Tiananmen Square Remembered

Censorship Democracy

As I wrote in a piece for the World Policy Journal's blog, "2009 is an auspicious year: it marks the ninetieth anniversary of the student-led protests that led to the establishment of the communist movement, the fiftieth anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, and the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. Traditional activists in all societies, a record number of students (6.1 million) will be graduating from universities this year and will enter an increasingly bleak economy. The educated and the agitated may look to capitalize on these headline dates."

Twenty years to the day after hundreds of pro-democracy, Chinese citizens were murdered in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, Chinese authorities refuse to air the dirty laundry and heal (and presumably, change). CNN broadcast a pretty comical clip (see below) of plain clothes security officers attempting to keep the once bloodied square off camera. Websites like Twitter and YouTube were blocked (big surprise) and even CNN went dark at the very mention of the anniversary. A reported 150,000 turned out in Hong Kong for a commemorative vigil.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement calling on Chinese authorities to "to release from prison all those still serving sentences in connection with the events surrounding June 4, 1989. We urge China to cease the harassment of participants in the demonstrations and begin dialogue with the family members of victims, including the Tiananmen Mothers. China can honor the memory of that day by moving to give the rule of law, protection of internationally-recognized human rights, and democratic development the same priority as it has given to economic reform."

Vis-a-vis China, which is a bigger priority for her - human rights or economic growth? Earlier this year on a listening tour of the Middle Kingdom she remarked that contentious issues like human rights "can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crises." Did Obama even say anything about the auspicious day? I couldn't find anything...

Let us not forget the tragedy of that day, and that there are hundreds, if not thousands inside China still fighting for their democratic rights, and in some cases losing the hard way. More on them in a future post...

It would be funny if it weren't so sad...

Embedded video from <a href="http://www.cnn.com/video" mce_href="http://www.cnn.com/video">CNN Video</a>

Barack Obama, China, Hillary Clinton, Tiananmen Square