Date of this Version
June 4, 2009 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
Last August, we called on contributors and friends of the blog around the world to send in short reports on how the Olympics were being covered and received in their neck of the woods. Recently, we sent out a similar call regarding today’s anniversary. Here are a few of the responses we’ve received so far, pulled together into a piece that we think would make for interesting reading beside the very different “around the world” survey that David Flumenbaum has done and will keep updated over at the Huffington Post. Included here are some comments by people who contributed to our “Olympics Around the World” feature or have written for China Beat on other things before. We’ll link to those earlier pieces when listing their names below, and are also pleased to welcome a couple of newcomers to the mix, people whose writings have been mentioned on the site, but who have not written for us before.
James Farrer, Tokyo
My daily paper in Tokyo, the Asahi Shimbun (Japanese language version), has been running a series of very prominent articles all week on June 4th. One article that caught my eye on June 1 was an attempt to systematically track down and account for the most prominent leaders of the 1989 student movement. The article featured an informative chart with names and summary accounts of 21 former student leaders, seven of whom stayed in China and 14 of whom left the country. With the exception of Wuerkaixi, who lives in Taiwan, it seems all the others are in the US. None seem to have any connection to Japan or significant stays in Japan.
The article on June 1, as well as the article today (June 4), features interviews with Wuerkaixi, who lives in Taiwan with his Taiwanese wife, and works for a US company. Today, it is reported that he was refused entry to Macau, and was held up at the Macau airport before returning to Taiwan. He was travelling on a Taiwanese travel document. He reported that he had not seen his family in twenty years. Otherwise, there was a first-hand report about a group of former student leaders and some current activists who meet regularly in Beijing to discuss reforms, a story about the Tiananmen Mothers, and a story about Zhao Ziyang’s book. I have not noticed any large public events or ceremonies involving June 4th here in Japan, but it may be that I am not following the right news. (I don’t regularly watch TV….)