About June 4th
20 years ago in Beijing, the Spring air was full of agitation. A massive students' protest on the streets had been under way for weeks, challenging the totalitarian communist rule and demanding democratic changes. At a magnitude unheard of in China since Mao and his comrades took over the power. With tens of milliions of people in the city and throughout the country expressing their sympathy and support. Students' challenge and pressure were met by ever-escalating repression from the government hard-liners. Troops were deployed and Tiananmen Square, the center of the protest, was under siege. On the eve of June 4th, 1989, soldiers, armed with tanks and field-strength weapons, fired at the peacefully-demonstrating students and civilians, much to the world's disbelief and horror. Hundreds or even thousands fell down in blood. The Tiananmen Square Massacre has since been remembered as one of the shamest days in the human history. Since then, instead of admitting guilt, or even seeking reconcilation, the Chinese authority has elected to mobilize every resource at their disposal to cover-up the crime and to erase this event from the collective memory of the Chinese people. Tiananmen Mothers, a group seeking justice for their perished children, are under constant surveillance and harrassement; "6/4" (the phrase commonly used referring to the event) becomes a taboo and is banned from any publication, email or website. To their "credit", a genearation has grown up with no knowledge of the event at all.
For many of us gathered here, "6/4" is a pain deep in our heart that has reshaped the rest of our lives ....