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  • No products in the cart. Podcast: On the Tiananmen tragedy, 29 years later Podcast: On the Tiananmen tragedy, 29 years later


The 29th anniversary of a turning point in history is coming June 4. 

On that day, in 1989, soldiers violently regained Tiananmen Square from thousands of students and their allies who had occupied the symbolic centre of China for more than six weeks. We may never know exactly how many of them died. The students wanted to end corruption, to make life for average Chinese less harsh and more equal, says Fenella Sung of Friends of Hong Kong.

Nearly three decades later, the Chinese Communist Party is even more powerful. State censorship means an entire generation has grown up in China not knowing the truth about June 4, 1989. 

Sung, a Vancouver translator, was a reporter in the 1980s in Hong Kong with RTHK. She said the shocking turn of events in Beijing led to her own political awakening. Since the Tiananmen Square Massacre, China regained possession of Hong Kong in 1997, held the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing and won the right to host the Winter Olympics in 2022.

The world’s most populous nation is now an economic superpower with significant influence around the Pacific Rim and across the world. China is constantly making headlines for invasive new surveillance techniques and sophisticated propaganda campaigns, ongoing diplomatic pressure to disregard Taiwan’s democratically elected government, resistance to pro-democracy campaigns in Hong Kong, leader Xi Jinping’s recently enacted presidency for life and the migration of wealthy Chinese across the Pacific.  

“We should be aware and be alarmed as to what’s happening now, and not to think that what’s happening inside China won’t affect us here in Vancouver or here in Canada today, actually, every minute,” Sung told host Bob Mackin. “What’s happening there has ripple effects around the world, including for us here.”

Hear the full interview with Sung on this edition of Podcast, plus host Mackin’s commentaries and a scan of Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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