San Francisco shouldn’t let Beijing dictate how or where it memorializes the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square massacre.

By Jianli Yang, Fengsuo Zhou, Fang Zheng – Jun 1, 2023

On May 30, 1989, pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square erected a large statue, called the Goddess of Democracy, that resembled New York’s Statue of Liberty. It symbolized the desire of the Chinese people for freedom, democracy, and human rights and soon became a focal point for demonstrators. On June 4, 1989, the Chinese regime launched a brutal crackdown against the protesters. The regime destroyed the statue and many other symbols of the movement, and killed an untold number of students and civilians. That brutal campaign to erase any memory of the protests continues today—not just in China but also in the United States and other countries where statues and memorials may be found.

In China, suppression of any discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident is swift and thorough. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) censors the Internet, blocks social media sites, and bans any public discussion or reporting on the incident. It also continues to prohibit any public gatherings or protests related to the event and arrests and punishes those, including the Tiananmen Mothers, who attempt to commemorate the protests and crackdown or seek to hold the government accountable for its violent actions. The CCP has also attempted to erase the physical symbols of the massacre. The famous “Tank Man” images, which captured the moment when a lone protester stood in front of a line of tanks, have been scrubbed from Chinese history books and are never shown in public exhibitions or media. In fact, no one knows who the Tank Man was or what has become of him… [Continue Reading]