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Trying to get into Tiananmen Square

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James Reynolds | 09:21 UK time, Thursday, 4 June 2009

01:08 UTC, 4 JUNE: I'm writing this post late on the night of 3 June. My colleagues and I have just come back from a quick tour of the city - on the 20th anniversary of the moment that tanks were sent in to end student protests.

Our first stop was Tiananmen Square. Before sunset, the square was sealed off. Police officers stopped us from filming even from a street across the road. One plain clothes officer (wearing a green basketball jersey) told us in colloquial English that we would need special permission to film inside the square for the next two days.

Chinese police in Tiananmen Square at sunset

"You have to obey Chinese laws," he told us politely, "just as we would obey the Metropolitan police in London."

After dark, we headed to a street corner in western Beijing. We'd heard that a small group of elderly women were planning to hold a vigil. They wanted to light candles close to the spot where their sons were killed in June 1989.

But when we got there, there were no elderly women. Instead, a dozen or so police officers stood on the corner, checking the credentials of each of the journalists who'd turned up to cover the mothers' commemoration. A handful of passers-by watched us all from a distance.

"Keep moving," one police officer told us eagerly.

We then drove back along Chang'an Avenue, past Tiananmen Square, which remained sealed off.

From our experiences tonight, and from what we've heard from various campaign groups, it appears that - at the moment - the authorities in Beijing have managed to prevent any public commemoration of June 3/4 1989.

14:37 UTC, 4 June: Tried to get into Tiananmen Square just now. But the police stopped us. Plain clothes officers used a novel technique to stop us from filming - the umbrella treatment...

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  • 1. At 09:59am on 04 Jun 2009, ChinaOrg wrote:

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  • 2. At 10:57am on 04 Jun 2009, AChineseStudent wrote:

    That shows how afraid of people they are!They are scared at any truth which just has little chance to shake their authorities.If you were not realized that,you may wonder why these policepersons are so responsible compared with investigation into crimes.

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  • 3. At 11:29am on 04 Jun 2009, beijing_2008 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 11:50am on 04 Jun 2009, simohayha wrote:

    Oops, tow messages have been removed! And I am wondering whether my comment will be the third one.

    Anyway, this footage also shows how polite the police are. No offence, if I do not obey the Metropolitan police in London, I am highly likely to be arrested.

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  • 5. At 12:01pm on 04 Jun 2009, davidwhite44 wrote:

    Boy oh boy James! Make the most of your stay this time. Unless you change your name and identity, your future Chinese visas (tourist or journalist) applications are going to be refused.

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  • 6. At 12:09pm on 04 Jun 2009, englishbounder wrote:

    Brilliant coverage by James well done for getting in there.
    Shame nothing happened thou but maybe next year better luck yea.
    May be if the people do some research on the net they can find out whats really going there.

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  • 7. At 12:32pm on 04 Jun 2009, pattang wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 12:42pm on 04 Jun 2009, TerryNo2 wrote:

    I'm not surprised that the Chinese authorities wish to prevent gatherings to coincide with the end of the Tiananmen protests in 1989.

    I'm not surprised either that internaitonal television crews are around Tiananmen. After all, filming a protest and the police reaction to it is exciting, especially if trouble is expected.

    However at the end of the day, the Tiananmen protests were political protests. You need recall no further than the parading of an image resembling the American icon, the Statue of Liberty, which the protestors created and used as their symbol.

    I wonder how could the protests have been ended without police intervention. Senior chinese Government politicians pleaded with the protestors to stop their protests. But the protestors came to believe they were invincible and wanted to create a revolution of their own. The protestors gained strength from apparent signs of weakness by the Government; this is how they interpreted the pleas by Government officials for the protests to end. But the protestors were not interested in listening. They wanted political power.

    Since 1989 there have been great changes in China. I won't repeat them here, but significantly they revolve around private property, and ths has had an amazing liberating effect. Every day one hears of profits and losses made on the stock market, and with property. Poverty is being reduced - even the UK has a plan to decrease child poverty within the next 20 years.

    However it's worth remembering that the Chinese system of Government is a product of the culture, history and traditions of China. The ethnic make-up of China is different. The way China regulates its economy is different. The composition of the urban/rural population is different. China is neither the UK or the US. What works outside may work in China, but in any event political reform is something that will not come quickly. Changes will emerge, but to be successful they have to be gradual.

    The experience of having protestors parading symbols of the West in pursuit of a political goal did not help.

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  • 9. At 1:00pm on 04 Jun 2009, beijing_2008 wrote:

    Why is it that for the past week - yes I never realised an anniversary (of an event that took place so long ago) takes a week to commemorate - we have been fed an overdose of Tiananmen related stories?

    If a wedding anniversary took that long to commemorate, I'm quite sure the couple will have divorced by the end of it.

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  • 10. At 1:02pm on 04 Jun 2009, GNRChineseDemocracy wrote:

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  • 11. At 1:36pm on 04 Jun 2009, davidwhite44 wrote:

    What has shocked me the most are the CCPs attempts to remove all mention of the anniversary from the mainstream media. I was beginning to think that the media had begun to get the hang of reporting an event with a specific slant that would strengthen their legitimacy (yes, yes the western media does this as Im fully aware). For example, instead of blocking the news of the Tibetan protests last year (as they may have done 5 years ago) they focused on a couple of errors in the form of mismatched photos and transformed China into the victim of biased foreign media reporting with huge success. This was genius, I must admit. However, when it comes to Tiananmen - complete silence.

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  • 12. At 1:38pm on 04 Jun 2009, heyone wrote:

    I'm not sure what kind of law they were referring to - certanly the Chinese contitution allows you to express yourself? It's these plain clothed thugs who are destroying the rule of Law - since when has Chinese law started forbidding people commemorating the deceased?

    It's actually fun to see how the government is scared of the people in 'People's Republic'.

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  • 13. At 1:44pm on 04 Jun 2009, primeq wrote:

    20 years on and Chinese are playing with capitalism wiht american assistance
    pay the workesr very low like 50 cents and reap the middle men margins with help from the multi nationals ! When oyu have so many that will starve if they do not work for rice, and the bare necessity - it would not be such a wonderful world - we must thank the democracies of the West especially Uk and others for seeing that the Chinese leaders are protected so to develop this small club of extremely wealthy capitalists , jsut like what they have done in Russia

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  • 14. At 1:52pm on 04 Jun 2009, heyone wrote:

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  • 15. At 1:54pm on 04 Jun 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Human beings are curious creatures. The best way to spark interest is to deny information about something that others apparently know. I can think of no better commeration of Tiananmen Square than to have a show of force at Tiananmen Square 20 years later. The blocking of internet and communications to the general public only reinforces the ideas of wrong doing on the part of the government. The impact of government control on this date does more to highlight the events of June 4th than organized protest because this is a truer reflection of the governments willingness to enforce power for no other reason than to protect the leadership from public knowledge of the roles they may have played in the events of June 4th. This is a secret that many Chinese know. Like in a movie when the gangster points the gun at a witness to a crime and ask what did you see, the answer is, nothing.

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  • 16. At 2:09pm on 04 Jun 2009, shanjiang wrote:

    I was only 3 when the incident happened, and my memory of that fateful day consists only of Chinese state television reports and vague personal accounts from my parents (my dad encountered the army forces when they were pulling out of the city, and was shot at when taking shelter in a building).

    I find James' blog to be very informative and the quality has improved vastly. The blogs in the last 3 days has put that fateful day into brilliant perspective. Sadly, I fear this tragedy will be slowly forgotten by future Chinese generations.

    I'd like to also mention the program broadcasted on BBC2 last night - Kate Adie returns to Tiananmen Square. The program contains some intriguing personal accounts, as well as footage of the event which I have never seen before.

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  • 17. At 2:59pm on 04 Jun 2009, modagr8 wrote:

    Journalists makes protesters crazy happy party goers, that's why news people are not allowed into Tiananmen Sq. too much trouble to handle.

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  • 18. At 3:31pm on 04 Jun 2009, aeroarchie wrote:

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  • 19. At 3:56pm on 04 Jun 2009, ysjmwsw wrote:

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  • 20. At 4:20pm on 04 Jun 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

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  • 21. At 5:00pm on 04 Jun 2009, RL wrote:

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  • 22. At 5:04pm on 04 Jun 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    After reading many comments I think we have the chicken and egg argument. Did China achieve strides in economic development because of the crack down on students in Tiananmen Square and therefore providing a stable government for progress, or did the revolt of the students demanding greater freedom and opportunities spur the government to more open processes and modern development to forestall further protest by the people.
    Note: although Tinnanmen Square was a protest by students initially, many other organizations were joining in or enroute to Beijing and that is what probably created the response.

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  • 23. At 6:45pm on 04 Jun 2009, David5566 wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this video. I think the so-called 'umbrella treatment' proves very effective and is fun at the same time when being confronted by journalists.

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  • 24. At 6:45pm on 04 Jun 2009, hizento wrote:

    James and the BBC has spent the last 2 days looking for trouble in Tiananmen Square. Guess what, "egg on face".
    There is more violent and police butality in London during the G20 summit but the difference is the BBC and western media sees this as an opportunity to bad mouth China to divert their own country's crime on humanity such as the invasion and murders in Iraq and Afghnaistan and also the imprisonment without trial of Muslim dissidents and innocent people at Guantanamo Bay.

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  • 25. At 8:12pm on 04 Jun 2009, mrivera101 wrote:

    This is what makes the BBC such a very high-quality news service. Regardless of what may be going on around them, the reporters remain composed and continue to do what they went there to do: report.

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  • 26. At 8:30pm on 04 Jun 2009, henrypant wrote:

    Ref umbrellas ... hilarious report James. I am not sure if you found it funny but watching the video was amusing. One of the cops was evening smiling as he played games with the camera operator. At least the authorities are trying a soft approach.

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  • 27. At 8:56pm on 04 Jun 2009, TyphoonHunter wrote:

    I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the beautiful candle lit vigil in Hong Kong where over 100,000 people came out to commemorate the lives of their slain compatriots 20 years ago.

    Wishing to commemorate the lives of hundreds of unarmed people who were needlessly murdered is not part of some Western orientated plot to overthrow the Chinese government (as the 50 centers continually obsess about) but instead about demanding for accountabilty of the government and justice for the victims.

    Ping fan liu si....

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  • 28. At 9:33pm on 04 Jun 2009, lomura wrote:

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  • 29. At 9:50pm on 04 Jun 2009, Springs1 wrote:

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  • 30. At 11:20pm on 04 Jun 2009, U9746596 wrote:

    I live in China

    Yesterday I was out and about and asked a few people I came into contact with about their feelings regarding the anniversary and what happened.

    They had no idea what I was talking about.

    Older people vaguely remember an "incident"

    Younger people have no idea at al

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  • 31. At 11:35pm on 04 Jun 2009, lumiukko wrote:

    Highly entertaining to watch, especially the smiling officers under the umbrellas and am surprised at how friendly they seemed.

    But I think its high time the chinese government acknowledged what happened 20 years ago and let the parents of those that died that day to pay some sort of respect on the square, all they are doing is just grieving is that really too much? As long as its treated as it "never happened", then people from around the world will always remind China of the incident especially in Hong Kong (so impressed with the turn out of the vigil) which in turn will instill a sense of curiousity to the younger generation living and growing up in China.

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  • 32. At 00:14am on 05 Jun 2009, tclim38 wrote:

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  • 33. At 02:22am on 05 Jun 2009, Shanghai2010 wrote:

    "Why is it that for the past week - yes I never realised an anniversary (of an event that took place so long ago) takes a week to commemorate - we have been fed an overdose of Tiananmen related stories?

    If a wedding anniversary took that long to commemorate, I'm quite sure the couple will have divorced by the end of it." - Beijing2008

    Your suggestion makes little sense, given the number of public holidays/commemorations based around events that occurred years ago here in China.

    By your logic, you seem to suggest that things that happened in the distant past should not be marked. So perhaps then on the mainland we should not mark the CCP founding, "Serfs Emancipation Day" Dragon Boat and various others -seeing as they occurred "so long ago"?

    I love China, I love my wife and I love my family. But not one of those is above making mistakes, the important thing is to accept their mistakes and help them develop further, and not make them again.

    We have moved on and developed into a great and powerful nation, but as we have never acknowledged our weaknesses, they are not as distant as you want them to be.

    I suspect you are "divorced" from reality, my friend.

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  • 34. At 03:15am on 05 Jun 2009, nanjingdave wrote:

    Quick update on what was blocked yesterday:

    Here in Nanjing and confirming with friends in Shanghai, a huge amount of the internet was blocked. The BBC website - no, but any part of the website mentioning China/Tiananmen, including this blog - yes.

    I am a special case, living in the foreign students dorm, my internet does not seem to be restricted as much (no youtube for almost 2 months though, no twitter or flickr last few days), and indeed BBC world news is one of only two English language channels on my TV, and suffers no blackouts.

    However, having lived outside the students dorm for the first half of my year here, i know that most people dont have access to BBC World News, and like i said, my Chinese friends in Shanghai tried to get on several websites yesterday and were blocked from doing so.

    Finally, a friend of mine (21 years old) who attends Nanjing Normal, but is currently at her hometown a few hours away was texting me yesterday.

    I asked if there was anything on the news about Tiananmen

    "No, what kind of news"

    You know, to commemorate what happened there twenty years ago.

    "Why, what happened twenty years ago?"

    I met my friends who live in Shanghai in England, but if they had never been abroad, would they have had the same response?

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  • 35. At 12:29pm on 05 Jun 2009, mpknight wrote:

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  • 36. At 3:57pm on 05 Jun 2009, benjaminqiu wrote:

    I was 9 years old, living in Beijing, just a few blocks away from the square. It was a already life-changing for me before the violence.

    I remember this just like it happened yesterday. A large group of college demonstrators walked past the street in front of my primary school at Dongjiaominxiang and shouted "The People's Daily lied! And the China Central Television Lied! The Premier Ignored us! Mr. Deng Xiaoping is too old to think properly!" It was the first time someone told me that the government could lie to you.

    The student demonstrators had a lot of support from the Beijingers. My primary teachers organized a walk to the square to show support (in Chinese "shengyuan") to the students. They even made a crude banner using something resembling a large bed sheet.

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  • 37. At 4:14pm on 05 Jun 2009, mpknight wrote:

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  • 38. At 7:31pm on 05 Jun 2009, RoastDuck wrote:

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  • 39. At 8:46pm on 05 Jun 2009, Bloofs wrote:

    We must remember that although James was treated politely and respectfully by the CHinese police - he is a British national and BBC journalist.

    If a Chinese journalist went to Tiananmen square and started openly asking questions about the massacre, what do you think would happen? More than just 'umbrellas' getting in the way.

    Mass protests in Beijing didn't end with the student protestors. A few years back, Zhongnanhai was surrounded by huge numbers of Falun Gong practitioners protesting the beginning of the crackdown on their movement, and although there was violence, fortunately we didn't see the massacres of the 1980s.

    Ultimately, will the CCP collapse (relatively) peacefully like the Commies in the USSR, or will it take a mass movement to sweep them from power? If it's the latter, there will be lots of violence again. Never underestimate the ruthlessness of the CCP towards its own citizens. But most Chinese are content to sacrifice rights for 'stability'. However, when the full force of the State comes down on individuals (as it did with the mothers of the murdered students as James reports), sadly the value of real human rights becomes all too clear.

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  • 40. At 9:35pm on 05 Jun 2009, endyjai wrote:

    I don't know the demographics of the people the posters ask about this incident. The BBC did go around asking random people what they thought. So what are the results? Most of them knew at least a bit, or gave a more in depth reply.

    And how can the China 'student' above not know about proxies to get to youtube? Most students know that by now.

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  • 41. At 11:13pm on 05 Jun 2009, grow-up wrote:

    I agree with the 23nd, it is very funny about "ambrella treatment",I was laughing when I watched it. I think the method was used by only our great communist party.

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  • 42. At 08:50am on 06 Jun 2009, TerryNo2 wrote:

    There is a lot of reference here to the deaths of students. How many? Well, no one knows.

    What we do know, is that before the PLA fired a shot in the Square, an armoured PLA carrier was set upon with fire by the student.

    It is believed - although not certain - that one soldier survived the attack, after - it has to be said - by some heroic action by some students (who may well have been undr-cover policement who themselves had risked their lives).

    The news media does not say what happened to the other soldiers in the armoured carrier - after all, it would hurt their argument if they showed dead soldiers without any pictures of dead students - but John Simpson says that the blood of the student protestors was running hot and they had turned their non-violent protest into a violent one.

    With first blood to the students, the PLA - with their comrades got rid of in a ghastly fashion - then moved in. Some will say that the reaction of the PLA was disproportionate.

    Really? How many soldiers and policemen were killed by the students?

    Were more students killed than soldiers and policemen?

    I read for the first time on the BBC of a dead policeman who had been proppoed up against the wall and a cigarette placed in his mouth.

    How many more stories like this have been hidden behind a wall of sympathy for the students?

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  • 43. At 09:44am on 06 Jun 2009, Walsh of Wembley wrote:

    Beijing_2008 wrote: Why is it that for the past week - yes I never realised an anniversary (of an event that took place so long ago) takes a week to commemorate - we have been fed an overdose of Tiananmen related stories?

    Indeed, just like your media spent weeks commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Rape of Nanjing in 2007 (which was many years before Tiananmen). But of course this helps to foster patriotism by attacking the Japanese whereas remembering Tiananmen may weaken CCP power.

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  • 44. At 10:59am on 06 Jun 2009, mooncake wrote:

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  • 45. At 3:03pm on 06 Jun 2009, litsim wrote:

    I was finding the men clad in plain clothes ridiculous at first...and later i was giggling to myself. It's fun to do that in front of the camera...haha. But i don't know whether to cry or laugh after watching for several times.

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  • 46. At 03:45am on 07 Jun 2009, Patrick wrote:

    Way to go James! For all our astonishment of China's ascent in the world's forum, we must remember they are still, at heart, a country which despises free speech and freedom of the press, and nothing good can come out of that.

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  • 47. At 10:17am on 07 Jun 2009, SayNoToHypocritcial wrote:

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  • 48. At 3:51pm on 07 Jun 2009, rickytanzil wrote:

    "20 years ago"

    Communism as an ideology has collapsed, Eastern Europe communist government falling one by one by revolutions.

    In China, some young people took advantage by this situation, tried to introduced Western type democracy ideology, by demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, complete with their Democracy Goddest symbol, but at the end of the day of 3/4 June, they failed after struggled for two months. Why?

    Because for the Chinese people, Nationalism is number one.

    Lingering in just the end of the day (June 4,1989) with streaming of archive videos, and look it back by today's HR standard, of course it was a tragedy.
    It was necessary by the Chinese Gov., at that time, to took this bittest pill to healed the whole nation in chaos, to regain their own National Identity back.

    By looking these big picture, it's understable why the Chinese people, as a big Nation, won't remembering or commemorate the 6/4 event, especially when it had sacrificed their own Premier Zhao, and their own beloved chidren.

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  • 49. At 7:03pm on 07 Jun 2009, Quillan wrote:

    First, I have always held in high regard the nonviolent participants of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstration. Regardless of the methods of any government, popular violent revolts or demonstrations always lead to more violence, negatively effecting nonparticipants and bystanders in the process, and the line between friend s and foes began to blur impairing good judgment. Rather, lasting change and peace comes by nonviolent means alone. Second, there is no justification for Chinas cover-up of the event in history books, yet there is no justification for United States hypocrisy and lack of admission for similar atrocities. The American government, like the Chinese government, has committed violence against citizens in the past and likewise censored information and history. Though United States methods are not as overt, and do not possess the same control of information, still many Americans do not know their history to the credit and benefit of the government. Third, if China remains bent towards a freer market, individual freedoms will increase most assuredly. Conversely, if United States remains bent towards a more regulated market, individual freedoms will decrease most assuredly Peace is always a choice.

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  • 50. At 8:03pm on 07 Jun 2009, CaravanPark wrote:

    The high turn out of vigil in Hong Kong is due to the financial turmoil which has affected HK severely. Many workers were laid off. Thousands jobless. These people joined the vigil to show the government their frustration. At the same time pressure China to increase thier funding to HK.
    In history, Hong Kong people never care about their poor cousins in mainland. All about money only.

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  • 51. At 10:27pm on 07 Jun 2009, yifanwang99 wrote:

    Well, the truth wont be hidden forever and eventually, people will know. So it is much better if the state release it instead of the general public discover it themself.

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  • 52. At 09:34am on 08 Jun 2009, ChinaOrg wrote:

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  • 53. At 11:03am on 08 Jun 2009, makefire wrote:

    viewing this blog from another point of view, am really impressed by the novel umbrella technique.

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  • 54. At 12:13pm on 08 Jun 2009, Bloofs wrote:

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  • 55. At 6:51pm on 08 Jun 2009, RoastDuck wrote:

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  • 56. At 07:48am on 09 Jun 2009, waitinghk wrote:

    Who decided to use umbrella to block the journalists in this way?
    I find the whole picture too funny to be reported in foreign mass media. At least they should get umbrellas that are more suitable for 'strong men in sunglasses'. Those they use are too lady-style.
    Don't know if this is what they exactly want to see. Do they want to give an impression that China only blocks the press freedom 'softly'?

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  • 57. At 2:06pm on 09 Jun 2009, aeroarchie wrote:

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  • 58. At 8:39pm on 09 Jun 2009, waitinghk wrote:

    CaravanPark, which newspapers in HK do you read?
    From TV/newspapers that I watch/read, there is a clear theme in the June 4 vigil: commemorates those student/citizen died in the June 4 event 20 years ago.
    A lot of participants want to show that the philosophy told by the Chief Executive, Mr. Tsang, a few days ago in Legislative Council is not what most people in HK agree.
    The 'philosophy' is what the CCP said, and I don't want to repeat here.
    Those officers in HK, after the vigil held, trying to remain silent, or just told the reporter that 'the central government know the participants' desire'. What you told us is a little bit more 'advance' than those officers. They should learn a lesson from you.

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  • 59. At 05:44am on 10 Jun 2009, AChineseStudent wrote:

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  • 60. At 1:08pm on 10 Jun 2009, typingfromwork wrote:

    how is this brilliant converage? It's like batting a beehive with a stick and complaining when you get stun.

    It seems the best way to create a story in China is 1) be a westerner, 2) have a camera and 3) start barging into places forbidden by law and making a huge fuss when refused. If I was to try to get into the house of commons from the front door without a pass then it would only be natural for the security there to prevent me from going in.

    Try going there at any other time of the year and no one could care less. There is a certain narrative that western reporters want to write, and that is "China is a police state". Which is so far from the truth it's not even funny.

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  • 61. At 3:08pm on 10 Jun 2009, hizento wrote:

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  • 62. At 00:36am on 11 Jun 2009, slpryce wrote:

    Are any of you Bloggers actually IN Beijing at the moment? I am astonished that none of you have picked up on the fact that Tiananmen Square is closed off EVERY night before sunset! It is nothing to do with the anniversary, the square just simply closes at night. Just like many other tourist attractions.

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  • 63. At 07:05am on 11 Jun 2009, givemetea wrote:

    please don't pretent that you are going to free Chinese people, let me tell you a secerate:

    Chinese society is made of 100% money, any moral highground are very difficult to hold up.

    No matter if you are U.S. hegemonism, or European colonialism, only money talks.

    You can try to get the police officer's code, and afterwards to give some cash to him privately, ( I think 3000 dollars is enough ) for only getting your enter as a tourism.

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  • 64. At 08:29am on 11 Jun 2009, waitinghk wrote:

    Unluckily, China is one the very few countries that can let journalists 'create' a news story in this way.
    To avoid this, perhaps mainland China can lock all foreigners, or strictly only foreign journalists, outside the 'door' and refuse to give them a 'pass'.
    Please don't do this (lock the door) in Hong Kong, since such 'story-creation' just won't works. Thank you.

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  • 65. At 2:45pm on 11 Jun 2009, laokan wrote:

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  • 66. At 5:20pm on 23 Jun 2009, beijing_2059 wrote:

    Not surprisingly, James & Co. sniffed around the square, looking for troubles and perhaps killings. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending your perspective, it didnt happen. You conveniently tribute this to heavy police presence, but you wouldnt recognize another obvious factor causing this. That is, the majority Chinese citizens are mature enough to realize that chaos could lead the country to nowhere. We were naïve to believe that once we changed our political system, the western countries would treat us nicely and respect our human rights. However, just imagine what would happen should the 89 uprising was succeed: we would have to change our currency exchange rate so we could reduce export that would lead to millions workers loose their jobs; we would have to consume less energy since we are branded as the biggest polluter; we would have to let our provinces break up; we would have to allow foreign banks to operate freely in China, selling us the toxic assets; etc, etc. I am quite happy that none of these happened, since we have at least a government that can stand up to the western pressure. Face the reality people: those who led the 89 uprising had been dumped by Chinese long ago, for they are just a bunch of selfish opportunists. Dont get me wrong: we want democracy, and we will get it, but we will achieve that our own way, in due course. To conclude, any attempts to force China to change your way will not get support from Chinese people, not from me at least.

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  • 67. At 00:51am on 24 Jun 2009, Marmaduke87 wrote:

    The protests in Iran have got me looking more into how the BBC conducts it's affairs in other countries, and what 'news' it reports in these countries.

    I have to say that although a blog is designed to be a personal opinion piece, you could be a little less confrontatious in your reporting as it really does make you look like you're trying to deliberately destabilise the Chinese government.

    Don't get me wrong-Tianman Square is an important part of history, and on a personal level, i disagree with the Chinese Government in trying to cover it up, but i think it's really up to the Chinese people to demand this information, rather than a foreign journalist. I also think it would be incredibly naive to think that the Chinese people would forget about Tianman Square; rather it will get passed down the generations by word of mouth (it it doesn't, it just means the Chinese people would rather forget what happenned, and you have no right to force them to keep remembering).

    You should probably just step down from your soap box and just return to reporting the news. Show a little respect, as like it or not, you are representing Britain.

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  • 68. At 09:53am on 24 Jun 2009, beijing_2059 wrote:

    Just got the news today: EU and US launched a legal case in WTO against China's restriction on exportation of its resources. What a joke! Should we be forced to sell our resources, and sell them cheaply? This is another piece of evidence showing that westerners never respected our rights! Imagine what would happen if the Tiananmen gangs were in power today: they would sell out our national interests, under the western pressure, as they would be the west-installed puppets only. James, stop dreaming on controlling our people, it won't work!

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  • 69. At 8:14pm on 24 Jun 2009, SteveD_Dayton wrote:

    I live in the US state of Ohio, not too far from the site of the Kent State killings of the 1970s. There are several similarities between the Kent State and Tiananmen Square deaths: citizen protests of government policy, followed by government crackdown via troops with live ammunition (although the number of deaths at Kent State was far less than Tiananmen Square). The clear difference, these 20-30 years later, is that the Kent State shootings were part of triggering dramatic changes (albeit often imperfect)in the US citizen outlook toward our government, with many beneficial political and legal results. In addition, on the campus now you will find memorials to those killed and candlelight vigils to remember the fallen. The Kent State actions are still openly discussed and debated. In China, however, its still denial and status quo. I see two response types: one that eventually forces the government to adapt to the will of the people, and the other that subverts the will of the people to the will of those that control the government. One style produces an ever-evolving government that benefits the greater population; the other is simply not sustainable in the long term.

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  • 70. At 11:15am on 25 Jun 2009, beijing_2008 wrote:


    If I'm not mistaken, the Kent State massacre was a result of student protests against the American invasion of Vietnam. The author above states that "the shootings... (led to) many beneficial political and legal results". That may be true, but the underlying cause - America's propensity for war - has not changed.
    Try not to take the moral high ground, please.

    The Chinese Communist Party does not exist in a vacuum. It can not possibly exist in a vacuum. It, too, must constantly evolve (and is evolving) to meet the needs of the Chinese people in these changing times.

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  • 71. At 5:15pm on 01 Jul 2009, Akhtarjavedusmani wrote:

    Chinease goverment's mind seems to pre conditioned to react aginst every thing, which call for openness. Which nation has a clean past. None so has China. From racial prejudice, apperthied, castism, genoside, holocaust and what not. the brutality of the, Thiananmen square became symbolic with supression of Goverment. If simply protestors allowed in 1989, than no one would have remebered it now and none would have been comming to light candels. The idea of goverment if not understood by its subject, than failure of goverment is apperent. Even orchastred as was percieved in every case, than goverment is obiliged to hold mor discussion and let them understands. If every thing is for the greater good for the greater numbers, than ultimatelypeople will see the lite. Why feel so unsecure as a nation as a goverment. It is not individual challang to one self. So why crush so brutally? Only to send massage that no one will dare again to repeat is not enough to justyfy the delibrate and cold blooded brutality directed towards some raw youths who have some different idea. It is an act of vengennce of a kingdom, not of social republics. A mother declare her intention to light a candle the goverment moved in gear to prevent it after 20 years. The backlash of Thiananmen Squares haunts the republic more than any one in death than in living. The two legends have created instead of one, goverment intended one. The insecurity feeling from own people is not the way nation and their goverment survived, Goverments survived with dissent of its own people, who believe that some action of ther goverment or poltical leadership is in wronmg direction. The dissent and protest bring some thing new to think, both by subjects and goverments. The fer is the key dictum of is not answer of every thing. One may only say that, let's light a candle for the goverments first, who are afraid of their subject, than light a candle for the ssubject who believed that their goverment is accomodate the views and not be vindictive. They were wrong in believing their goverment nd now govrment afraid of the wrong committed by them.

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