Tiananmen Square: 25 Years Later

tankguyI was just 7 years old when I first saw the iconic “tank guy” photo.  Little did I know, that photo would stick with me for quite some time.  As a kid, I thought it was odd one person would try to stand in front of tanks.  As an adult,I feel the complete opposite: it’s odd to me that people wouldn’t stand up against censorship and the glorification of military power.

I would occasionally speak to students from Hong Kong when I was studying at ASU… and they would try to disassociate their hometown and culture  from Mainland China.  As my own political opinions change and evolve, I finally get this. I would not want to be associated with any group guilty of oppression or political domination.

I was always astonished Google was able to filter the entire internet at China’s request.  A search for Tiananmen Square at google.cn would yield only happy tourist attraction information.  Happy smiles, no tanks.  Before Google left China, and before Google left Phoenix, I would ask them the following at job fairs:

  • How long did it take you to censor the internet for China?  No Comment.
  • How do your censorship practices align with your company’s motto of “don’t be evil”?  No comment.

darth-vader-google-614xaI suppose it’s a moot point.  And not limited to Google.  Yahoo & Microsoft have their own price and have been guilty of the same thing.  Look around enough, and you can find skeletons in anyone’s closet… maybe even a few if we’re talking about soulless corporate cretins.

And now 25 years later, the following article from Economist caught my eye. Primarily when it comes to the clashing of China & Hong Kong:

“It used to be the case where pro-government groups would celebrate in the morning and pro-democracy groups would march in the afternoon. Now we see mutual respect in decline and a spate of incidents showing that Beijing suffers an acute sense of insecurity,” says Joseph Cheng, a professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong.

Mr Cheng was the main organiser of a conference about the Tiananmen events of 1989 held over the weekend. Many were outraged when it emerged that a Taiwanese academic was denied entry to the city to speak at the conference. Professor Tseng Chien-yuan of Chung Hua University was told upon arrival at the Hong Kong airport that Beijing had cancelled his travel permit. Mr Tseng said that despite being neither a politician nor a security threat, he is now banned from the city.

The idea of borders and illegals has always been a bit unsettling in my mind; but its rare for such enforcement on academics.  It’ll be interesting to see what effect this has on any potential “elections” in 2017.  I predict something will happen, but it won’t be as democratic as the propaganda machines make it out to be.  I’m sure it’ll be some sort of pseudo-republic or oligarchy, if anything.  A masquerade; to ensure the few will lord and oppress the masses.

…but no matter what happens – China will always remain in my thoughts & prayers.