• home page
  • watch online
  • memory of tiananmen
  • controlling information
  • site map
  • discussion

Join the Dicussion

photo of a man facing down a tank in 1989photo of soldiers suppressing the 1989 protestsphoto of a man arguing with soldiers

What are your reactions to this report on Tiananmen 1989 and its legacy for the Chinese government and people? What is your memory of that time, and the image of the man who stood up to the column of tanks?

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you very much for your work on this. 20 years after the protest in China, I found the rule of law is still a joke in China for government officials, that is the root cause of all dictatorship and most suffering in China, the following corrupted court decision can help non-Chinese understand the above point. Hope PBS can make documentary on this issue.http://www.eglobebiz.com/en/enforum/viewtopic.php?t=4605

Nancy Lee

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched today on WGBH 20 years after this Massacre, I am in tears. Thank WGBH and Frontline to promote human rights and remind the world that China still has no rule of law and has millions of corrupted officials.

H Wang
Boston, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I just want to clarify the issue regarding Yahoo disclosing information leading to the arrest of a Chinese journalist. The documentary failed to mention that the information disclosed to foreign press is considered state secret and the information was sent to the journalist with state secret in the headline. Now, if I have access to state secret in the U.S. and disclosed it to press in North Korea, Iran and Iraq, don't you think that I may be in legal trouble as well?

In fact, Wen Ho Lee, a scientist from Taiwan working in New Mexico, was jailed a year without proper evidence for suspecting of spying for China. In the end, he was released with an apology.

Jean Wang
New York, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

, I saw Tank's man photograph for the first time in 2005 in one of my friends place in Paris. Much to my surprise, I asked here about this photograph and then she told me about this incident. I was taken aback and now on this vary day, when I am seeing this documentary film, I must celebrate the valor of an individual...an individual who stood against the mighty pillars of a communist regime and shook their bases.

I wish we all to have the freedom of expression and thought and I pray for my Chinese friends. In India, we are still improving though being a democratic republic...but I must concede this at an age of 29 that there was no mention of this event and this photograph ever in my text books or anywhere. I wish we all to act collectively in creating a better world by overcoming the geographical boundaries. Thanks!

Abhishek Shrivastava
Gwalior, M.P. , India

Dear FRONTLINE,

My very good friend works in a large city in China. She has asked me (in person) to be very careful about email because they monitor everything sent electronically. I fear for her. I've just erased generic information about her from this email, because I don't want to compromise her situation.There is no freedom without the freedom of expression. How can we support the Olympics, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Cisco? I'm at a loss.I remember Tiananmen Square. We were all devasted; how could this happen? And the brave man...everyman speaking. We were all so afraid for him, the families, freedom for the Chinese seemed to be so far away. I wasn't surprised that the four young students now at Bejing University had no idea about the photo. That's how dictators rule...keep them in the dark and feed them the well-flavored lie.

Melinda Brewster
Charlotte, North Carolina

Dear FRONTLINE,

As wonderful as I found this documentary, I'm not sure I understood the references to the economic boom of the recent Chinese economy in this documentary. In my opinion, the filmmakers got close to Michael Moore territory for about 10 minutes. It might have been possible to make a documentary about "Tank Man" without mentioning the modern Chinese economy. Does anyone know for sure that the choice after 1989 was strictly between "economy" and "politics", as the documentary would have us believe? We already know that the government in China made a horrible choice in 1989. If the documentary was trying to reinforce that point, the departure into to modern Chinese economy did not work. That whole section could have been edited and made the documentary much tighter.

Scott Candage
Williston, North Dakota

Dear FRONTLINE,

I do not have any word to comment...I cannot make too much difference on my parents, but I can make huge difference on my children.

Many thanks for this program.

nick yue
Toronto, Canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

It was painful to watch again of what happened on "June/4th".

Frontline has opened one of the dark chapters in the modern Chinese history. Looking back, I can see a lesson to be learned on "June/4th" from both sides. Protesters ought to be more self-controlled, for violence could not advance their agenda (especially in the later days of the protest). A lot of student leaders actually lack of in-depth understanding of democracy. That also contributed to the failure. On the other hand, today's senior leaders ought to re-examine the whole incident again. Truly, mistakes were made on "June/4th". They should openly acknowledge this past mistake. Only then, the whole country can move forward on this platform. In order for China to become a truly democratic society, people from all walks of live and every corners of the society must have the willingness, understanding and desires for a fundamental change (a peaceful revolution on political reform). Don't forget, students were not the only protesters. Protesters came from all levels of the society, especially the working class. One just needs to look back on "May/4th1919" and will understand the meaning of "a double-edged sword".

SFBayArea,

Dear FRONTLINE,

It is rather discouraging to see some of the comments here, especially the ones posted by some of the Chinese. They echo the deep rooted cultural collective consciousness that I have seen in the Chinese people in general, with which individual rights (or exsistence?) are of far lesser value than the superficial wealth and the 'face' of a country.

After having been back in Macau for several years, I might not have the first hand information on the conditions of China, but I cannot help but see the chasm between the social classes. Human rights aside, with the mass majority living close to (if not under) the poverty line, so called stability will not hold out much longer unless certain actions to amend the inequality. After all, the Chinese Communists gained their support from people of the underclass 70 years ago.

The funny thing is that Chinese people are unnecessarily dying each day, not because of fighting for human rights, not because of civil wars, but because of low education, corrupted governments, and the lack of basic human decency. I cannot help but wonder what the real meaning of stability is as put forth by Chinese governments.

Ricardo Sanchez Leong

Dear FRONTLINE,

In the scene where Zhao Ziyang is appealing to the students before he was purged from the party, standing behind him is Wen Jiabao. Wen Jiabao is the current Premier of the State Council. Tiananmen must be very clear in Wen's mind, his boss Zhao lost his career for it. I don't think Wen will allow another Tiananmen to happen.

Simon Wang
Montreal, Quebec

Dear FRONTLINE,

Vietnam's tank man is next. And I certainly hope that the VN government will not be as brutal to the people as the CN government was. I also hope in Vietnam, money will not cause these American businesses like Google, Microsoft, Cisco, and Yahoo to sell their souls to the devils as they did in China.

Great program!

n.t. tran
austin, tx

Dear FRONTLINE,

The show brought back a lot of memories for me of the late 1980's when the world was getting out from under the thumb of the Cold War. The Eastern European and Chinese Communist regimes were under civil assault and everyone had a sense that the world was changing, and changing at a very fast pace.

I'm convinced that as the free market economy grows in China, the unilateral government will have another Tienamen Square on their hands. Very good program Frontline.

Mike Garcia
Chicago, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a son of the one of the organizers for the student demonstration in 1989, I want to share some of my thoughts regarding Tiananmen Square. My father lost his political future because what he did in 1989. He never regretted what he did and I am proud of him, however even him thinks what the students did at end of the protest actually stopped the democracy movements in the 80s.

Nowadays, we have much less freedom compared to 20 years ago. Students' voices had been heard; the prime minister of china met up with students' leader and agreed to work on the issues students raised. The Chinese president back then came out to ask students to leave and promised to resolve the problems. If the students or the so-called students leaders choose to leave Tiananmen Square before June, there will not be thousands deaths and we will have much more freedom today; possibly much more democratic political system in China.

WEI ZHANG
Toronto, Ontario

Dear FRONTLINE,

As always, Frontline has outdone itself in investigative journalism. I applaud the director in illustrating China's human rights issues and the way western IT companies have facilitated the government's ability to hunt out the "enemies" of the state.

Just as Boeing and Lockheed-Martin cannot sell cruise missiles and fighter jets to China, Yahoo, Google, and Cisco should not be allowed to arm China with informational defensive weapons.

With regard to the ad hominem tu quoque arguments made in this forum, just because other governments around the world might have certain issues doesn't mean other government's issues should not be raised. As one can see from Frontline's archives, they have explored many issues, from Katrina to Rwanda. I hope one day to visit Tiananmen Square and see a monument to the Tank Man.

A. Georgas
Terre Haute, Indiana

Dear FRONTLINE,

Just want to thank you for a well made documentary. It brought back a lot of memories of China.

I have spent the last ten years of my life in various parts of the country as a foreign English teacher. Some of the things that were said in the video I can relate to because of my personal experiences. The scenes where the factory worker girls were interviewed while their "minders" were watching reminded me of a provincial trip I took to rural Jiangsu Province with many other foreigners. The officials took us to a private school, a toothbrush factory, a food processing factory, a rich farmer's house for lunch, etc...I remember being in a bus convoy. Three bus loads of foreigners being escorted by nine police cars -- five in the front and four in the back. We were a sight to see!

One thing that does scare me is the fact that companies like Yahoo and Cisco can turn in people who the government doesn't like. That scares me because I have a blog which I started in China. Most of the things I've posted are basically things about my favorite things or things that have happened to me through out my day. But there are a few dicey ones as well. I also have a Yahoo e-mail address. If I e-mail something to a friend of mine about the government -- whether good or bad -- that Yahoo will turn me over to the authorities? I'm in the US now and I hope to return to China someday. Does this mean that I'll have to delete the dicey blog entries?

I'm also very encouraged that there have been a lot of Chinese outside of China that have seen this film and that have posted their thoughts about it. To me that is very enouraging.

Hilo, HI.

Dear FRONTLINE,

Nobody cares 6.4 in China nowadays. Actually I did get videos about 6.4 from the internet when I was in China.

The 6.4 tragedy was a fault of both the government and students. Don't just show the one side of things. That's biased.

As you said in this movie, lots of people in China are still very poor. The most important thing for them is to be a little bit richer, not to live in a chaos so called democracy society.I believe China is changing toward a peaceful democracy country. First of all, we need a strong mid-class to push the government. That means we need further economic success. That's very important for China's future.

Well, China is not perfect and there are lot of social problems to sovle. I believe Chinese can do very well by themselves, just like you guys do very well in america.

One correction: There is no Beida University in Beijing. Beida means Beijing University in Chinese.

Tony Liang
Baltimore, MD

more

home + introduction + site map + watch online + memory of tiananmen + struggle to control information
analysis + interviews + join the discussion + making the film + filmmaker's chat + democracy, sooner or later?
readings + links + teacher's guide + dvd/vhs & transcript + press reaction + credits + privacy policy
FRONTLINE home + WGBH + PBS

posted apr. 11, 2006

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
background photo copyright © corbis/bettman.
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

NEXT ON FRONTLINE

American TerroristApril 21st

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS