Twenty years ago, June 4th 1989, at a moment when other communist governments were collapsing around the world the time seemed ripe for a change. The Tiananmen square gathering on June 4th was part of a still ongoing movement for self-determination and freedom. The pro-Democratic movement in China leading up to The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was largely student-led. It was precisely the “traditionally esteemed” (Ackerman 422) students, who falling on hard times following the Cultural Revolution who would take a leading role in mobilizing the occupation of Tiananmen Square. According to Ackerman and DuVall this was of little surprise as “Chinese students have a long history of political action; Students had sparked the revolt against the Tang dynasty in the ninth century and also the Taiping Rebellion in the nineteenth century.” (Ackerman 422) The knowledge of student led uprising was not limited to those of endogenous form only. “Students knew what workers had done in Poland through Solidarity.” (Ackerman 423) In this way, international solidarity was available to the Chinese students.
Despite the deaths, injuries, and repression by the Chinese government June 4th is still alive and well in the public mind. Twenty years later newspapers abound with stories of the famed day, many focusing on the still repressive anti-Democratic government of China. One thing can be sure, as even now in 2009 the Chinese government tightens security on the square in fear that this day of memorial will inspire those who still seek democracy, the movement for democracy lives on both in China and abroad. This is a movement more enduring than any government, no matter how tyrannical. It’s like planting a fruit tree for which you may not be around when it finally bears fruits. Keep on planting the seeds of democracy and dissent to tyranny. Long live the movement.
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All above quotes taken from A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict.