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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora