Kiwi Polemicist

June 4, 2009

• Tiananmen Square: 20 years after the massacre nothing has changed

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I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the Chinese massacred hundreds or thousands of protesters in Tinananmen Square.

Calling it a “square” probably conjures up the wrong image: it’s the biggest city square in the world at 40.5 ha or 100 acres. It’s 880×500 metres or almost the area of 63 rugby fields and contains such delights as a brutalist mausoleum containing the embalmed body of Mao Zedong and the Monument to the People’s Heroes. It’s in the centre of Beijing, next to the Great Hall of the People (where China’s farcical version of a parliament meets) and is across the road from the former imperial palace, commonly known as the Forbidden City. So it’s a place loaded with history and symbolism that’s able to hold a great many people. It’s believed that a million people gathered there for the June Fourth Movement of 1989.

As we all know, the Communist Party of China didn’t like these protests so sent in troops, tanks and so forth to ensure that the people Party retained control. What has been interesting is how the Party has reacted on the twentieth anniversary. There’s a huge police and/or military prescence, they’re keeping journalists out, and dissidents have been effectively placed under house arrest. Below there’s a link to a tragicomic video where security staff are trying to block BBC cameras with umbrellas – and that’s outside the Square.

The events of 1989 do not appear in textbooks and children born around that time or afterward know little or nothing about it (see link below). I am reminded of the Memory Hole in Orwell’s 1984.

Twenty years after the massacre nothing has changed because truth, free speech and freedom of association clearly remain persona non grata in China. On the bright side, all these security measures indicate some trembling on the part of the Party, which rightly fears the people because only a government that is truly a servant of the people has no need to fear them.

Interesting links:

What are your thoughts regarding the events of 1989 and today?

Related post:


There is no such thing as “human rights”: a classical liberal perspective on the Electoral Finance Act

(Click on the photo for a larger size) View from the Tiananmen Gate of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) looking south over Tiananmen Square. In the centre of the square is Mao Zedong's mausoleum (tomb) and to the right is the Great Hall of the People. Photo from Wikipedia.

(Click on the photo to enlarge) View from the Tiananmen Gate of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) looking south over Tiananmen Square. In the centre of the square is Mao Zedong's mausoleum (tomb) and the Monument to the People's Heroes. To the right is the Great Hall of the People. Photo from Wikipedia.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Related post: Tiananmen Square: 20 years after the massacre nothing has changed […]

    Pingback by • James Cameron on China « Kiwi Polemicist — July 8, 2009 @ 1:58 pm


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