The 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre slipped by this week. This Bystander still has a surreal memory of the days immediately ahead of 6-4 of suited bankers attending an Asian Development Bank meeting lined up on the steps of the Great Hall of the People and gazing down on the students gathered in the square below.
Can that really have been 19 years ago? As Donald Straszheim says in Forbes, China has changed so much since. He also notes that 6-4 is an anniversary that matters more to foreigners interested in China than it is to most Chinese.
That said, it still triggers an annual crackdown on dissidents and activists associated with it. Richard Spence writes in his blog from Beijing for London’s Daily Telegraph about how time may be softening official attitudes towards the bereaved, activists and human rights groups, but ever so slowly.
Spence doesn’t make the connection, but that may provide a clue to how a more contemporary group of bereaved, activists and human rights groups, parents of school children in quake stricken Sichuan, will be treated.