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.
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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs