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Ear to the Ground

Remembering Tiananmen Square, Sometimes in Secret

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Posted on Jun 4, 2014

In mainland China, commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown is not permitted, and Wednesday’s 25th anniversary was no exception. However, that didn’t stop some resourceful Chinese citizens from coming up with creative ways to flout their government’s policy.

The photo featured here—flashing cards that reference the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen showdown and the AK-47 firearm used by Chinese forces that day—was uploaded to the Chinese social network Sina Weibo last week, as The New York Times reported, but has since been deleted.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times provided some details of other plans hatched to covertly mark the milestone:

Wen’s group found a unique way to publicize its movement: When a video leaked onto the Internet last month that purportedly shows a soap opera actress in a sex act, the group edited it to add in messages to show up at the square June 4. Of course, Chinese censors removed the video — pornography is banned along with political activism in China — but not quickly enough.

“It had already been downloaded thousands of times,” Wen said.

There are other ways of commemorating the day short of actually demonstrating. Activists also suggest that people toss white paper, confetti-style, from high-rise buildings in Beijing to mourn the spirits of those killed at the square.

Most of the activists organizing such events are overseas, not surprising given that the government has shown zero tolerance for anybody so much as mentioning Tiananmen. People have been detained or placed under house arrest to prevent them from holding activities marking the anniversary.

And what of the lone protester who faced down a line of tanks in the most iconic image from that moment? Nobody knows for sure, but here are some good guesses.

Finally, CNN tracked down and profiled several Chinese activists, as well as relatives, who were willing to talk about their involvement in the Tiananmen Square massacre and where their lives have taken them since.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

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