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How Much Do Chinese Gen Y Know About the Tiananmen Square Massacre?

Rina Su, a Mongolian girl who currently works in Washington. D.C., told VOA that she didn't learn much about June 4 until she went outside of China. (Image: Southern Mongolia via Screenshot/YouTube)
Rina Su, a Mongolian girl who currently works in Washington. D.C., told VOA that she didn't learn much about June 4 until she went outside of China. (Image: Southern Mongolia via Screenshot/YouTube)

On June 4, Voice of America (VOA) reported that after 27 years, the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 is still a very sensitive subject in China. Recently, VOA in Washington interviewed a number of young Chinese to find out what June 4 means to them.

Su, a young woman from Mongolia, has a master’s degree, and is currently working in the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center in the Washington Liaison Office. She says that when she was growing up in China, no one talked about it. However, occasionally she heard a few things said about it.

After she came to the United States, she watched a 3-hour documentary film on YouTube. She cried, and was very sad about what happened.

Most young Chinese share the same experience like Su. They only gained an understanding of the massacre after they were overseas. Many young Chinese have neither the interest to understand the incident, nor the desire to discuss it.

Chen is 19, and the daughter of a June 4 eyewitness. She came to the United States five years ago. In the United States, she met many people who had witnessed the June 4 incident, but she rarely talks to other young Chinese students about it. This is mainly because the younger generation of today have been brainwashed, do not care about politics, and only care about learning.

Qiao Chen, whose father experienced the Tiananmen Massacre. (Image: Secret China)

Qiao Chen’s father experienced the Tiananmen Square Massacre. (Image: Southern Mongolia via Screenshot/YouTube)

Gong came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 12 years old. He senses that his friends deliberately avoid the June 4 incident, for it is a very sensitive topic.

For 20-year-old Zhang, she, too, is the daughter of a June 4 eyewitness. Her father was sentenced to two years in prison for being a participant. She said some students agree with the government and call June 4 a riot, and that the government’s repression was for a good reason.

In fact, since the June 4 incident, China’s younger generation, especially students, has plummeted in political participation, as well as their pursuing of democracy and freedom.

In this regard, Su believes that after the June 4 incident, the Chinese authorities have stepped up political control, and the younger generation of Chinese now enjoy less political freedom compared to 1989. She says that back then, these students still had the freedom to express themselves without immediate repression.

But now, the Chinese authorities will not allow you to voice any differently from them. Meanwhile, the terrible outcome for students from the June 4 incident scares many young people. Su doubts that any young man dares to be that courageous.

Gong also believes that the June 4 incident makes young people less likely to fight, and more likely to be cautious.

There are no English captions available for this video:

Researched by Monica Song.

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