04 June 2009

20 years on, how much has changed?

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square "incident". Naturally the media, the non-Chinese media that is, has commented on the occasion.

This morning Stephen McDonell reported live from the Square for ABC Radio's AM.

For a video showing how the Chinese authorities muzzled the international media check out this Al Jazeera report.

I visited Tiananmen Square in late 1997. Apart from being impressed with its size I remember thinking how calm everything looked. Perhaps it was the tourists, perhaps the lack of a visible security presence, perhaps the presence of souvenir vendors (from one of whom I bought the kite in the photo above) which made the place look much like so many other global tourist focal points (Trafalgar Square minus Nelson's Column came to mind). Maybe I was just beguiled by the hospitality and friendliness of the people I met. I don't remember asking any questions about 1989. Probably I was content to be the quintessential innocent abroad who believed that because I saw no signs of dissent that all was, if not well, at least on the mend....

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