Monday, June 03, 2019

Six Four - Tiananmen 30th Anniversary

Tiananmen May 1990
June 4, 1989 is just called by the date in Chinese.  Like 9/11.  It's 六四  liù sì.  It's the date the Chinese army cracked down on the Tiananmen Square (and much more of Beijing) protests.

Here's a new article by the then LATimes Beijing bureau chief.

I watched the 1989 Tiananmen uprising. China has never been the same

"From the windows of a deserted coffee shop at the Beijing Hotel, a few hundred yards east of Tiananmen, I could look toward the square and see several hundred soldiers forming lines across the capital’s broad main street. In front of the hotel was an angry and brave crowd of a couple thousand Beijing residents. These protesters were furious at the army for shooting its way into the city center, tanks and armored personnel carriers smashing obstacles, soldiers spraying bullets at crowds blocking its advance. Now I watched as the soldiers periodically fired into this crowd.
For me, what the Chinese call simply “June 4” — a date that fundamentally shaped today’s China — had begun the previous evening.
I was the Los Angeles Times Beijing bureau chief then, and had overseen the newspaper’s coverage of the pro-democracy protests since they began in mid-April. The Times’ team had been taking turns staking out the square, and my shift was to begin at midnight. Before leaving home late on June 3, I learned that the army had begun smashing its way through crowds several miles west of Tiananmen."

You can compare Steven Holley's account with others on the scene at the time in this post I did three years ago about the meaning of the term 'iconic photo' that examines the context of the Tank Man photo, which Holley discusses in this article.   Holley's account seems pretty consistent with what I found out doing that post.

I'd note that I arrived in Hong Kong for a year's sabbatical about one month after Tiananmen and was able to talk to several people who had been in Beijing at the time.  I didn't get to Tiananmen until May 1990 when I took a group of Hong Kong students for a study tour.  We had to go in May because people were worried that something might happen on the first anniversary.

Here's a very different recent China story I found the other day and put into a draft post until I could find some related posts.

China reassigns 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in bid to fight pollution

"China has reportedly reassigned over 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in a bid to combat pollution by increasing the country's forest coverage.
A large regiment from the People's Liberation Army, along with some of the nation's armed police force, have been withdrawn from their posts on the northern border to work on non-military tasks inland.
The majority will be dispatched to Hebei province, which encircles Beijing, according to the Asia Times which originally reported the story. The area is known to be a major culprit for producing the notorious smog which blankets the capital city."


  1. FYI

    Congress passes resolution commemorating the event and Senate has agfreed to it.

  2. My US Senator (Sullivan) tweeted: "The government’s brutal display of force resulted in the wounding, killing or imprisonment of an unknown number of its own citizens. We remember the Chinese people’s courage and sacrifice and will continue to stand with those who strive for freedom. #TiananmenSquare #Tiananmen30"

    I replied I agreed it was bad, but he can't do anything about what happened 30 years ago, but as a US Senator he can prevent children from dying in detention camps on US soil now.

    And here's your link, with a link:

  3. Thanks for the link, Sir. As for children dying in US custody, the Drumpf body count of kids is at least 6 -plus a Trans woman died this week in custody, too.

    Over 200 cases of sexual assaults and only one person charged as well. America can and has done better.


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