Tag: Tiananmen

Modern Chinese History: Shell Casings from 6-4

Chinese issue M43 bullet, used by an AK-47

I picked these up from a student protester on 6-4 after he was beaten up by soldiers

I have had these two mementos for a long time, 20 years, stashed away in an old box. The day after 6-4 I was at the military’s perimeter of the Square with a friend. A student beside me started chastising the soldiers. The soldiers grabbed him, threw him on the ground, beat him up and dragged him away. These two objects fell out of his pocket and I picked them up. Though I am not at all knowledgeable about guns, I knew these were shell casings.

Modern Chinese History: 6-4 Near the Square

I saw side by side Chinese tank tracks down Changan Jie

I saw side by side Chinese tank tracks down Changan Jie

The day after 6-4 in the morning I had a lunch meeting with a friend who lives down near TAM Square. I called her and she discouraged me from going to see her, saying it was too dangerous. She and her 12 year old brother were very upset about what happened the night before. The ride down to her place was fraught with obstructions. We walked to the soldier’s front line, as close as you could get to entering the Square.

Modern Chinese History: 6-4’s Peaceful Protesters

Beijing People's liberation Army and university students face each other

Beijing People's liberation Army and university students face each other

During the time I spent in Beijing as a student, cozily nestled amongst Chinese students, eating at their same cafeterias and freely visiting their dorms, I did not once see any violent actions. From my personal account, this protest was 100% non-violent, which makes the very violent response from the government all the more terrible.

Modern Chinese History: The Day After 6-4

Hearing the news about killings at the Square was shocking. How could this have happened? The day after 6-4 I had a lunch date with a Chinese friend who lived on Changan Jie, very close to the Square. Chaos had erupted in Beijing. All intersections were blocked with burned out cars and buses. I was so glad I was on a 10 speed bicycle that I could pick up and walk around road blockages, yet speed down streets. This is my recollection.

Burned buses blocked traffic intersections in Downtown Beijing

Burned buses blocked traffic intersections in Downtown Beijing

Modern Chinese History: 6-4’s Lost Students

Can you fit 1 million people into Tiananmen Square?

Can you fit 1 million people into Tiananmen Square?

Some topics are so foreign to Westerners that to encounter something so blatantly different is like running head first into a brick wall. Such is the case for modern Chinese history. I talk specifically about the student movement of May 4 1989 in Tiananmen Square

I am torn by writing because I have contradictory feelings at odds with each other. On one hand there is undisputable proof from eyewitness accounts and news footage that the events did occur and many people were killed. On the other hand, it was 20 years ago, so why bring up such an old and tired topic.