June 4 and a Talk on Chinese Democracy in Taipei

Today is June 4, the 25 anniversary of the army crackdown that ended the student-led popular demonstrations in China and left hundreds, if not thousands, dead. If you happen to be in Taipei today, you might be interested in a talk that, though not directly, addresses the question of how to understand and evaluate June 4. David Lorenzo (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) will speak about “Conceptions of Democracy on Taiwan and the Chinese mainland”. The talk will begin at 13.30, in the Department of Philosophy, 70 Linhsi Road, Shihlin, Taipei. The talk is open to the general public.

4 replies on “June 4 and a Talk on Chinese Democracy in Taipei”

  1. Perhaps this post is a good opportunity to publicly commemorate the brave demonstrators from 25 years ago, many of whom died for their cause. I was recently able to see the documentary film Gate of Heavenly Peace, reminding me of the dramatic chronology of events.

    I wonder if Kai’s post has already rendered this blog (or this page of the blog) unavailable in China. I was thinking of asking any readers in China to answer that question, but I wouldn’t want to put anyone at risk. China has made much progress in the past 25 years, but… sigh. Here is to Tiananmen and to the possibility of more freedom and corruption-free stability in the future for all citizens of China. (Not implying that we in the U.S., or the West more generally, are somehow perfect–far from it.)

  2. Commenting on my own comment.

    Just out of curiosity, I went poking around to see what kinds of websites get blocked in China and found a page that allows you to test access to sites through a server in Shanghai (http://www.websitepulse.com/help/testtools.china-test.html). The results were interesting. Facebook: totally blocked. New York Times: totally blocked. Google.com: totally blocked. CNN’s front page with a headline referring to the Tiananmen massacre: accessible. Link from that headline to the CNN World page: accessible. Link from that page to the actual story of the massacre: blocked. Wikipedia page on Tiananmen: accessible. Wikipedia page on the Tiananmen massacre: blocked. Wikipedia page on Tank Man: blocked. Wikipedia page on Tiananmen protests: blocked. This page on Warp, Weft, and Way: accessible. Small potatoes, apparently.

    Did a Google search for “Tiananmen Demonstration” and checked all the links on the page, all but one of which referred to the 1989 movement. Of these eight regular search results, Wikipedia, Britannica, and Time were blocked, but pages from the New Yorker, infoplease.com, msnbc.com, and opendemocracy.net were accessible. Apparently, the dragnet of the Great Firewall of China is not all that extensive. However, according to news reports (e.g., http://www.techtimes.com/articles/7996/20140604/tiananmen-anniversary-marked-by-china-censorship.htm and http://www.businessinsider.com/words-china-banned-from-search-engines-after-tiananmen-square-2014-6), search results in China (Google being blocked for not caving to Chinese censorship rules) yield no results for Tiananmen Demonstration. I tried such a search on sina.com.cn, and got the following: 未找到和“tiananmen demonstration”相关的新闻. Interesting.

    • (Thanks for running the test on our blog as well those others. We should probably do it ourselves periodically. Our aim in switching out of WordPress’s server was exactly to fly like Zhuangzi’s cicada, unnoticed by the guardians of the Great Firewall.)

  3. Thanks, Brian, for sharing with us these interesting observations. Yes, this is a sad date and these brave young people certainly need to be commemorated publicly. There was a commemorative event on June 4 in Taipei, but not as huge as the gatherings in Hong Kong.

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