Remembering Tiananmen Square

"With their college IDs as identification and their names out in the open, the students had to take responsibility for what they were doing, and to recognise their own positions of power as representatives of the student body. Under tremendous political pressure, as well as pressure of time and space, the student organisations encountered numerous obstacles in their efforts to learn about and practise procedural democracy. Some students' status was representative in name only, and would not withstand scrutiny. Yet faced with the final decision whether or not to withdraw from Tiananmen Square, the student leaders still relied on a vote to persuade their followers, as well as themselves, of the rightness of their course of action. The internal working of their organisations was always dependent on democratic legitimation."-Chaohua Wang-

In "Diary", Chaohua Wang, editor of One China, Many Paths, writes thoughtfully of an event that continues to haunt not only her, but her country. Wang was a member of the standing committee of the Beijing Autonomous Association of College Students in the spring of 1989, and after 4 June was on the Chinese government's most-wanted list.

As she writes:

"It is now 18 years since soldiers and tanks entered Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Yet every year since then, on the night of 4 June, tens of thousands of people gather in Hong Kong and, whatever the weather, light candles in memory of what happened then, and those who died as a result of it. I don't think any other mass commemoration has lasted so long. But what is remembered so powerfully in Hong Kong cannot even be mentioned on the other side of the border that separates the Special Administrative Region from the rest of the People's Republic of China."

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