Tiananmen

Bodies of civilians killed during the Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 3 and 4, 1989. Credit Associated Press

At some point in late May 1989, amid weeks of demonstrations that brought several hundred thousand citizens demanding democratic reforms to Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, China’s leader, Deng Xiaoping, is reported to have declared that “200 dead could bring 20 years of peace.” By June 4, some 2,000 people, mostly local residents, had been killed.

The Tiananmen Square protests were the culmination of China’s long-running pro-democracy movement — and the massacre marked a peak of government repression.

Each year, as the June 4 anniversary approaches, the Chinese Communist Party jails dissidents and censors social media. It tries to purge reminders of any democratic movement from the country’s collective memory.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le 2 juin 1989 sur la place Tian Anmen - Photo CATHERINE HENRIETTE / AFP

Le 4 juin 1989, après minuit, je fuyais la place Tiananmen.

Ma dernière image de l’esplanade qui est le cœur de Pékin est celle de la stèle du Monument aux héros, au pied de laquelle se pressaient quelques centaines d’irréductibles tandis que sur le mur rouge de la Cité interdite, le portrait géant de Mao était visible à la lumière d’un transport de troupes blindé en feu, incendié par des manifestants après avoir écrasé une des barricades de fortune érigée sur l’avenue Chang’an. La grande statue blanche de la déesse de la Liberté défiait encore la tempête.

Des rafales d’armes automatiques aboyaient et des explosions faisaient vibrer la nuit tandis que je courais courbé avec pour seule idée de regagner sain et sauf l’immeuble de Jianguomenwai, où se trouvait l’appartement des amis qui m’hébergeaient, les correspondants du New York Times, Nick Kristof et Sheryl Wu Dunn, pour écrire mon reportage et l’envoyer à Libé.…  Seguir leyendo »

El trágico desenlace de la crisis de Tiananmen en junio de 1989 tuvo importantes y duraderas consecuencias que lejos de disiparse, con la perspectiva de las tres décadas ya transcurridas, se han visto afianzadas. En realidad, aquel suceso operó como un punto de inflexión que si bien no hipotecó unas reformas económicas que incluso fueron aceleradas, impuso un severo bloqueo a cualquier propósito de evolución política indeseada, un empeño que se prolonga hasta hoy.

Para permanecer en la «locomotora de la historia», Deng Xiaoping y el Partido Comunista decidieron entonces cortar de raíz cualquier forma de experimentación política de signo liberal.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Changan Boulevard in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. (Jeff Widener/AP)

On June 4, 1989, tanks and armed soldiers surrounded Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Arriving from all directions, Chinese troops killed several hundred civilians who were blocking the streets to protect the students who had occupied the square for weeks. Soldiers opened fire when over a hundred students refused to leave, a bloody repression of China’s most important democratic movement.

For the last 30 years, the Chinese regime has never allowed an official investigation into these events. Textbooks in China ignore this piece of history altogether. The media cannot report on the Tiananmen crackdown, as the government bans publications related to the event, even in English.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des chars chinois, à Pékin, le 5 juin 1989, au lendemain du massacre de la place Tiananmen. Jeff Widener / AP

Il y a trente ans, le monde assistait effaré à un massacre nocturne au cœur de la capitale chinoise. Pékin, qui avait donné aux médias internationaux l’image radicalement nouvelle d’un grand mouvement bon enfant sur la place Tiananmen, devenait soudain le lieu où des chars fonçaient sur une foule désarmée. Le carnaval d’une jeunesse avide de liberté et de justice sociale, soutenue par toute une population qui n’avait pas hésité à sortir dans les rues pour bloquer pacifiquement les camions militaires après la déclaration de la loi martiale, se transformait en cauchemar de fer et de sang. S’ensuivit une période de terreur politique pendant laquelle des personnes recherchées réussirent à s’enfuir, d’autres connurent la prison, alors que chacun devait renouveler son allégeance au régime et affirmer son rejet de « l’émeute contre-révolutionnaire ».…  Seguir leyendo »

I was giving a talk about Tiananmen Square’s legacy at an Australian university about two years ago when a young Chinese student put up her hand during the question-and-answer session. “Why do we have to look back to this time in history?” she asked. “Why do you think it will be helpful to current and nowadays China, especially our young generation? Do you think it could be harmful to what the Chinese government calls the harmonious society?”

She wasn’t challenging the facts of what had happened on June 4, 1989. She was questioning the value of the knowledge itself. In the years since I wrote about Beijing’s success in erasing the killings of 1989 from collective memory, I’ve often heard Chinese students defending the government’s behavior as necessary.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters on an armored vehicle just outside of Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.CreditCreditJeff Widener/Associated Press

I learned that I was China’s most wanted criminal while having my hair cut aboard a crowded, decrepit steamboat on the Yangtze River. The P.A. system suddenly blared that the Beijing Public Security Bureau had ordered the arrest of 21 students who were charged with instigating “counterrevolutionary riots” in Tiananmen Square. My name topped the list.

It was June of 1989, nine days after government troops and armored personnel carriers rolled into central Beijing and brutally crushed the seven-week-long student-led pro-democracy demonstrations.

The announcement on the boat rattled me. As one of the chief organizers of the protests, I was running away from the authorities in the capital.…  Seguir leyendo »

An injured man is taken to a hospital during an uprising in Chengdu, China, on June 4, 1989. (Kim Nygaard)

In the spring of 1989, Chinese pro-democracy activists filled Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. For weeks, the protesters, led by students, stood in unprecedented defiance of the Communist regime. They called for respect for human rights and greater political participation amid the ambitious economic reforms spearhead by then-leader Deng Xiaoping. The protests eventually spread to 400 cities across China. Communist Party leaders, however, saw the protests as a threat to their hold on power and the political system. On the morning of June 4, the government sent armed troops to dissolve the demonstration in Tiananmen Square, killing and arresting activists. Though there is no official death toll, estimates range from several hundred to more than 10,000.…  Seguir leyendo »