Who talks about Tiananmen in 2015?

By Daniel J. Bauer

If you are a regular reader here, you know I occasionally ask my students to give me a hand. I might ask them, for example, to respond anonymously to an anecdotal survey on one topic or the other. I have found some of their words particularly interesting. I did not ask for assistance with today’s column, but I was very tempted to do so. I thought of giving students a small chunk of paper in the final minutes of a class. I considered asking them to write down whatever came to their minds with ��June 4, 1989.�� As I say, I did not do that. So, I do not know what might have happened. How many of my students would link June 4, 1989 with the sadness of Tiananmen?

I did not ask for their help because I was afraid of what I might have learned. What if most of my students had no feelings about June 4? What if they’d forgotten? What if I found with other words (that could have followed) that they didn’t care much at all about Tiananmen? We all owe a great thank you to a nationalist newspaper across the straits called ��Global Times.�� Without its help, thousands, perhaps more, would probably know nothing of an open letter 11 brave Chinese students recently posted on line over there, as the saying goes. Here in Taiwan, the students could have written to local newspapers or made their concerns known in other ways.

That is not the case of course in China. There is no writing to newspapers (or in newspapers as with me here) if you are worried about the story of June 4, 1989.

The Brave 11 So, fine, these 11 students wrote a letter and signed it and posted it on the Internet in China. I hope they used pen names and were very, very clever with those names.