Speaking truth with power.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Anniversaries: Tienanmen

Twenty years ago today, a young man made history by standing in front of an on-coming tank in Tienanmen Square. The tank tried to go around him and he stepped in front of it again. This moment remains as the quintessential image of a horrific chapter in China's recent history, where (at least) hundreds lost their lives, and democracy took a giant step backwards. Nobody knows what happened to the kid in front of the tank, but the image remains.

And so today, on the 20 year anniversary of this horrible day, China shut down a number of websites, including, Twitter, Hotmail and Flickr. (YouTube has been down since March.) And in an act of political suppression that would make Mary Poppins proud, they've dispatched a number of undercover police officers... with umbrellas. No. Seriously. Umbrellas. Whenever a foreign reporter tries to broadcast from the square today, a group of umbrella-wielding goons block out the shot.

Say what you want about the bullshit ways America commemorates 9/11, but at least we are allowed to talk about it. At least we can discuss and dissent and speculate. The next time you think this government is fascist, go ahead over to China's google.cn and type in Tiananmen Massacre. Sure, you get a few hits, but nothing even remotely resembling that awful event, or for that matter, the truth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't disagree that the mainland government is being awfully silly about this, but I don't really see how that'd have anything to do with 9/11, since the American government obviously didn't cause it to happen.

June 4, 2009 at 10:03 PM


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