I Hope We can Start to Talk about History

Today is a special day in Chinese history.

What happened on the early morning in the history remain a topic that is not allowed to discuss. However, I do hope that one day, China really opens up and allow people to discuss about what happened in the past. With enough wisdom, we can face it and find a better way to solve problems.

19 years have past, and I think everyone involved, including those standing-by like myself, has been thinking about what happened. With the 19 years of reflection, I believe the whole generation have been more mature than they are, and the people is more mature. Taking me as an example, I have realized there are problems in the students side also, and it is the protesting group and the government that caused the tragedy. My current understanding is, at the beginning, everything went one well, but at the later stage, one side is a crazy government and the other side is a group of crazy students, both of which didn’t give any room to another alternative. I do hope we can start to preserve more facts, and be able to start to talk about history, and think about the future of China.

16 thoughts on “I Hope We can Start to Talk about History

  1. Totally agree with you on this. I shared about my reflections on my blog from being in Hong Kong that summer 19 years ago. I won’t forget what it was like that summer. Grigo shared some interesting points on her Bootsnall blog: that most college students today don’t know about this historical event and unless you are really curious and you know 1 other language, its pretty hard to find out.


    Also, it seems that the term 19年 brings up some non-harmonized tributes and information.

    It is my hope that as the country gets stronger, the government sees the benefit of an open discussion of historical events to the future progress of the country!

  2. I think it’s also important for people in China to understand that this is the event that largely shaped the negative “Western” view of China. Many Chinese wonder why “Western media” are so biased against China. What happened that day has a lot to do with it, but it seems a lot of people in China don’t know much about it or see it as insignificant. (To be fair, a lot in the “West” don’t know much about it either, and only see one side of it.)

  3. I see that you did not writte any key word in your post.

    Trying to avoid the greeaat firee waall of China that do not like people to speak about history?

    Whatever the student asked, they were pacific. There is no justification and no democratic contry send tanks and kill students protesting. it is a simple fact, thus the blame is ONLY on the gov side.

  4. Unfortunately when more and more evidence is lost, it’s very difficult to figure out what exactly happened.

  5. that event shown on TV worldwide created burning images in my mind which I can’t shake.

  6. I see that you did not writte any key word in your post.

    Trying to avoid the greeaat fire walll of CChina that do not like people speaking about history?

    Whatever the student asked, they were pacific. There is no possible justification to send tanks and kill students protesting. No country respecting life of his citizen ever did that.

    It is a simple fact, thus the blame is ONLY on the gov side.

  7. One side a crazy government, one side crazy students. You’re right and that’s sounds like a good argument for it being a two-sided conflict, but it’s not really true. The crazy students didn’t have a massive army, tanks, assault rifles, etc. The crazy government didn’t even use riot police (which would still have been harsh, but tolerable) they sent in the full force of the military. At that point any part the crazy students played becomes irrelevant.

    My two fen…

  8. Just want to clarify my points. It is absolutely not the right thing to claim that the two sides are equally wrong. It is just one side say something to one person, but the other beat or kill as a response. So there is not doubt about it.

    However, there are so many things that we need to learn from that event that we need to avoid in the future. I do hope we can really engage many people, scholars, normal people to think about it and propose something for the benefit of future China.

  9. Reality check necessary. Lets not make martyrs of those student leaders.

    A very good friend of mine was one of those hanging about the square the night everything turned ugly. Interestingly, he was a foreigner who managed to enter the “inner circle” of the student leaders by impersonating a foreign reporter. He was holding the passport of another country. His analysis of the leaders was pretty negative. They were described as idealistic opportunists with no sense of their responsibility to their supporters. Their demands were vague, with emphasis on freedom and democracy but without true understanding of the issues. I had the opportunity of following the events leading up to the final clash on both CNN and BBC. Even the reporters appeared rather amused initially by how niave the students were. Slogans like “Give me freedom or give me death !” were thrown about. But when asked to clarify what democracy meant to them, you heard silly things like “I want freedom to do anything I want !” When asked what is it that they wanted that they could not do, we saw puzzled expressions. The arrogance of the students when meeting the representatives of their government was shown on CNN. Even the reporters were taken a back. Was the protest as peaceful as it was made out to be ? Who was provoking who ? What did they think when they threw excrement at the painting of the idol of the party ?

    Of course I am not saying that what the army did was right, But when a string is pulled hard enough by one side while the other side is anchored to bedrock, eventually it will snap and sometimes the ones pulling it gets hurt. The jackass Wuer Kaixi came to my university in Canada not long after to raise funds for the “movement”. In between,he was feted with sympathy by everyone till he became as fat as a pig.

    Of course there may be other sides to this story.

    You don’t need to believe everything I wrote, just check out the facts first before deciding. As stakeholders, we owe it to ourselves to find out the truth.

  10. And anybody who has checked out the facts will still reach the same conclusion, that the government did not handle the “incident” correctly (and that’s putting it very lightly). The CCP’s stance is that what they did was right, and the topic is still taboo in China. So it’s kinda hard to not make the students martyrs.

    Again, this is what the world saw, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, but many in China today still don’t understand that (and it’s not they’re fault – it’s clear who’s at fault). They have no idea that the image of the guy in front of the tanks has become a symbol for things like the fight against tyranny. That image is so well-known that it’s even been parodied on comedy shows like The Simpsons, and even very recently on The Daily Show.

    Everybody who’s seen the image remembers it, and is constantly reminded of it. And more importantly everybody remembers those were Chinese PLA tanks.

  11. 识大体、明大理. 民顺,天青。民不顺,天当不青。 Are these what we need to think about… and what we should still hope for?

    You can’t learn from history if the history is “untouchable”. As far as I know there haven’t been any “real” writing (by Chinese) of Chinese history for… how long? … let’s just say 400 years. Shocking! you bet it’s shocking… for a people who believe that there are 5k years history to talk about. Somehow for this 400 years, we seem much more eager to forget than remember.

    You are right, let’s hope we can TALK about history, someday… let’s hope we’ll have 青天 always… for Yifan’s sake. This new generation will have plenty… but they won’t know history… the history as facts… unless our generation can come to sense of what had been done to our grandparents, our parents and us. If people can’t/will not see what was at stake 19 years ago… I don’t see how and when we can “talk” about history in the sense that will benefit Yifan and his children.

  12. The government did not handle the situation correctly at all.

    Their sledge hammer response was totally unnecessary and extreme.

    However to consider the students martyrs would seem like conferring the nobel peace prize on Ah Q.

    I think there are more deserving people in our history.

    I am glad in a way they did not acheive their “revolution” because they simply had no vision or goals to share.

    Simply wanting to get to a destination is useless without a road map or compass.

    I have no doubts whatsoever that had they managed to succeed, China would have descended into a bigger mess under their useless rhetoric.

  13. There are Chinese forums ablaze with such discussions. Far more informative that what can be gleaned from elsewhere. Many of them perspectives from student participants and witnesses. Piece whatever you might from there. It is definitely not a taboo subject, as far as I can tell.

    Simplistically, it was an immature government inexperienced in handling such protests and idealistic, provocative students who thought they knew what was best for China.

    C Ling the student leader nominated for Nobel Peace Prize (!!!!!) said “… what we are actually hoping for is bloodshed, for the moment when the government has no choice but to brazenly butcher the people. Only when the Square is awash with blood will the people of China open their eyes. Only then will they really be united…”

    This is from someone who later disclosed that she was NOT prepared to spill her own blood! Is this why there is such a collective anger towards her?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *