Thirty years ago today, the Chinese Government massacred hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mainly students protesting in Tiananmen Square. Here’s an interesting article written by a Chinese woman, recounting how she only found out about Tiananmen when she went to the US for grad school.
“When I hear ‘Tiananmen,’ the first thing I think of is Tank Man,” said the boy from New Hampshire.
“What is Tank Man?”
“You gotta be kidding me.” He pulled out his laptop and typed into Google. “You have never seen this before?”
I explained how the Chinese government blocked websites and censored information, and that politics was taboo in my family. Nevertheless, I felt a deep sense of shame. I had just been taught something new about my own country from an American who had never been to China.
I started elementary school in 1994. That August, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party issued the “Outline for Implementing Patriotic Education in China.” With an extreme culling of collective memory, the campaign painted China as a historically aggrieved nation still under siege from external foes, and the Party as its heroic savior and rightful guardian. Unbeknownst to me, “patriotic education” was the Party’s solution to its crisis of legitimacy after the Mao-era disasters and the bloodshed of 1989.