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Tiananmen/Beijing massacre and all that…

Tiananmen/Beijing massacre and all that…

So it’s been twenty-five years since the mass shootings of civilians by soldiers from the Chinese Army. 25 years since I saw the strange footage on the news. 25 years since I was naively asked by my secondary school science teacher if I knew anyone in Beijing.

You’d have thought that having TV cameras and eyewitness accounts would be enough to ensure that some version of the truth would remain.

But no. The Chinese government doesn’t really talk about it, while keeping a very close eye on who goes into Tiananmen Square today. There’s a constant “disagreement” over whether those protesting were students hoping to change the way China worked, or counter-revolutionaries determined to overthrow the state. However, you’d have thought there was a general consensus that those protesting wanted to change *something*.

Unless you’re this Tumblr blogger, who asserts that the students were “resisting their country ‘modernizing’ in the age of Reagan, the godfather of neoliberalism”. Which is an explanation that seems to come so out-of-left-field for me, it beggars belief.

So much so that I had to blog about it, without actually having anything to say. Which is very bloggy, really.

Boycotting Beijing – why ?!

Boycotting Beijing – why ?!

During the media hullabaloo about Chinese bodyguards over-zealously protecting the Olympic flame in London against Tibet protestors, I managed to keep my mouth shut. I agree the Chinese government is treating Tibet in a disgusting way indeed – but you know what? Name me a country that’s hosted the Olympics that has a lily-white human rights record. Aside from Canada. But I’m not expecting to see Iraqi/Iranian/Irish protestors trying to blow out the Olympic torch when it arrives in London in 2012. Why not?

The media hype and protests seemed to die down in the wake of the Chinese earthquakes in May (disappointingly named in the American fashion – 05/12 – but that’s another blog post), and as the Olympics hype machine gets into full swing (by dragging up painful memories from my past), these protests seem to have been quietly forgotten. Which I think is reasonable – everyone’s had their say, can we please now get on with the illusion of world peace through sportsmanlike competition?

But no. I spent my Saturday night reinstalling Vista (hey, the next three summer weekends will be spent drowning myself in alcohol in a theatre, a wedding in a castle and a park) and reinstalling software programs. Except when I came to using my usual text editor of choice and got told instead to Boycott Beijing, on the grounds of their suppression of the rights of cyber-journalists. Which is all fine, well and good – except I’m pretty sure the rights of journalists are being suppressed everywhere – even in the United States.

Besides, how can one person who wants to use a text editor Boycott Beijing? By not watching it on TV? By ignoring one of the few occasions when the world does genuinely get together?

So I’m doing my own, equally pointless bit of politicization – by boycotting Notepad++ because they’re telling me to do something. What next? Google advising people to give up smoking?

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