June 4 2020 GM

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Topic of Discussion: Tiananmen Protest

Today is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Protest, so we are learning about it. We are also asking that folks post words of solidarity throughout the day for BLM protesters. And today, is also the anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots, which is very significant for US latinos.

  • When we picture the 1980's in China, we need to know that the 10 years Culture Revolution is over. Universities reopened after closing for some years. Many intellectuals were coming back from overseas. Politically, the country is reopening to the world and joining global markets.
  • Starting from 1986, there were many speeches, salons and protests across the country to ask for political reforms. It was a movement involving students, workers, journalists, teachers, normal citizens
  • The 3 month protests in 1989 in Tiananmen Square in 1989 was the peak and the end of that wave of democratizing the country as the government sent troops killing protestors on June 4th.
  • Around April 16, 1989. The formal high level liberal CCP officer Hu Yaobang died in home detention. Students went on the street to memorize him. It was the time that everyone could post posters on campus to discuss social issues and policy. And held salons on philosophy, history and politics.
  • On the official funeral, three student leaders kneel down on the stairs for 45 min with 7 political reform demands from the crowd.
  • On May 4th, 1989, 1 Million protesters took to the streets. It is a special day for Chinese people because May 4th 1919 is a starting point to pursue in science, liberty and democracy. At the same time, not only Beijing, but many cities in China and worldwide joined the protest. Students stopped going to class and started a hunger strike.
  • Students still occupied the square when Soviet general secretary Gorbachev visited Beijing. At this point, China was on its way to transition to capitalism. There were two price systems at that time - one product can have two different prices in the state planned economy system and free market system. Many Communist officials used their power to transfer products between these two systems and make benefits for themselves, this is also a trigger of the movement.
  • The liberal figures in Communist Party lost the internal power war and the remaining committee members decided to use military actions to end all of this. At first, the local troops refused to shoot Beijing citizens. Beijing citizens even use bicycles to stop the tanks on the streets. That is why the troops that entered Beijing on June 3rd were from another province.
  • Since 1989, every year except this year, there is always a memorial event in HK where everyone holds a candle to remember the history.

Today: Government censorship and surveillance

  • Every year on June 4th, it is the highest tension on surveillance on the Internet. Many circumvention tools are not working. Many words/photos can not be posted on social media. Wechat bans every user to change their profile pic on June 4th.
  • The government wants the people to forget, they don’t want another uprising. They are scared of people remembering that people have power. They are scared that citizens know that the status quo is not the best or the only China they can have.
  • Beijing's Muxidi subway station closed from yesterday, where soldiers opened fire at people in 1989 for the first time.
  • Tiananmen mothers has issued an open letter few days ago.
  • Human Rights Foundation is doing a sharing on Tiananmen Massacre.

Learn more about it

Tianmen Square in 1989 Timeline - BBC

Tiananmen Square 1989 Protests Documentary

Tiananmen Protest Video

Deep Article - ThoughtCo

Off-air recording of Radio Beijing, made on June 3rd, 1989

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