June 5, 2017

CLAUDIA ROSETT: Keeping Faith With Tiananmen.

I was there, reporting in Beijing for The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, and in a story I filed for the May 22 Asian edition, on “The Creed at Tiananmen Square,” the message on that poster figured in the lead. One of my editors, Seth Lipsky — who now runs The New York Sun — added a line that comes to mind today: “What’s happening in China right now is something the world will remember.”

We must remember. It is a matter not only of keeping faith with the heroes of Tiananmen, but with our own creed that liberty is an unalienable right. It is a matter of understanding something vital about the undercurrents in China, something that Beijing’s rulers would prefer we forget.

In the 28 years since June 4, 1989, China’s ruling Communist Party has done everything in its power to obliterate inside China the memory of the Tiananmen uprising. As far as China’s government alludes to it at all, Tiananmen’s haunting cry for freedom is recast as a “disturbance,” caused by a rabble. The lone man who on June 5 stopped a column of tanks has become an inspiring symbol abroad, but in China he has literally disappeared. It is by now routine to find in the news, on each anniversary of the June 4 slaughter in Beijing, articles such as today’s dispatch in the Financial Times, headlined “Support grows in China for 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.”

Read the whole thing.

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