Thursday, June 05, 2014

Why June 4 Should Matter to Taiwan

Twenty-five years of maturing as a distinct nation has made Taiwanese seemingly uninterested about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, but they ignore the lessons at their own risk 

Every year on June 4th, it is hard not to feel slightly disappointed by the small turnout at the commemoration events here in Taiwan for the Tiananmen Square Massacre, in which the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) brutally cracked down on students in Beijing, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands. With this year marking the quarter-century anniversary of the Massacre, and given the political awakening sparked by the Sunflower revolution, there was reason to be optimistic and to expect a better turnout — nothing like the 180,000 who participated in the vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, mind you, but better than previous years. 

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. At most, about a thousand people gathered at Liberty Square in Taipei to commemorate the event. This year, the theme of the ceremony was “Tank Man,” a nod to the lone hero who, shopping bags in hand, faced off against a column of Type 59 tanks on Chang’an Avenue during the massacre. As I looked around on that excruciatingly hot night, I kept wondering where the Sunflowers, Taiwan’s own little Tank Men and Women, were. 

My article, published today on Thinking Taiwan, continues here. (Photo by the author)

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