admin’s note: As Nimrod commented in an early thread, “the tankman photo was a snapshot …, the whole incident is a lot more powerful than the snapshot; in the same way that the whole 1989 movement makes a more powerful statement than the snapshot of 6/4.” Previously, we posted personal accounts of students from Tianjin or Shanghai to give readers a taste of the spread, both in terms of time and space, of the 1989 student movement. Today, we post an account from a student in Beijing on what he saw on that fateful day 20 years ago. Needless to say, the views on the movement among the participates have diverged and shifted considerably over the past 20 years. However, the raw emotions we felt on that day, shock, anger, confusion, and above all, profound sadness, are afresh in our minds on this anniversary.
My Daughter, who is in the first grade, was reading her homework to me, “On My way to school, I saw beautiful flowers. Some flowers were hanging on stems …”
“That’s very good” I said.
“Others felt on the grass after a thunderstorm, but they are still beautiful” She continued.
“Yes, they are.”
Every life is a flower. Twenty years ago, in the morning of June 4th, 2009, I saw flowers fell.
Continue reading On my way to school, I saw beautiful flowers
admin’s note: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement. No matter what your view on this subject is, what happened 20 years ago is no doubt an important piece of Chinese history. As Zhu Rongji, former Chinese premier minister, then mayor of Shanghai, famously said, on June 8, 1989, “No one can cover up historical facts forever, and the truth will eventually reveal itself” (历史事实是没有人能够隐瞒的，事实真相终将大白).
Many people are interested in the events happened on the Tiananmen Square. While undoubtedly it was the epicenter of the 89 student movement, we should not lose sight that large scale demonstrations happened in many other cities too. To almost any college student at that time, 1989 was a life changing year. Previously Eugene recalled his experience as a student in Shanghai. Here is an observation and reflection from a student in Tianjin (天津), the closest major city to Beijing. This post was emailed to me by kui (thank you very much!). I took liberty to modify the original text slightly. I hope more people of the ’89 generation will come forward and share his/her experiences and thoughts.
I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.
Continue reading (Letter from kui) A recollection of the 1989 student movement in Tianjin
One year ago, Buxi asked me to write something on 6/4, and I did not get around to do it, but promised that I would do so this year, the 20th anniversary. At the reminder of Admin a few weeks ago, I started to think about this “action item”. I pulled out a diary/report that was written within the weeks after 6/4/1989, the report was 50 some pages long. It did not have any dust on it since it has been sealed in an envelope. Twenty-year is a long time, the paper has turned completely yellow-ish, but reading through it still brought out a lot of emotion and a lot of memories.
After some thought, I decided that the best way to write about 6/4 is to simply translate parts of the 20-year old diary for it truthfully recorded what a 22-year old student experienced, observed, heard, thought, believed and felt at the moment. Twenty years has gone by, the author, like most of the 6/4 students, has moved on and has since lived a more or less fulfilling life unrelated to 6/4. Along the way, he has learned a few things, has had opportunity to reflect upon the past, and his political views may have evolved along the way. But in memory of the 1989 student movement, I felt that the best thing to do is to trace back to the time as it occurred. I am sure that we will then have a discussion as to how we look at the events in Spring 1989 today.
So here is – Part I, from April 15th, the day Hu Yaobang died, to the day of hunger strike.
Continue reading (Letter from EugeneZ) Spring 1989 in Shanghai – A Memory of the ’89 Student Movement