Hong Kong Crowds Mark Tiananmen Square Killings (New York Times)

1989: I remember cutting out on my college summer job to read all of the news magazines emblazoned with that emblematic man in front of a tank photo. I felt that I needed to know a lot more.

1995: At a roundtable discussion at a study abroad at Hong Kong University, I got a snooty fatherly lecture from Alan Lee essentially saying that we had no business poking around Hong Kong politics, and that they knew better. Well, of course they would know better, but I thought the whole point of a study abroad was to go somewhere and find out more about the place. Martin Lee, by being far more pessimistic about the Basic Law, was far more supportive.

1997: Graduation from law school was on 6/4. Some East Asian professor from Columbia was the honorary degree recipient; never directly mentioned the significance of the day. Very curious.

2004: Fifteen years later, a cycle curves back onto itself much like the Chinese zodiac. Some people were threatened, many were scared, some became more wealthy and powerful, many became emboldened. No one can deny that many people were killed, and it is up to some to make sure that it is not repeated.

0 thoughts on “6/4”

  1. Firstly, I am glad that someone specifically posted about this.

    Secondly, the NYT referenced article had an interesting quote:

    Can you say Taiwan? Hong Kong Independence ala Taiwan Indepedence. Study history boys and girls and you shall find the answers you seek.

    15 years ago today, I was wishing I were there, cursing my fate for being left on the sidelines on the most momentous event in 20th century Chinese history. I was studying Chinese history and really getting into it. I ended up writing a senior thesis on Chinese Political Culture. My brother was out there and had a lot of stories to tell me. He barely made it out on the last few buses the US Embassy was able to scrounge up. They pretty much took any foreigner out of there, regardless of nationality by that time.


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