Today is June 4, the 27th anniversary of the military assault on Tiananmen Square to clear it of student protesters. In China it is simply known as “Six Four” (the Chinese way of saying June 4), and it is such a sensitive anniversary that numbers 6 and 4 get censored on the internet. Never mind, though, if anyone really wants to reference it, they just call it Five Thirty-five (or May 35).
I was not in China that spring, but watched with the rest of the world as the events unfolded on live television. When I returned to China the following year, the aftermath of the event still hung heavy in the air as the people waited to see which direction the Party would take the nation — back to Maoism, or forward with economic reform and development. Between 1989 and 1992, it was not at all clear that China would pursue the course she did.
For those of you wanting to get up to speed on the June 4 movement and events, these books are a great place to start:
Tiananmen Diary: Thirteen Days in June, by Harrison E. Salisbury
Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic, by Bettie Bao Lord
The Tiananmen Papers, by Liang Zhang and Andrew Nathan
Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now, by Jan Wong
The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited, by Louisa Lim
Image credit: History News Network