Post-mortem of Tiananmen Square Massacre’s 15th Anniversary

Over at CNN, human rights attorney and columnist Joanne Mariner offers a sober wrap-up article on last week’s anniversary. Of greatest interest to me were its summaries of interviews with four of the student leaders. Especially this one:

Zhou Fengsou, a physics major at the time of the massacre, was never prosecuted for his role at Tiananmen Square. But after years of monitoring and police harassment, he finally left China for the United States.

He told Human Rights Watch that the protests at Tiananmen Square were “the biggest event” for his generation. “I feel lucky to have been a part. It was the one time I experienced the beautiful character of the Chinese people longing for a democratic China where we could freely speak our minds. We believed we could get there. Later I experienced the worst of human nature. People died.”

She closes on an idealistic note, and someone had better caution her not to hold her breath.

The horror of the killings at Tiananmen Square resonates both inside and outside of China. While memories of these events cannot be excised, they can be properly addressed.

Not only should the Chinese authorities publicly acknowledge responsibility for the killings, they should punish the perpetrators, compensate the families of the victims, and allow those who fled the country afterwards to return home.

Pigs should fly. John Ashcroft should tell the truth. Alas, not in this lifetime.

Other posts about Tiananmen Square:
Tiananmen Square revisited
Tiananmen Square re-revisited
The story behind the Tiananmen Square “tank man” photo

The Discussion: One Comment

Yeah, that idealism needs to be tempered. One thing I noticed about the anniversary was the lack of tension here. On the day itself I had coffee with my Chinese teacher- who was a student at the time- and the subject never came up. Mostly us foreigners talking about it. It’s going to take a few more years yet, I feel.

June 10, 2004 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

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