Remember Tiananmen Square
June the 4th: thousands of students across the globe took the time to remember those who paid the ultimate price in their struggle for basic freedoms on this day in 1989.
One million unarmed students took to the streets in the name of democracy, asking for an end to corruption, more jobs and basic human rights.
The protests lasted six to seven weeks (during which time students erected a statue dedicated to democracy modelled on the statue of liberty) until the army was sent to crush them – hundreds (or thousands according to the Chinese Red Cross) were killed and many more thrown into jail. Ironically enough Tiananmen translates as the “Gates of Heavenly Peace”.
Though this protest was crushed in the most brutal of fashions, the spirit of Tiananmen lives on, bringing to light the struggle for rights in other countries including the recent expulsions from Belarusian universities of students whose only mistake was to resist the government. Will students have to suffer another Tiananmen in other countries under authoritarian rule before their rights are respected?
Eighteen years have passed and yet the events of that June day are still not openly discussed. The Chinese regime refuses to acknowledge the facts, there has been no compensation for the bereaved families, nor any right for them to grieve in public. Many students are still unaccounted for today and censorship of the events even spreads to the internet, where it is believed that search engines are denied the right to link to pages covering the event. Every June 4th the square is tightly guarded against any form of rememberence or protest. Indeed, the only part of china were rememberance events may be held is Hong Kong.
ESU calls for students and their peers to remember this day and its significance. ESU will continue to push for basic freedoms and student rights to be respected and acknowledged.
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