Perhaps it was in the strictest sense an unlawful gathering; maybe they were naive. But the people who were assembled in Tiananmen Square on this day in 1989 formed a cross section of Chinese society. From farmers to teachers, students to shopkeepers, and factory workers to intellectuals, all were looking to their government to fulfill the promises enshrined in the very name of the country; the People’s Republic of China.
Indignant towards widespread corruption and angered by the staggering indifference of a party elite more interested in their own private power squabbles, the People came together to ask for a better tomorrow. Nineteen years later most of them have their wish.
None of those gathered were enemies of China. Not one of the hundreds, possibly thousands, who fell that night needed to die. None of the parents who came looking for their children the following morning deserved a bullet in the back. It didn’t have to end that way.
The Chinese people have come a long way since then, so too their government. Now is the time to allow free discussion of a pivotal moment in Chinese history; a time to recognise that nations with a wish to be viewed as peaceful, tolerant, and responsible cannot bury the dark episodes of their past. China wouldn’t allow other countries to do that. It’s time for China’s leaders to hold themselves to the same standard.
Tiananmen on this day nineteen years ago is a demon locked inside the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. They should be allowed to talk about this. It’s time.
Light your candles.
It’s a little late in the day for an edit, but one of my favourite bloggers is back and offered this round up of J4 coverage in the Chinese blogosphere.