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April 29, 2009 in the China Beat


Copyright April 29, 2009. Used by permission.


China Beat sent out a note to a few scholars and journalists who have carefully watched and written about the events of 1989, asking them to send in short commentaries detailing what they wish more people knew, associated with, or remembered about that spring. We ran the first piece in this limited series, by John Gittings, on April 23, the second, by Jonathan Unger, on April 26. This is the third piece.

Yang Guobin is an Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College. He has written essays on many subjects, including the students protests of 1989, and is the author of The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online, which will be published in June by Columbia University Press.

Media played an important role in the mobilization of Chinese protesters in 1989. Twenty years afterwards, the protest movement is still linked to media, except that it is now the new media. The Internet has become a reservoir of the history and memories of that fateful year.

The most comprehensive English-language material on the Internet is perhaps the web site The Gate of Heavenly Peace run by the Long Bow Group. Because it is already well known to readers of China Beat, I will mention two other sources.