The event known today as 'Tiananmen Square' occurred twenty-three years ago on June 4, 1989. Although the Chinese government does much to minimize commemorations, Chinese dissidents and supporters with a long pent-up desire for freedom remember.
For those short on memory, too young to remember or who may have slept through those momentous events, Tiananmen Square was a mass pro-democracy demonstration ending in a brutal showdown with government forces.
Tiananmen Square, in the center of Beijing (Peking – old spelling), encompasses over 100 acres and is one of the largest city squares in the world.
|Aerial view of Tiananmen Square.|
Tiananmen Square was actually a series of demonstrations beginning in April 1989 in various parts of the city; protests eventually occurred throughout the country. The government thought the rallies might dissipate and attempted to negotiate with the protestors, but the opposite occurred.
|Tiananmen Square protest rally, 1989.|
The government lost patience. Government troops forcibly ended the demonstrations, ejecting activists from the square. I remember watching the news, observing military tanks slowly drive into the huge square and face the protesters, defiantly standing their ground. No one knows how many fatalities occurred, but indications are hundreds died.
Ever since China struggles to suppress or at least minimize annual observances.
One more tidbit of historical/social/cultural information. The Chinese are superstitious, especially about numbers.
Today – June 4th 2012 - was a normal business day in China. The Shanghai stock index opened at 2346.98.
Observers quickly noted the unusual number sequence. Starting backwards:
· 89 – The year of the Tiananmen Square protests.
· 6 – Although the demonstrations began in April and lasted several weeks, they ended on June (the sixth month)
· 4 – fourth.
· 23 – This is the twenty-third anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
The Shanghai stock index fell 64.89 points during the day. Tiananmen Square occurred on:
· 6 – June
· 4 – Fourth
· 89 – 1989
Just a coincidence? Chance? Conspiracy? Karma? Kismet? Human manipulation?
Observers believe it would be too difficult to manually manipulate the numbers. Hackers, however, might be able to compromise the system and modify the numbers.
The Chinese government is scrutinizing the Internet and blocking as many references to the numbers connection as they can find. They will investigate but the truth may never be known.
Maybe it is simply odd coincidence.
Possibly it is the weird workings of a universe we do not understand.
Perhaps one or more bright young hackers made the world take notice of a historic event.
Maybe time will tell. Or not.
What do you think?