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June 4th, 2009

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06:50 am - Ok, so here we go.
Now before I dig into it I'll post my disclaimer right up here at the top.  
- Yes, I'm biased.  
- Yes, this is subjective.  
- No I'm not some PhD doctor who has spent sleepless nights digging up academic journals on this issue.  
- Yes I've read some stuff on it (mostly from my uni textbooks and in the newspapers here since I reading Chinese is a pain in the a** for me) and heard some stuff (mostly from mom, family, friends of family many of whom were there in Beijing for it).  
- Yes, I like Deng Xiaoping.  
- Yes, overrall I think the CCP's not that horrific of a leading party for China.  
- No, I do not gain anything be it monetarily, materialistically, anything by saying I like the CCP overrall and generally support them.  
- No, I'm not a spy for the CCP (but I guess even if I was I can't say it so...yeah, lol).  
- No, I do not get paychecks in the mail from them.

Ok, we set?  Ready?  Well, I wasn't going to post on this since it feels like beating a dead horse (so the saying goes) but someone posted a fanart on the Hetalia community, someone on my f-list posted on it, and there's news articles on it in...well basically any news outlet you google up. BBC was first up on my list since I get its live-feed and can skim the headlines every morning (you can leave comments there too, just make a free account~);

Has China Changed After Tianmen?
They probably could have worded that title a bit better because seriously, what country HASN'T changed in the past 20 years? Least of all China who has seen immense double-digit economic growth which has brought with it so much change to that point it makes your head spin (I swear it's like you blink and there's a new skyscraper that just appears on Beijing's skyline).  The comments are great, and it's awesome to see comments from people (foreigners and Chinese nationals) from WITHIN China. Also, lol@ that one comment on James Reynold (BBC's Beijing correspondence) report saying that his report will be censored in China and the commentor saying he/she just watched the report and he/she's in China as he/she watched it XDD Oopsies James.

I used to actually read some of the news reports yearly on this, the ones from the major news outlets here like the National Post, Globe and Mail, etc. because they'd usually accompany it with a picture of TAM Square (and whenever there's a photo of China it always catches my eye), nowadays not so much. It's like THE annual anti-CCP Bash and all are welcome to join in the party. I wonder if it'll ever die down, I mean we don't see them (the medias here) annualling waxing poetics over things like the Kent University killings in the States or the War Measures Act called upon by Trudeau to such a degree (if ever, I didn't even know about Kent University until I watched a Taiwanese scholar bring it up while comparing it to the TAM Square incident just last year). I mean yeah the CCP's still got a hell of a stack of problems they need to work on, but geez, one incident 20 years ago and their fate is sealed that they're the nightmarish oppressors of the poor, innocent, Chinese people forever more and into eternity (or until whenever the part dissolves/collapses/dissappears).

Yeah, I didn't like that Deng brought in PLA soldiers who open-fired on protesters either. Who WOULD want something like that marring the history of their country? But my sympathies for those students/protesters are solely for those that lost their lives and the grief their families and friends now have to live with. Their cause itself, and how they went about demanding the government to concede to their demands I don't support, and to be honest I'm damn glad Deng had the brains not to try the overnight democratization that the former USSR did a few years later, causing their collapse (albeit that also ended the Cold War...so I guess that wasn't all bad, but it sucked for the people of USSR as their living standards plummeted). Yeah a couple hundred to thousand protesters were killed (depending on which reports you read) and like I said, my sympathies to their friends and family, but my suspicion is that if Deng HAD conceded to the demands a collapse of China would have resulted in a few millions dying, not unlike during the Great Leap Forward. 

Personally I think if Deng had come down harder on the protesters earlier on instead of waiting until they gained such momentum at the end they could have ended it with a few dozen deaths, if any at all (kind of like how the US government handled the Kent University thing). It's not as if Deng shut the door in their faces from the first day and said 'we're not talking to you!', they listended to the demands of the protesters, they said we'll think about it and asked them to leave. That's like, the best case scenario even over here. Hell if at any of our protests here a politician came out and said "we hear ya, we'll think about it" we'd be rejoicing and sounding the drums of victory. You can't have protests in China (especially cities like Beijing) gain momentum to the degree the TAM protests of 1989 did because it's insanely dangerous. There's a huge difference in the mentality of the protesters if there's a few hundred up on Parliament Hill here (which is seen as a pretty successful protest already) and a couple thousand to million squatting in TAM Square. Yeah comparative to the populations of each country they're not all that different, but each individual protester's mentality changes in those circumstances. I'd have a lot more gutso and confidence seeing a couple thousand to million other protesters around me than if there's just a few hundred, I'd be a hell of a lot more likely to let the mob-mentality overrun me in the first scenario. It's like one of those pressurized gas cans, the more pressure in the can, the more dangerous the explosion. This is one of the main reasons I don't think China will ever achieve the same level of 'freedom' when it comes to protests and such simply because of the sheer amount of people and the risk of having them get out of control at protests. Unless somehow the government can assure that every single one of those protesters will abide by the law during the protests and not be overrun with mob-mentality they simply can't run that risk because they can easily through large portions of the entire country into chaos. I heard near the end of the TAM Square protests the protesters had begun initiating plans to align with workers from Shanghai for them to strike too, to force the government into conceding into their demands. If that really was the case then I would say the government definitely got backed into a corner. I mean wth, even here we can protest but we all know for the government to make any changes even if our protests ARE successful they'd have to debate it back and forth in Parliament for days, months, if not years before anything gets done. We're not going to squat there saying "do it NOW, NOW, NOW or we'll paralyze the country until you do!", especially not for a demand as huge as changing the entire political and economic system.

I don't know, either way it sucks that it happened. Sympathies for the victims and friends and families of the victims, sympathies for the government for getting caught in that lose-lose situation (collapse of the entire country and throwing it once more into chaose vs. killing some of your own students/people). Hopefully it won't happen again, the last thing China needs these days is chaos. Peace and stability are the most necessary ingredients for China's development and growth. No development or progress can be made if there's turbulance and chaos galore. I'd like to see the government allow a bit more leeway when it comes to protests out in the public, but I'm not sure I have the confidence in the people to not take it too far. Maybe in a few more years when a larger percentage of the population enters into a middle-class range and can achieve a certain basic level of education that can be accomplished. If at every protest there's people looting and doing illegal stuff admist the chaos (and there WAS admist the TAM protests, especially near the end when workers and others joined the protest as a show of support to the students) I would be wary of protests too.

Oh, and no, the newer generations of Chinese people HAVEN'T forgotten about it, and yes, they know about it. They may not care, especially if they're born after 1990 (hell I wouldn't care if I wasn't so into politics either), but they know. In Chinese we call it 六四/six-four, meaning June 4th, if we didn't know about it and were all blinded by the government's censorship we wouldn't have a nickname slang for the incident. You say 六四/'liu si' to any Chinese and they'd all know what you're referring to. It's kind of like the open secret, everyone knows, the government knows we (and they inside China) know, we/they can discuss it amongst ourselves/themselves (I discussed it with my family when I visited China in 2005 too, no biggie, no one shushed me or them, no PLA/secret service came knocking on our doors, no one in my family dissappeared afterwards, I haven't received harassing phone calls from the CCP) the only thing the government censors is public rememberances of it, ie. news paper articles, tv broadcasts, more protests in TAM Square on this day in rememberance of this day, I think our news over here (especially that Epoch Times newspaper backed by FaLunGong that apparently is distributed internationally) makes up for it with our extensive, thorough (albeit biased) coverage though. If the Chinese government was smart they'd use Xinhua and CCTV to pump out stuff on Kent University and dig up similar stories for other incidents in other countries to mark anniversaries for those dates to counter the bashing they get on this day every year, but whatever, apparently that's not their thing.

Anyways, here, have a photo! It's then-premier Zhao Ziyang talking to the students (yeah, I heard about the new book documenting his life that just came out. More CCP-bashing, but hey if that's your cup of soup then go for it, it's called Prisoner of the State, saw it at Chapters the other day), and off to his left side (his left, our right I guess when we look at the photo) it's....*~drumroll~*...CURRENT PREMIER WEN JIABAO~~~~ 宝宝~~~~ can't fangirl, can't fangirl, can't fangirl, can't fangirl Sorry, I'm a bit of a Wen Jiabao fangirl after reading up on him following last year's Sichuan earthquake :D~~ (so do take that into account when reading anything I write relating to him/CCP XD). 

Last year around September CNN actually interviewed Premier Wen and one of the interview questions related to this photo of him at TAM. It was a pretty good interview I think (wish there was a Chinese version without the dub-over on the Premier's voice though, but oh well), and if you're interested I'd recommend watching all 4 parts (about 25 minutes all together), the specific part regarding the TAM photo/incident is right at the beginning of part 3;

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaEEr-Q7fME
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEoIwT7KXcg
Part 3 (TAM question): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVTl9U3Buko
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0a4WUEL7bs

So there, my 2 cents. Now to hurry off and get ready for the work ;A;

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