Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ryan Pyle Blog: 20 Years On


Well, it happened twenty years ago today. But according to the official party line, nothing happened at all. Above is a quick selection of some images I've shot in the square over the years.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary there have been a few interesting and controversial books to hit the news stand that deal with many facets of the protest in the square; who the leaders where; what their motivations were; and what the government leaders were thinking about during that time. The problem is that most of these books leave me with more questions than they help answer. Will Tiananmen also remain a great mystery that is never discussed in China? Will the government always stand by it's silence?

Is it the behavior, of an emerging superpower, to completely avoid historical topics that they don't feel comfortable discussing? Or perhaps there is too much guilt or shame for their harsh actions?

China would feel a lot of GLOBAL goodwill but coming out of this "historical closet" by addressing some of these issues in an open and honest manner. Start with the Cultural Revolution, moving through to Tiananmen and finishing off with the school collapsing last year in Sichuan during the earthquake.

If you silence the conversation (ie. throw people in jail, silence the media) the chat will also continue behind your back. If you bring it out in the open and admit guilt or mistakes everyone can now move forward with their lives. But that would make the party look weak, or unsure; and that is simply not allowed. So the silence continues. Will the thirtieth anniversary bring any truth and reconciliation? No. The fortieth? No. Never hold your breath when in a competition with the government; you'll end up blue in the face.


Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle