Giant on the move
I spent a year working at a university in China in 2002. With the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown looming, I wanted to solicit some thoughts from my former students. Unusually — but perhaps not surprisingly in retrospect — I did not hear back. I did hear from friends who are currently studying abroad. The following views are from one 27-year-old originally from Fujian province, who came two years ago to do a Master’s degree in Canada. Anonymity was requested.
Caption: Undergraduates stand in front of a Chinese national flag after three minutes of mourning for Sichuan earthquake victims at Fudan University in Shanghai May 12, 2009. REUTERS/Aly Song
Q: What are your thoughts on June 4th?
My knowledge about June 4th is from a three-hour documentary called Tiananmen. I know it’s definitely illegal in mainland China but these things always appeal to college students. I admire the courage of the protesters and their passion for this country. It’s quite difficult for me to imagine people acting the same nowadays. On the other hand, I don’t think those protests were well-organized, and things seemed to be out of control when they were close to the end … Chaos won’t do any good to this country. We all know that China’s political system is not good, but what is better?
Life is better, at least for people living in cities. The widespread use of computers and the Internet make it possible for us to find out hidden facts. Although the government has set up the Golden Shield Project [sometimes better known as the Great Firewall of China], one doesn’t need to be a computer science expert to figure out how to deal with it.