News / Asia

On The Scene: Despite Government Silence, Tiananmen Not Forgotten

Despite Government Silence, Tiananmen Not Forgotteni
X
June 04, 2014 4:57 PM
The 25th anniversary of the Chinese government's brutal and bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square passed quietly in Beijing Wednesday, but for some it was not completely forgotten. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
William Ide
— The 25th anniversary of the Chinese government's brutal and bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square passed quietly in Beijing Wednesday, but for some it was not completely forgotten.
 
Tiananmen Square and the wide avenue that leads to it were both eerily quiet on the anniversary, with police out in force and very few visitors. Each year, the government goes out of its way to make sure that little is said or heard about what happened here in the spring of 1989.
 
Authorities blacked out international news channels whenever the anniversary was reported throughout Wednesday. Programming resumed when the reports were done.
 
State broadcasts focused on official meetings, a growing wheat harvest in the north and the environment among other topics.  The anniversary was absent in state media, although the Global Times ran an editorial.
 
On Freeweibo.com, a site that shows censored posts from China's social media, it was clear the anniversary was not forgotten.
 
But what about residents in Beijing, what do they remember or think? To find out, we took to the streets. Given the government's hypersensitivity during the anniversary, we let their feet do the talking.
 
Many like youths were unaware of what happened and some asked in what country?  Others remembered events more clearly.
 
"In the morning, I was in Beijing near that very place and then later in the afternoon I heard that the tanks and troops had come into the city," he recalled. "It was terrifying."
 
Some, too young at the time, heard details later from others. "They said that Tiananmen Square was filled with students and that later there was blood everywhere," she said.
 
The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to silence talk of the anniversary this year, throwing several activists in jail, just for discussing the topic in private.
 
On the streets, few were aware of the arrests ahead of the anniversary.
 
Attitudes about the level of personal freedoms in China ranged from glowing support to apathy.
 
"Look at all the foreigners who come here and bring their families. They wouldn't be here if it wasn't free," said one woman.
 
"It's true that there's no freedom, but that is the reality. Living in this country you need to just follow the rules and make sure your basic needs are met," added one man.
 
"Whatever the Chinese government says, goes. Society today is no different from the age of emperors in the past," another woman clarified.
 
"There will always be those who are not satisfied with the government. But what most people really care about is living their lives in peace," a man added.
 
The Chinese government said that it has already delivered a verdict on the political turmoil of the late 1980s. It also said there are no dissidents here, just lawbreakers.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NY
June 05, 2014 10:47 AM
The Chinese Communist Party is trying to erase & change history and keep Chinese people ignorant about the Tiananmen Massacre. All dictatorships & tyrants censor news and information to prevent their people learning the truth about the regime. The CCP fears the truth & the Chinese people. That's why they won't allow any discussion about Tiananmen. But truth can be buried but not destroyed as it always rises again like a phoenix.


by: CrowdAlbum
June 04, 2014 5:23 PM
See 1800+ photos from the Tiananmen Square Vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong: http://alpha.crowdalbum.com/album/538f41bc1f68ef0ac40006c4/Tiananmen-Anniversary-Vigil_20140604

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid