Tens of thousands of people participate in a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park June 4, 2013, to mark the 24th anniversary of the military crackdown of the pro-democracy movement at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
In this videoânever before released publiclyâMuriel Southerland remembers life in Beijing during the historic events of May and June 1989.
In the midst of military brutality and control, the Tiananmen protests yielded one of the greatest symbolic images of facing down oppression with “tank man”. The inspirational part of “tank man” is its simplicity and how the image epitomizes the Tiananmen movement in all its facets. While this anonymous lone protester may have only halted the line of tanks for a moment before being taken away, it was long enough for this image to become a massive part of modern Chinese history.
Ever since my focus on China shifted towards post 1911 and the rise of the CCP, the Tiananmen Massacre became a recurrence in my reading and study of this period of massive change in China. Like most people the infamous image of “tank man” was in my mind long before I really knew the history and meaning behind it. The more I read, the more Tiananmen intrigued me.
What started as a student movement to air grievances about the deplorable job market for college grads, turned into the largest pro-democracy protest in China to date. Tiananem for me marks the beginning of serious talk about democracy in China. However, I don’t think that it was their Boston Tea Party and to draw a parallel between the democratic movements in China and those that happened in the US is in err. If a democratic movement ever happens in China it will be uniquely Chinese and much like the Tiananmen movement will start with the twenty somethings of China wanting to make their grievances know to the CCP.
For me Tiananmen was never a sign of what could have been. I have never viewed it as a missed opportunity. It has always been a symbol what can happen in China when people genuinely unite behind a common goal. That day military power was used because the leaders of the CCP saw the power behind those protesters. Those leaders saw the steadfast resolve of students that wanted nothing more than a means to voice their opinions in the government that governed their lands. The only way this resolve was damaged was through physical violence that claimed a still unknown number of lives and affected thousands for years to come. The power of that movement is still felt to this day with the level of censorship that is present on the issue. When in China, searches with terms such as “June 4th incident” continue to be blocked completely. If the CCP really had no fear of the ideals that this movement was trying to convey than why after almost 25 years is the Great Firewall of China needed? My conclusion is fear that the seeds those protesters planted may one day sprout in China.
Even though Tiananmen has be thrown into the basket of democratic movements, I think the wants of the current generation that has grown up post Tiananmen is much simpler. Democracy is clearly not a number one goal for this generation but other ideals that the Tiananmen movement embodied are. Netizens have frequently called for greater accountability, better transparency and improved measures to combat corruptions from their political leaders. Rarely is there a call for voting rights or amendments to the current Chinese constitution. Fighting corruption and better accountability can be achieved without democracy and I think China may be the country to test this hypothesis.
However, those students that took to the streets all over China in that summer of ‘89 should not be forgot. They laid the first stones of the road towards a better China and on the anniversary of the violence that took place they should be sources of inspiration for all humans who stand against oppression.
US call to fully account for those killed, detained or missing in 1989 crackdown draws angry response from Beijing.
Just a days before the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, the US decides to continue to make Tianamen one of its man battle cries for greater human rights awareness in China. It is a safe assumption that tensions will continue to rise over Tianamen both foreign and domestic as this tragic anniversary gets closer.
Chancellor Angela Merkel pledges to do everything to prevent EC trade duties hitting Chinese solar panel companies.
Normally I do not bother writing on heavily economic events but this one in particular has stuck out to me.
The boom of the Chinese solar panel industry is no secret. China is pumping out more solar panels than most countries, including the US, could dream of and they are doing it at that famous low Chinese price. With the green industry growing larger and larger by the year, the Chinese are simply getting in ahead of the curve and for good reason. However, Chinese solar panels going abroad have been met with barriers from many of the western nations that will most likely serve as large markets for green tech, i.e. US, EU, etc.. The EU especially has been very vocal recently and, as this article points out, has a faction led by France and Italy that wants to impose heavy trade duties on these cheap Chinese solar panels.
However their reasoning for these penalties on these solar panels, for me, are lacking. When these countries argue that, “China’s rapid rise in solar panel output to more than the world’s entire demand could not have happened without illegal state support.”, I am lead to the conclusion that these leaders have not looked at Chinese economics since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The State Owned Enterprise, or SOE, is a staple of the Chinese economic way. So for them to make an argument over “illegal state” support is futile. These SOEs are not questioned when they provide huge amounts of foreign direct investment in developing countries or when they provide many western nations with cheap goods to keep their cost of living down. However, now that the Chinese are ready to extend these cheap goods in the green industry that many EU nations seem to want to be leaders of these economic practices are “illegal”. For this reason, I am glad that countries like Germany, Britain and the Netherlands are standing in opposition to this movement at the very least until China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, can voice China’s side of the story.
The environmentalist in me is screaming at this whole situation. For decades, the prospects of green and renewable energies have been shot down because of costs, not only for companies but for the consumers and now that China is able to provide any market on the globe with cheap solar panels we question their economic practices? As long as quality standards of these the goods are met then I see no problem with China providing the world with affordable solar panels. I feel the West is not ready for the liberalized Chinese economy they so adamantly wanted to create.
Liu Ning: Liangshan Village, Shaanxi, 2012
Very strong pictures of women in Liangshan (梁山镇), Qian County (乾县) in rural Shaanxi. Liu Ning, member of China Photographers Association and China Women Photographers Association, has documented life in the village several times over the years but in 2012, she was shocked by the level of poverty and the unbearable life conditions still taking place.
The images have just been published here.
Always dig matteoricci finds. Always.
Li Keqiang says choice of destination for his first foreign visit shows importance Beijing attaches to ties with Delhi.
It seems to be on monthly basis now that relations between nations in East Asia are built, strained, broken or renewed. Relations are extremely fluid to say the least with many of the East Asian nations and with recent territorial disputes spiking tension in the region China has been on the move militarily and especially diplomatically. Chinese leaders have a fear of the US’s new pivot towards Asia and how it will affect the area. So much so that many of the actions taken by the US have led many higher ups in the the Chinese leadership to believe that the pivot is really a move for containment. Now China is doing everything it can to not be “contained” and it is showing in its recent diplomatic ventures.
Geographically China has looked North and West for new allies. Xi Jinping’s first visit outside of the country was to Moscow to talk with Putin about everything from arms deals and economic ventures to an overall improvement of Russo-Sino relations. Then comes the new Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang’s first official trip outside of the country to India, which has been aimed at improving Indian-Chinese relations and making it clear the China is ready to shelve the territorial dispute between these two countries for the time being.
To me it seems that the Chinese leadership has made priority one to reaffirm and further strengthen its Russian relations. However, in a close second place it has wanted to make the wild card (India), one of its numerous territorial disputes, much less wild. In an earlier post about India being a big part of the larger territorial disputes of China, it is made clear that Japan is more than eager to pull India closer to its camp. However, it seems with the high level visit from Li Keqiang that China also recognizes the importance India could play in the rise in tension in East Asia. If Chinese leaders could pull India into their camp or at the very least be assured that India will simply stay out of it, then they could put their full focus towards the territorial disputes in the East.
For China the game of Wei qi continues and the stakes grow larger with each passing month.