A China researcher for Human Rights Watch, Nicholas Bequelin offers his assessment of what China has become since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989. China's leaders, he says, recognize that the country is on "a knife's edge" with its social and political problems, and he believes that, regardless of the regime's censorship efforts, "more and more of the true picture of China will emerge" through globalization and the Internet.
Timothy Brook is a professor of Chinese history at the University of British Columbia and author of several books on China including, Quelling the People: The Military Suppression of the Beijing Democracy Movement. He details here the extraordinary June 1989 confrontation between the citizens of Beijing and the People's Liberation Army and talks about the confusion and mistakes that were made by the Chinese military and political leadership. He also discusses the man who stood his ground before the tanks, the huge media silence about Tiananmen that was imposed afterward by the regime, and the role of Western IT companies in the struggle for control of information in China.
Born in Hong Kong, Dr. Chan has been researching working conditions in China for 25 years and is currently at the Australian National University's Contemporary China Center. Here she discusses what she has learned in her visits to factories in China.
As a researcher in 1989 for Human Rights Watch in Beijing, Robin Munro witnessed first hand the weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations in the city and the People's Liberation Army's final assault on June 3-4. In this interview, he describes what he saw, the threat the Tiananman protest movement posed for the Party and the symbolism of the young man who stood up to the tanks. Munro is a Hong Kong-based specialist on human rights in China.
John Pomfret, Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post from 1998-2003, was in Beijing in 1989 on assignment for the AP. In this interview, he gives his eyewitness account of the massacre, starting with the first bloody clash in the Muxidi neighborhood in west Beijing and moving down Chang'an Boulevard to Tiananmen Square itself. Pomfret was near the students when they made their last stand at the monument before finally withdrawing early in the morning of June 4th. He explains why Tiananmen became an extraordinary turning point for China and talks about "the deal" that Deng Xiaoping offered the Chinese people, and its consequences to this day.
Orville Schell is the Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of numerous articles and books on Chinese affairs. At the time of the 1989 demonstrations, Schell was in Beijing and describes here what he saw and the symbolism and mystery of the young man who stood up before the tanks. He also discusses the regime's censorship efforts, how China is a "petri dish" for whether the Internet can be curtailed, and the consequences for the Chinese in making the economy everything at the price of other freedoms.
A third generation Chinese-Canadian, Jan Wong was a fervent Maoist when she first went to China in 1972, but soon became disillusioned with the Cultural Revolution. In the late '80s she returned as foreign correspondent for the Globe and Mail and was in a room at the Beijing Hotel overlooking Tiananmen Square when the PLA was sent in on June 3-4, 1989, to drive thousands of demonstators from the streets and square. In this interview, Wong recounts in vivid detail what she witnessed as the army closed in and the people kept pushing back, and how, on June 5th, she witnessed an unknown young man come out of the crowd and stop the tanks.
Trained as a theoretical physicist, Xiao Qiang became a human rights activist after Tiananmen in 1989 and was executive director of Human Rights in China from 1991 to 2002. He now is director of the Berkeley China Internet Project at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He talks here about the regime's efforts to suppress memory and all discussion about Tiananmen and why all that has happened to China over the last 17 years can be explained by this one event. Political reform will one day come to China, he says, and he believes his generation -- students at the time of Tiananmen -- will have a role in that change.