2 Chinese TV Broadcasters During the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident

On June 4 in the early summer 28 years ago, Beijing City was in turmoil during the 1989 China Tiananmen Square massacre. (Image:  thierry ehrmann   via   flickr  /  CC BY 2.0 )
On June 4 in the early summer 28 years ago, Beijing City was in turmoil during the 1989 China Tiananmen Square massacre. (Image: thierry ehrmann via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

On June 4 in the early summer 28 years ago, Beijing City was in turmoil during the 1989 China Tiananmen Square massacre. One evening when I was watching  at home in the suburbs of Yanqing District, I found that the two popular anchors, Du Xian and Xue Fei, were dressed in black.

They were in tears as if they were very sad. When broadcasting the suppression of the student movement in Tiananmen Square, Du Xian spoke very slowly with a sobbing tone. Their grief-stricken countenances moved tens of millions of Chinese who were concerned about China’s future.

With a black tie, Fei Xue seemed to be very sad and indignant as well. Their reactions highlighted the Chinese nation’s conscience and human morality, signifying the conflict between conscience and suppression. These two TV anchors’ performances were really unforgettable. I salute them.

Working at the propaganda department of a county’s CCP (Chinese Communist Party) committee during that period of time, I was worried about their fate out of my professional sensitivity. After that, I never saw them again at CCTV’s news program until they left CCTV.

It took tremendous courage for a journalist to face such a tragic event as the 1989 China Tiananmen Square massacre with conscience. It also entailed great courage to express their protest against the dark reality at the expense of their careers.

The next day, the anchors who appeared in CCTV News were Li Ruiying and Luo Jing, who broadcast the news with emotional and high-pitched tones. With the development of history, we can perceive that their behaviour will be an unforgettable shame forever.

(Image: Michael Mandiberg via flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

CCTV anchors Du Xian and Xue Fei, while on TV, were dressed in black and teary on June 4, 1989. After the massacre, they were not allowed on CCTV’s news program again. (Image: Michael Mandiberg via flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

In June 2012, I happened to learn from the Internet that after leaving CCTV’s news department, Du Xian was transferred to the TV company’s economic department as editor. When reporting to the economic department, she was greeted with a tumultuous standing ovation for several minutes.

Du Xian was moved to tears on the spot. When serving as editor, she could only use a pseudonym, Hao Yue, in the cast of the program.

In 1992, the University of Florida invited Du Xian to visit the US, but it wasn’t approved by CCTV. In the same year, she was invited by the China international news radio and television exchange centre to be the hostess of a TV series titled Beautiful Small Towns in China.

Her crew made quite a sensation wherever they went, including Yunnan, Guizhou, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Tibet etc. In the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, girls of the minority groups enthusiastically invited her to their homes; in the Ghost Town Fengdu, she was surrounded by people on the streets; in Lhasa, she was presented with a white silk hada by Tibetans, and was invited by local officials to their places as a distinguished guest.

At the Fourth Shanghai Television Fair, the series Beautiful Small Towns in China was the best-selling Chinese TV series.

In 1992, Xue Fei quit and immigrated to Hungary. He remained in Hungary until 2001, when he returned to China and taught television announcing in Beijing. “Please remember this black day” was the last sentence Du Xian uttered on CCTV News nearly 30 years ago in response to the 1989 China Tiananmen Square massacre.

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