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6/4/1989- Chinese Army Troops Storm Tiananmen Square To Crush The Pro-Democracy Movement.
Almost to the end, the students thought they could win. As troops closed in on Tiananmen Square before dawn on Sunday, the unarmed protesters defiantly stood their ground. But two hours later, as gunfire echoed outside the square, the last holdouts gave in to despair. “We can’t let any more blood flow,” someone shouted over the loudspeaker. “We must leave.” The last 1,000 or so students wearily walked out of the square, many of them in tears. At that point the Army stormed down the streets toward Tiananmen — tanks, armored personnel carriers and trucks full of troops, spitting gunfire in all directions. They smashed through the protesters’ frail barricades and charged into the square, where they demolished the students’ provocative statue, “the Goddess of Democracy.” Angry civilians poured into the streets shouting “You beasts! You beasts!” The soldiers shot back, killing 500 to 1,000 people and leaving the democracy movement in ruins.
Newsweek June 12, 1989
Chen Guangcheng with his family at a hospital in Beijing, China, on May 1, 2012. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, James Brown, and Regional Medical Officer Wayne Quillin are also pictured. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
According to Chen, U.S. officials quickly abandoned him shortly after this photo was taken:
When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday [May 2nd], Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “Many Americans were with me while I checked into the hospital and doctors examined me. Lots of them,” he told me from his hospital bed, where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during his daring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.” The ordeal was all the more bewildering because Chen is blind and was hurt during his escape; he needs crutches or a wheelchair to move around.
Chen continued, telling The Daily Beast that he wants to leave the country on Hillary Clinton’s plane.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng tells us he wants out of the country immediately—even if that means getting a seat on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s plane.
This week’s cover story on China’s billionaire Tiger Women is, of course, by the OG Tiger Mom herself: Amy Chua. Check out this cover!
[Update: here’s the cover story.]
Well, there you have it tumblr. Until you—yes, YOU—demand better conditions for the people toiling away building your MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads, nothing will drastically change. You can start by signing this petition. Or this one. And if you haven’t read the Times piece on the factory conditions in China, read it.
China’s making some money these days—but it’s people are still quite repressed.
Daily Pic: The artist Ai Weiwei, breaking a 2,000-year-old Han dynasty vase, in a publicity image for his 2009 Munich show and its catalog. As most people know by now, Ai was detained a week ago by the Chinese authorites, for using activism as his art supply.
Melinda Liu and Marije Vlaskamp have a nice piece on the country’s ever-growing underclass of college grads:
Since the ’90s, Chinese universities have doubled their admissions, far outpacing the job market for college grads. This year China’s universities and tech institutes churned out roughly 6.3 million graduates. Many grew up in impoverished rural towns and villages and attended second- or third-tier schools in the provinces, trusting that studying hard would bring them better lives than their parents had. But when they move on and apply for jobs in Beijing or Shanghai or any of China’s other booming metropolises, they get a nasty shock.
They may be smart and energetic, but some are starting to ask if the promise of a better life was a lie. They’re known as “ants,” for their willingness to work, their dirt-poor living conditions, and the seeming futility of their efforts. “These ants have high ambitions but virtually no practical skills,” says Prof. Zhou Xiaozheng, a leading sociologist at the People’s University of China. It’s a potentially explosive situation. Unrest is sweeping the manufacturing sector, where strikers at several factories have demanded not only better pay but also the right to elect their own representatives for collective-bargaining efforts—a demand that could pose a serious political challenge to the regime.
Gross makes the case that China will not be able get rich without allowing individual freedom:
Much of China’s extraordinary development has been based on moving peasants into manufacturing. The key to future job growth, says Stephen Green, chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai, will lie in the service sector. And the largest components of the services sector—financial services, entertainment, media—remain firmly in the grip of the state. Going forward, it will become more difficult for a services-based economy to prosper with restraints on communication and expression. China faces a fundamental paradox, says Damien Ma, an analyst at the Eurasia Group. “It needs to have fairly closed information flow for political stability purposes, but doing so stifles innovation.”