Surveillance

Chinese Amnesia on the 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square

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tiananmen square martyr standing in front of a tank
Credit: Voice of America

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the tragedy at Tiananmen Square—when hundreds, maybe thousands of pro-democracy protesters were slaughtered by tanks and soldiers as they rolled into the site where the student-led protest was taking place. 

Even today, most Chinese people are completely unaware of the events that transpired on June 4, 1989, due to rigorously controlled education and strict surveillance of the Internet by the Chinese government.

Two summers ago, I travelled to China to teach middle school children English. While I was unfamiliar with much of their culture, I was most shocked to learn that not a single one of my students had any idea what happened at Tiananmen Square.

Louisa Lim, an NPR correspondent and author of The People's Republic of Amnesiatold USA Today that just 15 out of 100 students at four top universities in Beijing could identify the events surrounding the famous tank photo when it was shown to them.

Reason named the unidentified tank man as one of our 35 Heroes of Freedom

The Tiananmen Square martyr. By putting his life on the line in front of his government's tanks, he provided not only one of the most memorable images of the last 35 years but one of the most inspiring too. The free China of the future owes him a statue or two.

The Chinese government has implemented measures leading up to the anniversary to ensure that they keep this secret out of the minds of their people. Tech news site CNET reported that access to Google has been shut off for several days leading up the anniversary and that other domestic search engines in China have been censored more than usual.

The Chinese government's attempts at censorship do not end there though. The Guardian has reported that about 50 people have either been detained or disappeared as the anniversary neared. Others have been put in prison with long sentences for organizing a private memorial gathering.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on Baby-Burning Drug Warriors

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  1. It’s old news, move on!
    /progderp

    1. Dude, that was, like 25 years ago.
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-GUjY…..0/DUDE.png

    2. There must be a way to blame Bush.

      1. Who was US president at the time?

    3. At this point, what difference does it make?

  2. Chinese women do not drive well in parking lots!

    Just testing my login problems with H&R.

    1. Racist!

      Chinese Asian women do not drive well in parking lots!

      I fix for you!

      1. you been here four hour; you go now.

    2. The young 1/2 Korean woman I used to work with went through a car a year for 10 years. Mostly she totaled them. Her version was always that somebody else was at fault. Maybe so, but she never used her turn signals, and came up on congested entry/exit ramps like a James Bond movie stunt driver.
      One car was lost because her husband put an “improved” air intake on her car and the old float valve wouldn’t fit it. When we had a flood, she ran through some high water and turned it into a short-lived steam engine. Very impressive.

      1. The parking lot of the Asian grocery market that we shop at is the most dangerous driving area you will ever see. It’s like those bumper car rides they have at kiddy fairs, only with Mercedes and Lexus SUVs.

        1. ADD: Asian Driving Disorder

      2. I grew up in a heavily Asian county; the worst drivers I see on the roads and the worst drivers among my friends are the Asians, and it’s not close. I’ve often wondered if it’s simply because their parents didn’t grow up in a car culture; my father was essentially teaching me how to drive since I was in kindergarten, and his father did the same for him.

        Asians, as immigrants from largely non-motorized societies, don’t really start driving until they get here, so they lack the mental reps that we take for granted and lack the instincts that natives acquire through this process. And because the driver education system (to the extent there is one) relies almost exclusively on the parents, these terrible habits get passed down from the fathers to the sons.

        Contrasting the Asians = bad drivers stereotype, my college roommate and his buddies (1st generation Filipinos) were all fine drivers, but they were, almost to a man, car-obsessed from the time they were twelve.

        1. Asians, as immigrants from largely non-motorized societies, don’t really start driving until they get here

          I’m not sure I agree. The streets of Bangkok are so filled with traffic that a 30 min drive takes 2 and 1/2 hours. My wife started driving motorcycles when she was 14. However, this was in an atmosphere of complete and utter lawlessness. No one in like 500 miles bothered to get a driver’s license, the police were only interested in getting their bribes…so no enforcement of traffic laws, etc.

          1. This. We were never allowed to drive in Manila or Shanghai. It was assumed that our law-abiding Western nature would get us killed. I probably saw 4 bicyclists get crushed in Shanghai alone over a month long period.

            Central America was nutty enough, just not as many cars on the road.

          2. Sure, now it might be. But was that the case 25-35 years ago when this generation’s parents were coming to the US?

            FWIW (probably not much), I recall in article in Automobile from about 2005 where the subject was driving in China. The gist of it was that all the drivers essentially drove like teenagers with learner’s permits.

        2. car-obsessed from the time they were twelve

          I hate cars, don’t own one, and my “driver education” came entirely from my older brother. But I can drive fine. It’s not rocket science. Something else is going on.

        3. I grew up in Hawaii. I developed a pretty big fear of driving.

      3. There was a Chinese family who sent their son to the small private school I used to coach at. One day on the way to practice I heard the principal’s daughter complaining that she would have to drive a half hour out of her way to pick the kid up for school every morning. Because his mom failed the driving test so many times that she had to wait six months to retake it.

  3. The Tiananmen Square martyr.

    Everyone else plays their word games, and this is my turn. I prefer
    The Hero of Tiananmen.

    1. I like this one too. “Martyr” implies that he is dead. But we don’t know that he’s dead. We just know that he is almost certainly dead.

      1. The wiki entry for him cites a number of sources that even the Chinese government may not know who he is.

        I like the description on the modern day street level view in wikipedia:

        Intersection two blocks east of Tiananmen Square, in front of the Grand Beijing Hotel, where a man once stopped traffic on a late spring day.

  4. Two summers ago, I travelled to China to teach middle school children English. While I was unfamiliar with much of their culture, I was most shocked to learn that not a single one of my students had any idea what happened at Tiananmen Square.

    Haven’t been to China, China came to me. The wife thinks being a doctor or engineer is practical, standing in front of a tank, not so much.

    1. I was most shocked to learn that not a single one of my students had any idea what happened at Tiananmen Square.

      You were shocked that the subjects of the Chinese Communist Party didn’t know about a horrible act of oppression and violence the CCP committed? Really?

      1. Chinese kids could pick Karl Marx out of a lineup of Karl Marx and six Comanche Indians in war regalia.

  5. Morning Nut Punch:

    Daily Puppycide

    1. This is personally why I don’t care for alarm systems. I have insurance for my stuff, and a dog for warning and a gun for defense if there’s a home invasion. I think alarms don’t really do anything, you’re better off investing the money in physical security or insurance.

      1. Seriously, I’ve got a 102 pound German Shepherd, guns, and ammo, what do I need an alarm for?

        1. To protect your dog, it seems like.

          1. By having the cops come in and shoot my dog when the alarm goes off? No Thanks.

        2. For when.you’re not there?

          1. The dog will protect from burglars, and won’t get shot by cops when the alarm goes off.

            1. That depends on the dog. I have seen Shepherds that run and hide when their owners aren’t around, even when on their own territory. In one case, a friend’s house was robbed while their Shepherd ran and hid from the burglars.

              1. Mine is well-socialized, and also very protective of his home and yard. There are only a very few people he knows very well that he will allow to enter if me or my wife isn’t home. I can’t imagine what the hell your friends did to their German Shepherd to make him behave that way, since they are instinctive guardians. Maybe just bad breeding.

      2. Yep. All an alarm is going to do is increase the chances of having the cops show up and shoot the dogs. I really don’t have anything worth stealing anyway, and if some creep breaks into my house, so much the better. We have several dogs, and they’d probably get a good meal or two out of your average-sized criminal. It’d definitely help with the cost of meat for the dogs!

    2. “I can’t speculate what’s not right, but something is truly not right.”

      Oh, go ahead. Give it a shot.

    3. Lane added that the dog’s blood was cleaned up off the floor, but that bullet holes remain in the wall and the futon Bullet slept on

      Tells me they shot the dog while he was in his bed.

      1. Or it crawled there after being shot once or twice and then they kept shooting it.

    4. Round Rock authorities say when they came upon the 120-pound Rottweiler named Bullet, the dog became aggressive toward them and made threatening actions.

      I don’t have a problem with shooting the dog per se, but when did you get his name?

      1. Round Rock authorities say when they came upon the 120-pound Rottweiler named Bullet, the dog became aggressive toward them and made threatening actions.

        I guess leaving the house to better assess the situation was out of the question.

        1. If said I just shot a 180-pound man named Guido, Detective Clouseau might wonder why I knew the victim’s name.

    5. Tom Magee ? 19 minutes ago
      Her alarm system is responsible for summoning law enforcement. You can’t blame the police for taking action against a hostile animal when the home owners security proxy called them to the scene and that is what they found when they got there.

      Tom Magee Arty9Ways ? 16 minutes ago
      I’ve never had a problem with law enforcement but I have had quite a few problems with hostile animals throughout my life. I wouldn’t think twice about shooting a hostile k9 these days. You do not know who has been training it to do what. Miami didn’t ban pitbulls because they are a genetic aberration. They banned them because idiots turn them into killing machines and allow them to roam the streets.

      1. ZOMG TEH PITBULLS!!!!!!1111111one

        Fucking pansy.

        Some jackass abandoned two Staffordshire terriers at the animal hospital where my girlfriend works. Hard to find good owners because of the media fear campaign mixed with the fact that there are bad apples out there looking for that kind of dog for all the wrong reasons.

    6. Lane said 8-year-old Bullet, who suffered from hip dysplasia, is not aggressive.

      If you’ve ever had a dog with hip dysplasia, you know just how stupid the idea that it’s a threat is. Damn things can barely get up without assistance.

  6. How many leftist fucks here in the U.S. have called for restrictions on freedom of the press and of free speech in general?

    This is why.

    What does Thomas Friedman have to say on Tiananmen day?

      1. I believe it’s Heroic Mulatto who can totally nail Friedman’s writings. it’s uncanny. And hilarious.

    1. Just curious, but with your posting pen name of Suthenboy, are you by any chance a neoConfederate Redneck?

      1. “neoConfederate Redneck”

        Yet one comment below you complain about others stereotyping.

        Brilliant.

        1. I remember you now. You are with “The South Shall Rise Again” militia.

          Have a nice day asshole. Consider suicide as an option so I can mark your file DSAF – Did Society A Favor.

          Fuck you, moron.

  7. I’m seeing a lot of racist remarks here against Asians. William Randolph Hearst would be proud. The only difference would be that Hearst was literate.

    1. Racist remarks you say? Written in a forum, not said, but written and read by others.

      1. Ram it up your ass, you racist shit bag.

  8. The posts on this article are a good example of the type of morons who use this site as a springboard to demonstrate their functional semi-literacy, and their anti-Asian racism in this case.

    The informative article by a Reason intern is about the events in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. The responses to it, for the most part, have nothing to do with the contents of the article.

    1. The responses to it, for the most part, have nothing to do with the contents of the article.

      You’re new here?

      1. Nah, its been around before. It just doesn’t rise to the level of our other trolls, which is really saying a lot.

        1. But he is performing a service, informing us of what raging anti-Asian racists we are. How else would I know?

        2. Once again, fuck you. Have a nice day down at the trailer park with your fucking Redneck buddies.

        3. Fuck you!

      2. “You’re new here?”
        Dipshit’s been hiding over in 24-7 for a while. He’s a tired lefty twit, tries to hide behind “they’re all bad!”, but it shows.
        Any criticism of the lying bastard in the WH gets a comment that ‘you aren’t President!’. Figure a mental age of, oh 10.

        1. Sevo,

          Is that really you again? Did you just fart? Anyway, thanks for another one of your bowel movements in print.

          Have a wonderful day you fucking moronic asshole. Keep on posting, because I always enjoy comments from abortions who lived.

          1. I think it’s Mary

            1. Well, I’m not sure, but it’s obvious I was a bit optimistic re: the mental age.

              1. The vitriol and the obsessive naming of long time commenters says Mary.

              2. Did you fart again, you low grade moron?

  9. just 15 out of 100 students at four top universities in Beijing could identify the events surrounding the famous tank photo when it was shown to them

    Nearly everything I have read about recent Chinese youth implies that they have been so successfully brainwashed since those days that any similar uprising is simply unthinkable now.

  10. Hold it just a bit.

    There was NO massacre at Tiananmen Square. The protest was broken up by the ChiComs and was ended WITHOUT a loss of life.

    The massacre was three miles away against – I’m trying to remember here – workers supporting the student demonstrations. I don’t know how or why that particular protest turned ugly.

    The Chilean ambassador, who witnessed the crackdown at T-Square, said at the time that there was no bloody violence or casualties.

    This was all confirmed by WikiLeaks.

    1. Yeah, and the Battle of Bunker Hill didn’t happen there, either.
      Did you have a point?

      1. Yes, my point is that no students were killed at T-Square, according to witnesses.

      2. No shit. Are you sure about that, asshole.

        1. Mongo|6.4.14 @ 11:45AM|#
          “Yes, my point is that no students were killed at T-Square, according to witnesses.”

          Yes, and it’s irrelevant.

    2. Pinch-hitting for the ChiCom propaganda ministry today…

      1. I read the WikiLeaks stuff on the incident. Western governments are happy to pin a ‘bloody massacre’ on those Red bastards.

        1. Mongo|6.4.14 @ 11:47AM|#
          “I read the WikiLeaks stuff on the incident. Western governments are happy to pin a ‘bloody massacre’ on those Red bastards.”

          Yes, the Chi Coms are famous for massacres, some of them (like this) bloody.
          I don’t care if it happened in the square or down the street a bit, and neither does any else outside of a pedant sophist.

      2. So the bloody massacre happened nearby. With the “Red bastards” as always being pants-shittingly terrified of looking bad & therefore suppressing any and all information about the event, it is hardly surprising that “the West” doesn’t have all the facts.

  11. If you read current articles on T-square, you will see that Western media outlets now frame the violence as happening “in and around T-Square.

    There are no photos or vids of any casualties in T-Square proper.

    Yesterday, a news outlet showed a photo of bodies with the location as being “near T-Square.”

  12. At the time, I remember the Chilean ambassador exasperatly state that there were no casualties or loss of life.

    WikiLeaks confirmed everything the ambassador had witnessed.

  13. Your entire first paragraph is false, Mr. Best. Even regular Wiki now says that nobody was killed in the Square and the label “Massacre” is falling out of favor with the media.

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