Naming Taboo: China

By YingTing Tseng (YXT5059)

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past”.  However, for most Chinese people, they are only allowed to look forward.  In China, Tiananmen Square Protest is one typical taboo which can not be found in the history textbook.


Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989 天安門 | It is also called the June Fourth Incident 六四

On the morning of June 4, 1989, months of student protests were violently quashed by China’s soldiers in the heart of Beijing, leaving a legacy that the world will not soon forget. (Time)

BBC News – June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square Massacre

WHO – Although the June Fourth Incident is used to be described as a student movement, majority people who were injured or hurt on June Third early and on Fourth, they were workers than educated youths.

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WHEN – April 15, 1989 ~ June 4, 1989

WHERE – Places like Beijing and Chengdu.  The main killing fields in the capital were near the plaza (Tiananmen Square), not in it.

WHAT – Hunger strike, sit-in, occupation of the public square

WHY – To accomplish the social equality, Press Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Socialism and Democracy


Related Resources: China’s June 4, 1989: Remembered — and Misremembered | A Chinese Reality

To be honest, I am not confident enough to talk about Tiananmen Square Protest because I don’t connect with this history at all.  Or when I randomly ask my Chinese classmates, the most respond I get is “I do not know too much either”.  Therefore, I would like to cite the comment by Adi Ignatius, an editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review, as a conclusion:

Yet the victims of Tiananmen did not die in vain. The crackdown produced deep anguish around the world. Later in that tumultuous year, when the winds of protest arrived in East Germany, leaders there faced a similar choice. In the end they avoided bloodshed. They opened checkpoints at the Berlin Wall, and the East bloc was on its way toward gaining its freedom.

Someday, the Chinese will have their day, too.


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