Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Censoring Remembrance: China’s Twenty-Fourth Unrealized Commemoration [Three Torches] #RisingChina #TianAnMen

How China sees itself: An encouraging college student post on Tiananmen and the agenda setting chasm of the Great Firewall – between true events and their representations.

Official recognition for this wrong is a long way off, and moving forward, online activity will continue to be a forum where people can lament and lash out, but much of it will remain in electronic form — digital dust in the large scheme of things. Dissent will become more creative, but so will the censorship regime, and at year number twenty-four, Tiananmen is still just one more irreconcilable trauma. Soon it might even cease to exist online, and with that little else can serve as an effective platform for remembrance and discussion in China. Three Torches Blog, June 5, 2013

– – –

by Jonathan Lin, Three Torches Blog
Source – Three Torches Blog, published June 5, 2013

Much has been said — and much more has gone unaddressed — about China’s June 4th 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Yesterday marked the 24th anniversary with still no sense of closure, justice, or answers. One can get a small glimpse of the events of that chaotic and tragic day from Pulitzer-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, and his New York Times article from more than two decades earlier. But as the years pass, and less of the younger generations realize the significance of the famous ‘Tank Man‘ image or ‘Statue of Democracy‘, anniversary commemorations remain an important annual reminder for something yet to be be laid to rest. The city of Hong Kong, a special administrative region located to the south of mainland China, has been the site of Tiananmen anniversary commemorations for a few years now, though this year local journalists have come away with photographs that show important variations in this year’s peaceful vigils, including shots of a demonstrator carrying placards saying “Thank you, Hong Kong”

As reporting of the events that commemorate the 24th anniversary still unfold, I would like to draw attention more to the state of Chinese censorship and the online crackdown of anything remotely related to the events back in 1989. According to The Guardian, China’s biggest blogging platform Sino Weibo — the homegrown Chinese variant of Twitter — kicked its censorship platform into overdrive, banning search terms such as ‘today’ ‘tomorrow’ and date references, where numerous combinations of digits and figures bring netizens to dead links and webpages. Such combinations include ’25′ (89 subtract 64), ’10′ (6 + 4), ’17′ (8+9) or ’24′ (twenty-fourth anniversary) — all have become taboo in recent days because of the political sensitivity of the anniversary. Though Hong Kong journalists and netizens are savvy and adopt a range of parody, panache, and perseverance to reference the anniversary, China’s authoritarian Internet censorship regime remains in place and will prevent the government’s power from eroding. Indeed voices of resistance, grief, and frustration on the mainland are largely stifled by what the authorities have put in place online.

Please click here to read the full article at Three Torches.


Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Tiananmen 20th anniversary, Tiananmen security, U.S.

6 Responses

  1. Godfree says:

    Here are some fascinating articles from the archives explaining why the CCP refuses to recognize the “Tiananmen massacre”, and what actually happened there.

    The Columbia Journalism Review critiques coverage of Tiananmen:

    Britain’s Daily Telegraph:

    US State Department’s cables at the time:

    And the most comprehensive source:

  2. Jonathan Lin says:

    Hello! Thanks so much for reading my post / putting it here on your blog! I appreciate the gesture, and was glad you found the post meaningful.

    Reading your ABOUT page, I’m struck by the similarities of our backgrounds; I too am of Chinese descent but was born in the U.S. two decades earlier. I am wrapping up my senior year of undergrad right now (in fact, graduation is this time next week) and I am headed off to New York City for investigative journalism work. It’s been a while since I’ve been active with my blog, and so I’m scrambling to take the time and build a reliable portfolio — I too try to bring an East-West perspective to highly-visible issues, given that I feel it’s my one advantage of growing up and being raised in two very different places.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really like the work you are doing here, and would imagine it being a very good supplement to your graduate research over there in Australia. I also think it’s spot on to mention the land down under as being a base camp for Chinese diplomacy; anywhere in the Pacific nowadays does not go untouched by Beijing’s leadership, and I myself am hoping to learn more about this dynamic. I grew up in Hong Kong but mostly sheltered/unaware of global affairs throughout much of the early 2000s, and only until I reached undergrad in the U.S. did I realize I’m not exactly that aware of China’s rise and its significance. It’s too bad, given that I really spent much more time in my childhood interested in video games than paying attention to the world — so I’m hoping to ‘catch up’ right now. Better late than never.

    Again, thanks a lot for your repost, and I look forward to staying up to date with your blog.

    • ferylbob says:

      Let us get in touch! Could you privately send your email if that’s cool?

      • Jonathan Lin says:

        Hello! Apologies for my slow response…yes indeed, I’d definitely like to get in touch via email (do you have my email address? is it fully displayed on Gravatar?) — let me know if there’s anything unclear, thanks!

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