She has been in the states for several years now and when she found out what really happened with our even blurry images and stories we have now it really changed her perspective on things.
Even though its 28 years old, many of the younger generations don't know a thing about what happened, regardless if it's censored in their country or not.
History should not be censored like this. You should not have to move out of country to know what your country has done. I am extremely grateful for the brave photographer preserving his images for the world.
Other interesting pieces of media:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gate_of_Heavenly_Peace I think does a pretty good job at covering a highly controversial event. Providing its own interpretation of what lead to the protests as well as what escalated and its aftermath. (And when both sides of a controversy complain about "bad coverage" of their side then I consider it worth watching/reading ;))
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMUjsbSAZv0 Cui Jian Live at Tiananmen Square in 1989, performing for the students on hunger strike. (Cui's a rock and roll pioneer in China, who was later banned for many years for his support of the student protests)
*Edit: What I find fascinating now is I will see American Idol type of singing shows where the young contestant walk on stage and cover "A piece of red cloth", which Cui sang during the protests to allude to the youth being blinded by the government's promises and became an anthem for the protest. But the contestant likely had no idea what happened at Tiananmen Square nor what the song was alluding to...
At least, that's China's (and Russia's) narrative.
I still think Western reporting likes to sprinkle in a few words to demonstrate their distaste for communism and authoritarianism (even when unnecessarily) whenever possible. But above all I think I just learned to be skeptical -- a useful trait for this current election cycle ;)
To be fair I think for the people that are much older who have spent their life dedicated to the proletariat struggle, the truth may be a lot harder to swallow. On the other hand, the older folks aren't blind either. Most will have some idea that there are devious things happening behind the curtain -- but Chinese as a culture has always promoted collective harmony over individuality. So most simply accept the way things are.
Same goes with their space station. The only coverage went to their previous one that is leaving orbit into earth.
I know that this is a small sample size and only related to their space program as well as my personal observations, but its really hard (for me at least) to say that the USA media does not have a negative bias towards China
That's not true at all. For decades the mainstream media has been reporting about how China has been industrializing at a remarkable pace, and how the life of the average person there is vastly more free than it was under Mao.
But it also reports on the negatives like net censorship and widespread corruption. On the whole, I think the US mainstream media gives a much more balanced picture China than does China's own media.
I agree the reporting has been getting better.
Again, this is my personal bias and I live in the Mid-west so it may be different elsewhere
You can't force ordinary people to care about every single space exploration mission. It doesn't impact their lives.
(action starts about 1 minute in)
Regardless wether people care about those things(a lot don't), it's part of our education and media. I think the claim is Chinese history classes in china and their media are a bit more rose colored than ours, which is why people don't know about tiananmen square.
What are you talking about? Americans definitely care about what in the past, but you can't change things that happen in the past. The country, unlike China, is very open about the cracks in its core. There's a huge monument to MLK on the mall in DC. Can you say as much about Tienanmen Square?
There's a big difference. In the US we've been educated about atrocities against natives since youth. We learned about the Trail of Tears. You know about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre if you've watched Gandhi, a piece of Western film and entertainment.
That's incredibly different from the state overwriting or hiding history.
In 1995 I went to visit college friends in Austin TX (I'm from eastern Canada) and a few of them who had grown up in Buda TX (a small town outside of Austin) told me that until high school (late 80s) they had been told in school by multiple teachers that the US had "won" the Vietnam War.
Obviously an anecdote, but there you go..
I think the very best example of this (major, shocking news event unknown internally by US citizens) is the Iran Air flight 655 incident, wherein a US Navy cruiser shot a civilian airliner out of the sky, killing 290 passengers:
This airplane was flying in Iranian airspace. The Navy cruiser was in Iranian territorial waters.
You don't run into too many people in the US that know about this ...
In school I learned about Japanese internment during WWII, The 3/5ths compromise and the trail of tears, and a dozen other US atrocities. I hear about drone strikes against weddings in the news.
The point is there is no institutional censorship stopping me from learning about this stuff, like there is in China with regards to Tienanmen Square.
My dad always described Vietnam with a little head-shaking regret (he was born in Texas in 1957, so he was too young to be drafted, but we had family friends in the war). We didn't hear about it much in elementary school, but in middle school history classes we learned about the Gulf of Tonkin and the smoke and mirrors surrounding that, and why the war was so difficult and controversial compared to previous wars. In high school I had more in-depth modern American history class, studied the social repercussions of the war, the Kent State shootings, the protests, etc.
I'm not sure if it's the chronologic difference or the geographic distance, but not every schoolchild in the US learned "we won the war."
Pretty much applies everywhere.
As a shortwave listener back in the day, the invasions of Grenada and Panama were widely broadcast ~8-12 hours everywhere before a peep showed up in US media. Iran-Contra and many other US actions were not uncovered by domestic media, they were exposed by foreign journalists.
People think they're better informed or more worldly after the internet. Surely that explains why the only two US media pundits who got any airtime opposing the Iraq War were Michael Moore and Paul Krugman. You have to watch RT to see someone like Chomsky even today.
That's nonsense. The US media is far more open and accurate than that the majority of nations, and far better than China.
> the only two US media pundits who got any airtime opposing the Iraq War were Michael Moore and Paul Krugman.
No, there was intense debate in the mainstream media. I know, I followed it.
I live in Tasmania. Couple years ago I met a philosophy graduate from Germany who didn't know who Pol Pot was.
How can a person go through a four year liberal arts course at a Western university and manage to evade such knowledge.
For the younger people they can't just search "tank man" on youtube in china and find out what happened, because either A: they have no idea what tankman even is or B: the video is censored. These images, just like the ones my fiance found years after she moved to the states will circulate and hopefully find more minds to make sure we don't forget this horrible event.
and for people familiar with Beijing massacre, they know that many gov officials joined people
China is a vast country with mostly poor, uneducated people -- especially so in 1989.
Look at what happened in Syria. Look at the Arab spring. Is it just to kill hundreds, to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands?
If the answer is no, never, I don't see how we can have states at all.
A question like that can often be used to justify extreme exercise of state power -- witness raids on armed vigilante groups in the US -- but that's not quite the right question in this instance, which was a peaceful protest for democratic reform. As you say "we don't know what would have happened" here (and of course the Arab Spring couldn't have been a cautionary tale as it was decades in the future).
So the question in this situation is really "Is it just to kill hundreds, to prevent a hypothetical bad outcome you can't possibly predict, can't prove and which even if it happened you could mitigate in other ways at that time?". To which the answer is palpably "no".
In fact, it's a hell of a stretch to say oppressive dictatorships ever carry out actions like this "for the good of the many". They generally just carry them out to maintain their grip on power, which is an end in itself for them. But not one that justifies massacre, in the main.
EDIT> Or are you saying that peaceful protest could be met with some perhaps token concessions. Then if the protesters get violent, the state is justified in using violence?
Imagine an alternate timeline in which the Syrian government opened up dialogue with the protesters and negotiated a new constitutional convention. There is no reason they could not have chosen to do that. But here you are advocating the kind of extreme response that in Tiananmen 'only' lead to decades of despotic rule but which in Syria culminated in nerve gas attacks in civilian areas.
Let me express a doubt about this kind of explanation, that seems more fit to put the blame squarely on the bad guy rather than understanding what happened. When protests turn so easily into a civil war that tears a country apart, it probably means that there are lots of people ready with weapons and military training, and that the government's response maybe hasn't been hard enough to prevent it.
Violent suppression and murder of peaceful protesters is simply not justifiable. Violent protesters, maybe. Riots against people and property, ok. Peaceful protesters, no. When you have an already violent situation sometimes countering the violence with violence is the only option. But instigating violence where there currently is none is IMHO clearly wrong.
There were actually some leaders with sympathetic and liberal movements in the times that led up to (and during) the TS incident, but afterwards the Chinese government either forced them to toe the party line or removed them from power. Their unwillingness to allow peaceful dissent, their massive overreaction, and their blatant suppression of the facts and of the expressions of grief afterwards have certainly fixed the governmental direction for quite some time. Hardline censorship and oppression supporters got more power, while those opposed got purged or learned to stay quiet. The government policy was at a crossroads until then, but they doubled-down on a surveillance state.
A government that straight up murders citizens during a peaceful protest and then refuses to let them talk about it for decades after has a huge effect. It's not just on the leaders in power, either. Even if they don't get the whole story, the Chinese populace is quite savvy about what can and can't be talked about. Most people will stand up for what they think is right when the risk is relatively small. TS reflected that, with academic elites being openly honest about their opinions about the state and future of the country. China was changing a lot and they thought there was finally a chance for a dialogue. But it was made quite clear that non-violent protest will be squashed and you will quite possibly be murdered or smeared for speaking a contrary opinion - even if it's out of patriotism.
It drove all dissenters into hiding or out of the country, leaving an empty playground for military and political power seekers who had no problem with heavy-handed retaliation.
> Curious how the extreme violence of the Chinese response in Tienanmen is responsible for the continuation of the government politics; while the same extreme response in Syria would be responsible for tearing apart the country.
The thing in common is that, rather than listen to their citizens, the government chose suppression and murder. The citizen reactions in both cases are hugely different. But the source of the problem isn't different - an oppressive government. We don't shame people who back down when the alternative is death or civil war. It's an understandable choice. But we do shame people and governments who literally can't tolerate dissent without military might. Especially if they won't let you talk about it afterwards. Resorting to military might is a sign of political weakness, not strength.
I am disappointed to see this, but I am not surprised. It is hardly "legal" to take a different stand here on this particular issue.
We can't know what happened to people in Dimension X, but we know that you aren't supposed to kill your citizens in our home dimension.
Hence, let's stop discussing it as a success.
This is something that Americans generally won't agree with, because their foundational myth is closely tied to the revolutionary war. Conveniently this war was a very long time ago, so one doesn't have to feel the personal consequences of it when using aphorisms like "you need to fight for your freedom".
Btw, the Canadians eventually got their independence without a war.
>> In the long term, it's better to be alive than to be dead.
That's short term in my opinion. Long term could be hundreds of years. Generally these things don't happen in a generation. There is often some civil rights violations, followed be peaceful protesting which turns violent, followed by war, and then when it's in both sides interest, peace talks.
As someone from a country effected in this way I can assure you 'you need to fight for your freedom' is not an aphorism. In some cases it's necessary - to a degree. Unfortunately once violence begins it's very difficult to stop again before much more damage than was ever necessary is done. However in the long term (hundreds of years potentially) it can put an end to an evil which may have only gained in strength and oppression otherwise.
> If the answer is no, never, I don't see how we can have states at all.
You're talking about an innocent 100 people right? To save an innocent 1000. Like some sort of hostage situation?
I say no, it's not just. It's wrong to kill except in self defense.
So how does that imply we can't have a state? Can't the state use the same principle? Kill only in self defense?
E.g. Okay, we violently suppressed this protest for the greater good (we claim), but let's not forget the victims. We'll erect monuments. It's on us now to remember them and to make the future worthy of their sacrifice.
Would that incite more rebellion, or pacify a lot of the populace. Yeah, we did it. It was harsh. But it was necessary. You'll thank us in 20 years.
It's inhumane to continuously turn a blind eye to those who crush civil disobedience.
Because of that success, there is not much anybody can do about human rights abuses, so most people don't pay much attention to it.
China isn't the only country that has that issue.
(where lots of people seem to remember specific things, like Nelson Mandela dying decades ago, that didn't happen), but the joke might have fallen flat even if you got the reference.
This crowd is too damn serious.
I have a vague memory of CCTV(official media, not your backyard CCTV) footage that depicting students and other people as mobs and killing soliders and burning the dead soldiers body.
Over the years, I got more and more piece of information about what happened at the time. clearly Chinese government is still trying to cover up what they did, and many exiles is still making up fake stories.
Nowadays in China people don't really care that much as you thought they would. The general consensus is that they are willing to forget about what happened and move on since it's full of opportunities right now and most people are more focused on getting a better life.
Not saying Chinese government was right they knew what happened was shameful and still forbids open news covfefe or discussion about it. In a booming economy it's just hard to mass up enough momentum to really get into a discussion about what happens in 1989, people just don't care anymore.
Do they? Are pro-democrasy protests allowed today? Or would people be shot again?
For those people I'd like to point out that unlike China, America doesn't actively try to hide the negative sides of its history to the extent China does. I can read about the Kent State shootings all I want, along with the My Lai Massacre, the Trail of Tears, American involvement in Central America or the Middle East, etc..
It is in fact sad that China depends on the West to expose the darker sides of its past, and then claims Western negative bias whenever we do.
The United States has a long list of historical human rights abuses, starting with the legacy we inherited from Columbus of enslaving and murdering the local populations and continuing up to a laundry list of problems we still have today. They were wrong at the time, they are wrong now, and we should really work to not keep committing large or small scale atrocities, and redress what past crimes we can.
But that doesn't change the wrongness of other countries human rights violations, and doesn't mean that they shouldn't stop what they're doing and redress what they've done. The US or every other country being wrong doesn't give them a pass to be wrong also. We shouldn't wait for one pure leader of one untainted country to arise and call us out on our actions before we repent.
 Peter Thiel, Immortal Sea-King of Sealandia, obviously.
> the city settled into an uneasy peace, and decades of virtual silence about the events were held. It was not recognized in the Tulsa Tribune feature of "Fifteen Years Ago Today" or "Twenty-five Years Ago Today"... The first academic account was a master's thesis written in 1946 by Loren L. Gill, a veteran of World War II. But it did not then receive circulation beyond the University of Tulsa... [In 1996] the chamber of commerce decided to commemorate the riot, but when they read the account and saw photos gathered by Ed Wheeler... they refused to publish it. He took it to both major newspapers, which refused to handle it. His article was finally published in Impact Magazine, a new publication aimed at a black audience, but most of white Tulsa never knew about it."
No worries then, in 48 years China will acknowledge what happened at Tiananmen, and in 2078 Beijing will get a lovely new park.
And what do you say about Russia. Internet censorship is not all for hiding, there are many different ways to hide information, some of which the western countries are actively practicing, and I feel the situation is getting worse and not better over time.
Exactly, people seem to forget that we're so comfortable here that we (I mean the majority) just couldn't care less. Every once in a while, we'll hear about some atrocity in a war we're in half way around the world, complain about it on Reddit and just forget about it the next day. We can sanction smaller countries about a list of human rights we created, but it's next to impossible for a smaller country to impose any sanctions on us thus making the US virtually unaccountable of anything.
The gov does not have to fear the populace here but that is definitely not the case in a developing country.
Yet we rarely see this in the same context as these actions continue to be pursued aggressively with little resistance from citizens in the west.
This seems to a very selective form of morality in practice more at ease judging others than examining our own actions.
Tiananmen is past and beyond but the loss of life and destruction of entire countries that puts millions of lives in disarray in the middle east is here and now and continues unabated yet there is little pressure on our leaders to cease these actions from citizens. No western leader is tainted with the kind of moral reprehension directed at the Chinese inspite of far more serious crimes against humanity. There is a definite dissonance here.
There was a recent story about an academic study of the methods of in-China Party shills (I forget the link). By my skim they were more about distraction and noise than obvious pushing of the party line.
Likely in China during that period of time, the high level struggle for power also happened in BeiJing. In China the reformers of the time didn't win.
The reason such history is heavily censored, is precisely for this cause. Such thing will never be freely available, as long as the social structure and political system works in the same way.
Maybe someday we'll stop China from censoring Wikipedia.
Tiananmen square massacre is mislabeled event, more people died in other parts of Beijing than average in the square, so more appropriate name would be Beijing massacre or what Chinese use 6/4.
People who died in square were pretty much suicidal since they were warned to leave and were told to leave even by their own protester leaders.
It should be always mentioned that wife of current hard liner president Mao 2.0 She Gin Pimp was singing at that time to murderers in square.
Overall not sure why are media so obsessed with this event were few thousand people died instead or mentioning millions who died thanks to glorified Mao. It's pretty good trade-off with DXP for most of the Chinese compared to trade-off gained with Mao.