My 20-Year Journey

When the "June 4 incident" shocked the world 20 years ago, I was very young, so I just accepted the authorities' imperious interpretation of what I had seen and heard, as most other people habitually did, as "counter-revolutionary turmoil."
Translated by Luisetta Mudie
2009-06-01
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By a listener in China, name withheld

After that, the slogan "Stability Above All Else" sounded the length and breadth of the land, and Chinese people used it as a tonic, as if to make their hearts beat more strongly.

While I also had limited immunity to this, I felt that most of my own mental pressure would turn to tranquility if only I could get into university and find a job.

Then, just when I was about to finish high school, go to university, and get a job, I suddenly realized that I had lost my way. It wasn't because I'd picked the wrong subject in which to specialize. It was because a series of setbacks had made me realize that normal levels of energy weren't enough to break even in the world of study.

It seemed that there was never enough ... that putting in still greater efforts would be futile, because it would never lead to the inner threshold that you wanted it to lead to.

This lack of inner poise led to my rebellion against the whole of society. The Berlin Wall inside my psyche came tumbling down, piece by piece, and I came to understand truly the spirit that led those students to think it was worth risking their lives for social equality and democracy on June 4. If society were free and democratic, would my employment situation be the way it is?

I look around and see people endlessly petitioning, one mining disaster after another, fake goods everywhere, clashes between citizens and the police intensifying by the day...

And I feel like a convicted criminal who has been given a whole new life.

I have been freed from the characteristic fraud carefully dreamed up by the authorities, this hypocritical semblance of prosperity that they have been acting out for the last 20 years: a revolutionary farce that looks set to continue...

RFA’s Mandarin service asked its listeners in China to submit essays of up to 500 words related to the Chinese government’s deadly June 4, 1989 crackdown on protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. These are some of their recollections.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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