June 6, 2011

Tibet: Commemorating the Tienanmen Square While Looking Into the Future

The events at the Tienanmen Square showed Tibetans that the Chinese government not only oppressed minorities but also the Chinese people, leading activists to raise the question of the stability of the Chinese regime. 

Below is an article published by the Tibet Post:

The 22nd anniversary of the Tienanmen square massacre was marked by Canadian author Joann Dionne and Tibetan political activist Tenzin Tsundue in Dharamshala at the weekend (June 4th). A screening of the film ‘The Tank Man' was presented, aided by discussions and a presentation on the political situation in Beijing - ranging from the year of the uprising: 1989, to the present situation.

Joann Dionne, author of ‘Little Emperors: A Year with the Future of China', spoke candidly about the situation in China during the 1980s, which saw the student movement develop into an uprising that captured global awareness.

Dionne presented the audience with readings from the book 'Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship', by fellow author and associate Denise Chong.

She delved into the lives of three Chinese activists, led by Lu Decheng, who defaced the painting of Mao in Tianenmen Square in 1989 by throwing paint concealed in eggs at the portrait. They received heinous sentences for their dissidence, and the story of their lives documents how they were tortured and traumatised at the hands of Chinese officials.

The moving documentary film -The Tank Man- which depicts the infamous unidentified lone man who stood before a line of Chinese Military Tanks in Beijing, 1989, was screened - symbolising a nation of suppressed emotions with one symbolic, brave stand. The photograph and short reel of footage that documented the momentous 20th Century event, was captured by Western journalists, and aided by Chinese protesters to show the world what was happening under the Communist regimes' iron rule.

The documentary showed the violence that occurred in the early summer of 1989 in Beijing, and the commemoration in the TCV school hall in Dharamshala soon answered questions on why it was so difficult to protest under Chinese Communist rule.

Many comparisons were drawn to The Tibetan issue during a rallying speech by activist Tenzin Tsundue. He drew upon his youth; when he had first heard the news of the Tienanmen massacre:

 "We all knew the Chinese were brutal to Tibetans, but when we saw what they did to their own people - their children - we were shocked".

"This event has fundamentally changed our stance", he added, highlighting that it was the government and not the Chinese people who were committing the crimes. "We celebrate our solidarity with Chinese people all over the world".

The event in the exiled Tibetan community raised probing questions on how unsatisfied and unstable the Chinese people are with the current regime - and how closely tied they are with the Tibet situation. The intimate event posed the question - what will the suppressed millions under Chinese rule do next - and when?

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