You might expect June 4, the 30th anniversary of the Chinese massacre of students and other protesters at Tiananmen Square, to be a day of remembrance and reflection in that country.
You’d be wrong. For the government, it will be just another day. No memorial, no discussion. For all intents and purposes, Tiananmen Square didn’t happen. There weren’t thousands of protesters, and the military didn’t open fire to disperse the crowd, killing hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed people.
And no one was suppressed, at least according to Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian. Asked at a regular news briefing if the military would mark the anniversary, he responded:
First of all, a clarification. I don’t agree with you for using the word ‘suppression.’ In the last 30 years, the course of China’s reforms, development and stability, the successes we have achieved have already answered this question.
That appears to translate into “of course not,” which would make sense because the topic remains taboo in China, is not discussed by the government, and there has never been an account of all those who died that day.
China at the time blamed the protests on counter-revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the party, though in more recent years government officials, when answering questions from foreign media, have tended instead to simply refer more euphemistically to the “political turmoil” of the period.
That’s a nice way of saying, “killed our own citizens who were demanding freedom.”