To me, the most fascinating aspect of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre is that China’s government has blocked a number of western websites and services â€” Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and more â€” to keep its people from reading anything about the historical event.
Can the absence of something speak more loudly than the thing itself? It sounds like something out of a Samuel Delany novel, in which theÂ very language of protest is subtly excised from a people.
One problem with wiping out history like this is that subsequent generations have so little idea of what happened that they inadvertently let the truth out simply because they don’t even know something was suppressed, as happened on the 18th anniversary.
I also wonder how “the people” will interpret the week-long shuttering of their favorite social networking sites “for maintenance”. If this becomes an annual occurrence, will the week of June 4 eventually become known in China as Dark Internet Week? Will they start to develop conspiracy theories as to why this keeps happening? Will they infer motivations more sinister than the Tiananmen Square Massacre itself?
Anyway Here’s a neat New York Times piece on That Guy Who Stood In Front Of The Line Of Tanks, which still ranks as the greatest f*** you moment ever caught on film.
And here’s a post about the anniversary in Beijing from James Fallows, the Atlantic’s correspondent in China. You can go check out his excellent blog for a bunch of posts about how arbitrary China’s media censorship has been this week.
(UPDATE! Maybe the original Tiananmen Square Protests were meant as an anniversary celebration for ten-cent beer night.)