead.
  • One former protester said: “But we have to learn the lesson, that even though we had these large numbers of people on the street, we didn’t know what we should do. We should have asked the military to overthrow the regime.”
  • He added: “I’m quite optimistic about the democratic future of China, but I have very little hope that (President and Communist Party leader) Xi Jinping can learn from Chiang Ching-kuo. I think the totalitarian (Communist Party) regime is totally different from an authoritarian regime like the (Nationalists).”
  • Each year ahead of the anniversary, Chinese authorities ramp up efforts to curb a repeat of the protests. This year, dozens of people have already been detained.
  • An activists group said: “This year’s pre-June 4th crackdown continues a 30-year long campaign by the Chinese government to try to erase the memory and rewrite the history of the bloody military suppression of peaceful unarmed protesters and residents of Beijing and other cities on June 3-4, 1989.”

Reference Links

  • AP: Tiananmen veterans look back on movement’s mistakes, passion READ
  • The Christian Science Monitor: Tiananmen Square: 30 years later, what it means to next generation (audio) READ
  • The Guardian: Tiananmen Square protests: crackdown intensifies as 30th anniversary nears READ

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