June 4 was the twentieth anniversary of Tiananmen Square. On June 4, 1989 Chinese students gathered on Tiananmen
Square in Beijing demonstrating for a free-er more democratic China. Chinese tanks came and mowed them down. Many
students died-- even those who had evacuated the square-- and some bystanders as well. Thousands of people died.
On June 4, 2009 the square was closed and a heavy military presence was keeping an uneasy peace. Blogs and social
networking sites were shut down for the day. Wu'er Kaixi, a student who has been exiled, was denied entrance into
Macau where his parents live. Other dissidents were made to leave Beijing or forced to stay indoors. The Chinese
authorities did not want any debate, discussion, or memorials of that day twenty years ago where many died for their
vision of democracy. The government has never taken any responsibility for the bloodshed.
I wasn't there when the tanks came. I wasn't there when shots rang out across the square. I wasn't there for the
massacre. To the Chinese people who were murdered, to their families and friends, to those left behind I want you
to know that one Westerner remembers and honors all of you.
Portland Press Herald, Thursday June 4, 2009, page 8. China takes hard-line stand on 'massacre' anniversary.
J. Maarten Troost, Lost on Planet China. New York: Doubleday, 2008. paperback, 382 pps.