I watched a documentary on BBC2 yesterday presented by reporter Kate Adie who was on the scene in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square massacre of June ’89. Returning 20 years later for the first time, her views, memories and impressions were very interesting.
I did not realise that the People’s Liberation Army actually did most of the slaughtering in the side alleys leading off the square, where the narrow streets were turned into shooting galleries, and people were injured and killed by bullets flying through thin walls.
I was also unaware of the fact that this episode in the history of China has largely gone missing from public record, and a new generation has grown up unaware of the atrocities committed. Banyan of The Economist has also reported in his article this week “The Party goes on” on the effective white-washing of the incident by the Chinese Government, and noted the fact that modern youth will look to this year’s military parade with a sense of pride in a symbol of Chinese resurgence and power.
I wondered why I hadn’t had a discussion on this topic with my numerous Chinese friends here in the UK.
I applaud the courage of the students and workers, and mourn the unnecessary loss of life. I note that 20 years on the Politburo hasn’t changed its modus operandi much.