The Great Forgetting: 20 Years After Tiananmen Square
But outside of labor camps and Western democratic havens, the memory of what happened dulled. For a few years following 1989, videos about June Fourth — known in Mandarin simply as liu si, or "6/4" — circulated on the black market. Then the government began a campaign of forgetting, first spinning the event and then erasing it. The popular Chinese search engine Baidu now blocks at least 19 derivations of "six four," including Chinese character homophones, the abbreviation "sf," and "63+1."
Such controls are far from total, but they can be very effective. On June 4, 2007, a newspaper in Chengdu published a small advertisement recognizing the mothers of the 1989 victims. Online, chat-room users speculated about how such a message could have gotten past the paper's editors — until it was revealed that the young clerk who took the ad didn't recognize the event. What might have been a quiet act of resistance was instead a measure of a nation's forgetting.
comments powered by Disqus
walter hixson - 5/29/2009
I've been in China 4 months now. Everyone, generally speaking, knows about Tiananmen. It's just not that relevant to life here today, especially for Chinese youth. People know it was a tragedy and don't like to dwell on it. Probably a majority blame the students for pushing too far, though it's hard to be sure without polling, but I would strongly suspect that. China has moved on from it; Tiananmen is a much bigger matter in the West than in China, but hopefully someday they can put a memorial on the great square.
- Holocaust Victims Mocked in Ohio State Band Parody Songbook
- Memphis attempt to drop name of Nathan Bedford Forrest runs into state law
- Overlooked: The 25th anniversary of Captive Nations Week
- In confession to historian, George McGovern revealed he had a secret child
- Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism
- U.K. Released Hundreds of Nazis After the Holocaust, Says Leading Historian
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- Academic Seeks Death Certificate for Outlaw Billy the Kid
- Murderer of historian of Czech Jewry goes on trial