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What Was ‘Tiananmen’? Here Are Some Basics

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The spirit of mass protest on Tiananmen Square in Beijing lives on, in a movement to resurrect the memories of those glorious weeks 30 years ago when democracy—real democracy—seemed possible at last in the People’s Republic of China.

I remember that time clearly. I was on Tiananmen Square as small protests grew into massive outpourings in which several hundred thousand people filled the square before an image of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

People freely told me they derived much of their inspiration, or at least their information, from listening to the BBC and the Voice of America. Only that way could they know what was going on in the world while China’s own state propaganda machine, on the pages of the People’s Daily and in radio and TV broadcasts, did its best to keep them ill-informed or misinformed.

The date June 4, 1989, is remembered because that is the day that tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square and the dream of democracy exploded in the slaughter of at least 1,000 people, perhaps many more.

Ever since, Chinese authorities have been trying to expunge the memory, to delete, to erase all references to the massacre.

At the same time, pro-democracy adherents keep the memory........

© The Daily Beast