And so, once again it’s June 4th. For the last 17 years this day has been marred with a rather crimson taint. It is, of course, the day the People’s Liberation Army was given the go-ahead by then CCP leader Deng Xiao Ping to use whatever means needed to quell the protests in Tiananmen Square. This resulted in a lot of bloodshed. Figures that no one acurately knows, but guesstimates put in the thousands.
I watched the History Channel’s Declassified Tiananmen Square not too long ago and what I was surprised to learn about the tragedy was that most of the casualties didn’t actually happen in the square, but rather on the roads leading into the centre of Beijing.
The army had been stationed miles out from Tiananmen, on the edge of the city, as the roads had been blocked by protesters. When they crashed through, they opened fire on a lot of people in the streets. By the time they actually reached Tiananmen, many of the people had fled the area in fear and confusion of reports that the army was coming.
Meh, it’s semantic really.
Anyway, this day is a bit of a bummer … and not that I wish to promote forgetting about this rather horrible event, as I believe the powers that be should owe up to this stain on China’s history – but to lighten the mood a bit, here are a few (more positive) things that ALSO happened on June 4th:
780 BCE ~ 1st total solar eclipse reliably recorded by Chinese.
1896 ~ Henry Ford took his first car out for a test drive.
1919 ~ US Senate passes Women’s Suffrage bill.
1942 ~ Battle of Midway begins; Japan’s first major defeat in WW II.
1965 ~ Rolling Stones release “Satisfaction”.
1984 ~ Bruce Springsteen releases “Born in the USA”.
1989 ~ Eastern Europe’s first somewhat free election in 40 years held in Poland.
2003 ~ Martha Stewart was indicted on charges of insider trading.
Note: The picture is from the Simpson’s episode that has everyone’s favourite jaundice-looking family visit the Middle Kingdom. Notice the spelling mistake? hehe.