Tiananmen and the Squares
so, according to the BBC,
China has reportedly freed the last activist still jailed for “hooliganism” relating to the Tiananmen Square democracy movement of 1989.
Liu Zhihua was freed in January, but news of his release has only now been confirmed, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, a US-based pressure group. Mr Liu had been jailed for life for leading a strike at a factory. His reported release comes two weeks before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests.
The events on June 1989 are still considered a highly sensitive topic by China’s Communist authorities, and the anniversary is unlikely to be publicly marked in mainland China.
oh yeah? Is that so BBC?
Well, yes it is Commodore Superboy. You see Mr Liu was one of several workers who were given long jail sentences for organising industrial strikes.According to Dui Hua, he was accused of inciting crowds with anti-government speeches.
nah shit! seriously? thats just the kinda spirit we need here, BBC, even if we have a Kanye-listening american President!
Indeed, intrepid blogger. The strikes were linked to weeks of student-led pro-democracy protests in the spring of 1989. Six weeks into the protests, tanks and troops were sent in. Hundreds – possibly thousands – of people are believed to have been killed, but the government has never allowed for a full accounting of the events.
Wow. Thanks for the update BBC. Sometimes I forget that students can rise up against more than just their campus cafés serving bollocks coffee and making college branded t-shirts overseas in places like… well china.
Actually, speaking of students marching and Tianamen, thousands have marched in Hong Kong to mark the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen killings, in one of the few such events on Chinese soil. Patra Li Yim-tung was a newborn when Chinese students were camping out for democracy on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and were crushed by the tanks of the People’s Liberation Army.
so, that makes her like WAY too young for me to date. right? what are the social norms over there? You know, come to think of it, I just found out that my buddy Adrian is dating someone who, straight up, graduated high-school in 2006. Two-thousand and SIX, BBC! I was scandalized at first, especially cuz Adrian is a tiny bit older than me, but then I was like… I ain’t tryin ta be judging my friends and junk. Consenting adults and all that. Actually, thats off topic. Tell me more about this Patra…
Yes, lets see… Now a journalism student at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the 20-year-old believes her generation should know and care about the events of 1989. “We found we were not familiar with what happened and many others did not know either, and we wanted to arouse their consciousness,” she said.
Thats what i’m sayin! She’s even got good politics and stuff. Did she seriously say “arouse their consciousness”? I think you misread that, BBC.
BTW, this is gonna make me sound like a jerk and a seriously questionable geographer, but… where exactly is Hong Kong? I mean, in relation to the rest of China and the Sea of China and Taiwan and all that?
oh look at that.
The young master was asking about Patra? Yes well, as a vice chairperson of the university’s Social Sciences Society, she helped organise an exhibition on campus featuring a series of panels explaining what led up to 4 June violence, and its aftermath. For many older residents in Hong Kong, the narrative is well known: the death of the reformist Chinese communist leader, Hu Yaobang, sparked emotional memorials to him and to the idea of reform. Against a backdrop of political turmoil as communism fell across a swathe of Europe, Chinese students began camping out on Tiananmen Square.
Students went on hunger strike, demanding dialogue with communist party leaders about reform. Some believed they could change the world, according to certain accounts. Then on the night of 3 June and into dawn on 4 June, tanks rolled in to the city and soldiers killed at least several hundred unarmed civiians – the exact figure remains unknown. Contrary to popular short-hand, the massacre did not take place primarily on Tiananmen Square but in the approach roads in western Beijing.
Okay, well you didn’t have to be all artsnob hipster condescending about that last bit, BBC. Sorry, sorry. This is kinda interesting. What else?
The protest camp was not comprised solely of students either. Workers’ groups were part of the movement from its inception and several witnesses and analysts argue that the resulting crackdown was sparked by the ruling party’s fears of a workers’ uprising.
Students at HKU are determined the events won’t be forgotten.
More than 90% of those who voted in a recent student union poll agreed that the Chinese government should “vindicate” the democracy movement.
The students want Beijing to reverse its verdict that the movement was “counter-revolutionary”.
“This is a strong public outcry among students in Hong Kong for the Chinese government to be held accountable,” said Vincent Fok, council chairman of the HKU students’ union. The level of activism has surprised some observers who have noted that Hong Kong schools do not teach recent Chinese history.
Yet Hong Kong’s separate history as a British colony with a tradition of freedoms unknown on the mainland has given it a special place in the debate.
Andrew To, now a vice chairman of the League of Social Democrats, a feisty pro-democracy political party here, was head of the Hong Kong Federation of Students in 1989.
He went to Tiananmen Square to express solidarity with the movement, organised sympathy hunger strikes and marches back in Hong Kong, and has been a leading member of the Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China ever since. This alliance organises the annual commemorations of the Tiananmen events in Hong Kong every year and believes 1989 matters.
“This was the first time Hong Kong people were concerned about the future of China and of democracy in China. They knew today’s China would be the future of Hong Kong,” he said. That concern remains real in Hong Kong today and if recent events on campus are any guide, the concern could be multi-generational.
Boy does that make me feel like anything but badass…
whaddaya say we carve out some spheres of global-justice influence?!
Fck Sht uppps,