Sunday, June 04, 2006

4 June 1989

It’s seventeen years after that eventful day on Tiananmen Square, Beijing. And the international media is surprisingly quiet about the anniversary. Have people begun to forget what happened then, and what is still happening in China? Even BBC Online, where every year there’d at least something about the events, is keeping quiet. All there is is a small link to “On this day”—symbolic of how Tiananmen has become just another date in history.

In China Tiananmen is still a taboo topic, and a term that cannot be found on internet web searches. Economic growth and improvements may have taken place in all those years, but political and individual freedoms continue to be suppressed. Just last year police opened fire on and killed villagers who were protesting about the meager compensation they received for their confiscated land. This is a regime that lies to its people and the rest of the world, and claims that ideas such as freedom and democracy are alien to the Chinese.

But the voices of dissidents are still there, if only you searched for them.

“The Chinese leaders are also well aware that their authority is anchored in fear, and they know they must maintain this fear if they are to keep their grip on power.”

But doesn’t liberal economic theory teach that with economic prosperity the middle class would rise and usher in democratisation with demands for greater political participation?

“The Tiananmen Square Massacre just goes to show that clinging to the idea that economic development will change things in China is little more than wishful thinking on the part of people with their heads firmly in the ground, ostrich style.”

There are plenty of other human rights violators in the world, so why is this important in the global context?

If the dictatorial regime in China reaches superpower status, it will certainly constitute a threat and bring disaster to the world. In this regard, China's human rights situation is an issue that concerns not only all Chinese, but the whole world. Only a few people around the world have realized this. It is of paramount importance that we make the whole world aware.”

Human Rights in China offers some touching first-hand accounts by people who were there on 4 June 1989. Meanwhile a group know as the ‘Tiananmen Mothers’ are still campaigning for compensation and an official public review and apology from the Chinese government, under the slogan: “Speak the truth; Never forget; Seek justice; and Call on conscience.”

Here (Tiananmen Square, 1989: The Declassified History) is a fascinating source of information on events behind the scenes.

Here is a comprehensive (but gruelsome) picture gallery of the days after the ‘incident’.

UPDATE 8 juni 2006 blocked by China.

I said already when Google and other companies launched their cooperation with the Chinese government: give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. China-based search engines set up by the likes of Google and Yahoo are simply a way to “sideline” other search engines that contain what the Chinese government labels as “sensitive material”.

What a great way to “celebrate” the anniversary of the Tiananmen ‘Incident’!

Click here for a list of “Press Predators” compiled by Reporters Without Border:

There are instigators and powerful people behind press freedom violations whose responsibility is not always apparent. Whether presidents, ministers, chiefs of staff, religious leaders or the heads of armed groups, these predators of press freedom have the power to censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and, in the worst cases, murder journalists

1 comment:

itchingjo said...

I was wondering also why I didn't see any bigger protests or speeches concerning Tiananmen Square in Taiwan this year..