For most of you, it is just an ordinary day – another school day, or another office day. Yet, it has been – or at least, should have been – a special day for the Chinese since 25 years ago. So, please forgive me for cancelling the Ch. 452 Review entirely, while instead writing this little piece that might not be anything of your interest at all.
Three years ago I made a post quoting Wikipedia on the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Simple maths would tell us that 2014 marks a quarter of a century since the tragedy. Yet in places where open mourning of the people who were killed is still possible, the Tiananmen Square massacre is still remembered like no other incidents, except perhaps the 1937 Nanking massacre. Ironically, there is one thing in common for these two incidents: somebody is still denying the truth.
Every educated Chinese could tell you who have been trying to forget about the Nanking massacre: the Japanese government and their blind supporters. Not only they have been trying to forget about the massacre, they have been telling blatant lies that there has been no massacre at all. So, in the words of some Japanese government officials and school textbooks, there was no invasion into Chinese land, just “entry”; there was no massacre of men and rape of women, just… nothing.
Of course, the Chinese government and people are not happy about this – for good reasons. Indeed, how could anyone deny such horrible war crimes? How could anyone with the tiniest bit of human conscience consecrate the shameless war criminals, while at the same time brainwashing their next generation into thinking that they have done nothing wrong? The message from the Chinese government has been clear: the nation of Japan should face the truth of the history, to apologise and to learn from their wrong deeds.
Can you imagine what the Chinese government has been doing to the Tiananmen Square massacre?
You might find it surprising, but they have been doing exactly the same thing as the Japanese government has been doing to the Nanking massacre. Denying the crime? Check: “Nobody died on the Tiananmen Square!” Brainwashing their next generation? Check: school textbooks either call the massacre “incident” or “riot”. Consecrating the criminals? Well, not exactly, but they do something opposite yet similar: they incriminate those they killed. So, the demonstration against corruption and dictatorship is said to be treason, meaning that those who care about the country are considered traitors.
What makes the Chinese government worse than the Japanese government over a blatant lie about its dirty history is that, while the Japanese government hurt people of another country, the Chinese government hurt people of its own country. There is a saying that the Chinese fight best against their own kind, and it is just oh so true.
You might wonder why the government of a country could do such horrible things, while Joe Countryman keeps telling his children to never lie. Unfortunately, governments do such things exactly because they are governments: it is all about politics. The Japanese government want to protect the “dignity” of the nation, so they refuse to apologise for the Nanking massacre. The Chinese government want to protect the “sovereignty” of the Chinese Communist Party, so they refuse to apologise for the Tiananmen Square massacre. From a certain point of view, it is just so simple.
Such simple political concerns mean that the Chinese government are extremely cruel to anyone who speak for those who were killed: some were put into jail, some were put under house arrest, some were forced to flee overseas, and some were murdered. Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of all this nonsense is that families of those who were killed cannot mourn openly, while their beloved ones are considered “national enemies”.
I do not want to talk about simple politics here, only some humanity. The families which have lost one member or – God bless them – more to the massacre are owed a proper answer and the truth. The senseless “Nobody was killed on the Tiananmen Square!” leaves a big, big question: if my beloved was not killed, why hasn’t he or she come home over these 25 years? The cruel notion that the protestors were traitors also leaves an unanswerable question: Why would protesting against corruption be considered treason?
Until there are proper answers to the questions, we are obliged to keep asking, because in the end it really isn’t about politics, but humanity.
No matter what people say during June 4 gatherings, not everyone is interested in overthrowing the People’s “Republic” of China. What we say today actually echoes what was said in 1989: we love our country, and we are not committing treason. Rather, we only want our voices be heard: in 1989, it was “fight corruption”; today, it is “let those who want to mourn, mourn openly and freely”.
More importably, history as history must be recorded and taught accurately. As there was a massacre, the massacre must be told to our generation and the generations that are to come. We might be able to let go of the massacre, but not before it is guaranteed that the history would be accurately preserved, while the heartbroken families could honour their lost members without fear of being arrested or even killed.
Only then we Strange Nobody can let go of the massacre and let the families have their time with their lost members, but before that, we would always embrace them and share their burden: their family problems are our national problem.