BYUH students from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan said the Tiananmen Square event is still viewed as a very sensitive and painful memory to Chinese citizens today.
According to CNN, thousands of Chinese citizens took to the streets in 1989 to protest the government. Beijing was the center of national attention and soon after, countless other cities saw protests take place. The situation seemed dire and anarchy loomed on the horizon. In order to restore order, the government used military force resulting in the deaths of countless people.
A student from China said, “Many things led up to the event in Tiananmen Square. The political structures were changing during this time, and China opened the doors to foreign countries and companies. This caused a need for changes in the Chinese government. People started to think more openly and because of this, students believed they had the power to make this movement and want more freedom.
“Students demanded the government to change, or they would fast. The government wanted the students to eat and they promised to make changes. It takes time to make changes, but people were impatient and more people started to fast. Officials met with protesters, but nothing came out of the meeting.”
The most recognizable photo of the protests was taken during the Tiananmen Square incident and it depicted a man standing in front of the column of tanks.
The same student said, “More people protested and many businesses, schools, and even railways were closed. The whole system and society was not running. The government saw the protesters get out of hand and the last resort was military force. You see, the government had allowed the protests since April of the same year. The protesters were mainly students and some professors from Beijing.”
Franky Ho, a senior from Hong Kong studying business management, said, “The situation was complicated, but simply it was a group of college students who wanted the government to change. The government signaled that they were willing to change, but they were so corrupt. The situation got out of control.
“I think everyone should remember this event, not just Chinese people, but everyone. Mistakes were made before and this cannot happen again. We should remember the people who died. They put in effort and they are heroes,” continued Ho.
According to Ho, “The government in Hong Kong was more open about it 10 years ago, but now they're more quiet about Tiananmen Square. It’s like they don’t want the next generation to know what happened. Honestly, I don’t think the new generations care.”
Jing Yu Dan, a senior majoring in marketing from Taiwan, said, “I learned about this in history class, but now the government kind of wants to hide it. I think they want to show China not as violent as many news tend to portray it.”
Tiffany Savage, a senior from Hong Kong studying education, said, “I learned about this event in my history class, but I think what was taught was very biased. I think China learned from this incident, but I think they are trying to hide this event. I think people from all over China will have a different opinion on Tiananmen Square.”
Ho concluded, “I don’t think China is perfect, but it is improving.”
According to the Associated Press, thousands of people attended an annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on June 4 in honor of the victims of the 1989 military crackdown in Tiananmen Square.