The long-lasting image of a lone guy challenging Chinese tanks has actually concerned stand for the bloody face-off between thousands of protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and hardliners in the Communist Party who ordered in the army.
On June 4, 1989, soldiers surrounding the square started shooting.
Wuerkaixi, among the trainee leaders, managed to escape. Thirty years later on, banned from China and living in exile, he’s still haunted.
” I am a survivor of a massacre,” he said. “We simply thought they were going to send in a group of police with their, you know, batons.”
In reality, they sent in soldiers and tanks. Hundreds– perhaps thousands– died.
Positioning as tourists, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer and her crew visited Tiananmen Square, still such a delicate location that visitors need to show ID just to get in.
There is absolutely nothing in this large square to advise any person of the events of 30 years ago– not a statue, not a monolith, not even a small plaque. The events of June 4, 1989 have been removed from Chinese history.
When Palmer showed some of the Tiananmen photos to random young Chinese passers-by, they did not acknowledge what nation they were taken in.
” Do you acknowledge this picture,” Palmer asked one man, revealed an image of the single male’s standoff versus a cordon of tanks.
” No,” he replied.
Minutes later on, the authorities revealed up, then apprehended and held the CBS News team for six hours.
Even 30 years on, Tiananmen set a dangerous precedent, that “People stood and challenged the government [for the first time] in the history of individuals’s Republic of China,” said Wuerkaixi.
However they lost.
In the end, the Communist Celebration didn’t offer an inch on democratic reforms.
To Wuerkaixi, the young hunger-striker who risked his life on Tiananmen Square, it hurts.
Palmer asked, “Are you a sad male?”
” Yes, yes,” he replied. “I have to live with the guilt.”
” I expect there are 2 methods to see it: You belonged to a great and honorable cause; you were also part of an excellent and honorable failure,” said Palmer.
” The honorable part, I take a great pride,” he said. “And the failure, that’s something the whole country paid a great rate for.”
- China still quietly quashing dissent 30 years after bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown(CBS News, 5/31/19)
- Keeping In Mind Tiananmen Square(CBS News, 6/03/99)
- Lessons of Tiananmen Square(” CBS Evening News,” 3/04/05)
- Tiananmen Square: “Great Firewall program” all but hides anniversary of China massacre(CBS News, 6/4/13)
Story produced by Chris Laible and Agnes Reau.
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