Date of this Version
June 4, 2008 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
This is the second part of our commemoration of Liu Si. Here, instead of looking backward (though some links include information about the past), our focus is on the present and the future. We point our readers to pieces that take up the contemporary meaning of the 1989 protests and the crackdown that followed, or assess the current state of Tiananmen-related issues, such as patterns of protest and human rights.
1. The latest issue of China Rights Forum, a publication of Human Rights in China, is titled “June 4/2008” and combines retrospective and forward-looking materials. All of the poem, essays, and calls to action it contains are available in their entirety online, as are its useful FAQ and “Resource List” sections.
2. A thoughtful and comprehensive look at the state of civil society and patterns of urban protest in contemporary China–two topics that attracted a great deal of attention in 1989 and continue to generate important discussion within and beyond Chinese studies–is “Political and Social Reform in China: Alive and Walking,” which appears in the latest issue of the Washington Quartlery. It is co-written by George G. Gilboy and Benjamin L. Read (the latter of whom was interviewed by China Beat‘s Angilee Shah back in February).
3. There have been many attempts to compare and contrast the “Tiananmen Generation” of Chinese youth to those of later years–a particularly interesting recent one is Chris Buckley’s just-out report for Reuters, “China’s ’08 Generation Finds a Voice in Tumultuous Times.”
4. A view from Hong Kong, which is still the only part of the PRC where open discussion of June 4 is allowed and commemorations for the martyrs of 1989 routinely occurs, is provided by Emily Lau, a legislator based in the SAR, in her openDemocracy essay on “Tiananmen, 1989-2008.”
5. This year, not surprisingly, some efforts have been made to relate the earthquake and related current issues to the traumas of 1989, with a particularly noteworthy case in point being comments by Bao Tong, a former high-ranking official who remains under house arrest because of his outspoken stance on Tiananmen. For his remarks and links to interviews with both Bao and “Tiananmen Mothers” leader Ding Zilin, see this post by Rebecca MacKinnon.