My Awakening

Since [the 1989 crackdown], I have found my news from other sources, because it's easier to find out what's really going on that way.
Translated by Luisetta Mudie
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By a listener in China, name withheld

Time has passed so quickly, and the 20th anniversary of the June 4 massacre is almost upon us.

Twenty years ago, I was a youth of 17. I watched the coverage of the students demonstrating on the television daily.

I heard their cries on behalf of the future of the nation and its people, as they came out onto the streets to march for freedom and democracy.

My blood was up as well, even though I was 1,000 miles away. I was always following them in my thoughts.

The middle of the night of June 3 and the early hours of June 4 should go down in the memory of the nation. We still don't know how many ordinary citizens and students were massacred.

I had tears running down my face as I watched the news on television that night.

From that day on, my image of the Party and government as something great and mighty, glorious and right, was shattered.

From that day forward, I learned how to judge and to think for myself, and not to have my thinking controlled by the authorities through the media.

Finding news

Since then, I have found my news from other sources, because it's easier to find out what's really going on that way.

Whenever I look at those horrific scenes from the massacre, or when I hear stories of those who lost children or were crippled on June 4, my heart bleeds, and I am deeply affected by their refusal to give up the struggle, and by their pioneering spirit.

I also believe that they are not alone. I am sure that there are tens of thousands more people who lend them their silent support.

Now, a lot of people are calling for a reappraisal of June 4. I think that this would be a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Because those students who lost their lives on behalf of the people are heroes in the hearts of that people.  They shouldn't have to be blamed for what happened.

To allow the oppressors the chance to "rehabilitate" their victims is just to perpetrate another form of oppression on those who have died a tragic death.

I believe that those who can't see clearly will turn to ashes in the end, and that there is no hope of reforming those who refuse to see the truth.

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.


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