Dismayed by Media

Nowadays, we can’t read about anything that is really going on with our country in the official media. Baffled and bemused, we turn to the foreign media.
Translated by Luisetta Mudie
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By a listener in China, name withheld

I was in my first year of high school around June 4, 1989, which is 20 years ago now.

My memories of that time are fairly hazy. I have some fragmented memories of the student movement from news coverage on the television. I don’t even know if these were live broadcasts from the scene. Our class leader would talk to us about this a lot, although this mostly consisted of us listening to his opinions on the subject. He was very optimistic about the student movement, and he kept telling us that there would be no crackdown.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way he predicted. The student movement was pronounced “counterrevolutionary turmoil” and quashed in the space of a single night.

Even though the movement was suppressed, things had been pretty good in China up until then, and people were able to read about what happened in the official newspapers and to have discussions about it.

Nowadays, we can’t read about anything that is really going on with our country in the official media. Baffled and bemused, we turn to the foreign media.

It’s a bit like the suppression of the Falun Gong. Back then, I discovered that Falun Gong had been going in China for quite some time, and had a pretty broad influence, including an incident of self-immolation...

At the time I felt sad and very angry that we had had no wind of such a big story that had been going on for such a long time. And now you want us to believe that it is evil, and has been responsible for so many deaths? Do you take us all for idiots who are incapable of critical thought? Or is it that you have been training us all along to become just such idiots?

These days I listen to the nightly broadcasts from Radio Free Asia, in spite of interference from the crazed dance of the golden snake [a reference to Chinese government jamming of RFA broadcasts]. As the Chinese Communist Party’s control of the media gets tighter and tighter, at least I am able to hear the voice of truth, thanks to advances in technology, and even greater thanks to the free peoples of the world. No matter how strong the forces of evil become in the world, they will never be able to crush hearts and minds that are truly free.

Other people’s oppression is also our own. Other people’s adversity is also our misfortune.

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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