Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Guest Blog: Tiananmen Anniversary

If they had only known what their actions would result in, would they have protested?

Now, 20 years later, millions of Chinese are unable to tweet, blog, youtube, flickr, or any other number of things. If someone had told those students 20 years ago that this was going to be the result of their actions, I am sure they would have had second thoughts about taking to the streets. What a price to pay!

In all seriousness: this is another of those surreal times in China, where we as "outsiders" think of this as an important, watershed moment in China's recent history that should be discussed and debated at an anniversary like this, but the vast majority of the people around us only have the vaguest notion of what, if anything, happened in and around that square 20 years ago; and most of those that do know would probably defend the government's motives (stability, etc.), if not their methods. Is this a time when we Westerners are trying to impose our way of thinking on a nation that is doing just fine, thank you very much; or are we right to think that the oppression of the few is too high a price for the gain of the many? We cannot know until the Chinese people are allowed to openly discuss and debate these questions themselves.

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