Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remember Tiananmen Square

 Photo taken on June 5, 1989, by Jeff Widener (The Associated Press).


This week, particularly June 4th and June 5th, is the 24th anniversary of The Tiananmen Square Massacre which took place in Beijing, China in 1989. Thousand of students and ordinary Chinese citizens demonstrated for democratic reforms. They were met by armed soldiers and tanks sent by hard-line Communist party officials. Then the unthinkable happened. The tanks and troops opened fire on the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators, killing and injuring perhaps thousands of people. We will never know just how many demonstrators died that day, as China suppressed all information and kept this incident from its own people, and continues to do so today. Young people in China do not even know that their fellow students and countrymen gave their lives, so that others could enjoy the freedoms of democracy.

There were, however, numerous remembrances in Hong Kong, which even though an autonomous region of China, does enjoy some freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Memorials and even the mention of the event is strictly forbidden in
China. As far as China is concerned this brutal incident never happened. Some human rights activists in the US called for the US government to adopt a stronger stance on the issues of human rights in China. The US has called upon China to come clean with the massacre, to divulge the number of those killed and injured and stop the harassment of those who took part in the demonstrations and survived. Naturally, as it always does, China called this an interference in its internal affairs. Chinaspeak for "we have the right to torture and kill as many people as we wish in order to keep the Communist Party in control".

This is a tragedy that could very well be repeated it China's Communist party feels threatened again in the future. With China's new found wealth and growing economic power, we can rest assure that the US and the Western powers will say as little as they can. Money trumps democracy and human rights, regardless of what we and our European allies may say for local news consumption.

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