Monday, June 11, 2012

Tiananmen Continues

Some thoughts on an anniversary we ought not forget.

23- years ago last Monday the Chinese government crushed the public student expression of democracy in a place called Tiananmen Square. Some estimates say several thousand people died.

The world of early June 1989 watched the beginning of the tension and the defiance on television, but then abruptly, the signal was cut off.

To this day, the Chinese Government continues to deny that anyone but soldiers died in the weekend massacre. The collective heart of humankind, however, knows the truth and weeps.

On Wednesday of last week, Li Wangyang was found dead hanging from a window frame of a hospital ward where he was under political detention. Two days earlier he was interviewed by Hong Kong television for a feature on the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.

Li Wangyang was a activist and participated in the student uprising. He was jailed for 22-years. He started a hunger strike in prison and was tortured. Guards pulled out his teeth, blinded him and made him partially deaf.

Do you think he committed suicide after all those years of enduring pain and detention? I doubt it. He was imprisoned and probably murdered because he spoke defiantly of democratic reform in China?

There is another sadness, beyond his loss of life.  It is the continuing shame that again in the human experience, an oppressive authority, used and uses force to prevent the empowerment of the people.

Force will never conquer the desire, or the active quest for freedom in all its forms.  History validates that truth, over and over again, on the crumbled actions of failed oppression.  Truth and tolerance, compassion and education, common courtesy and common sense are the only values that will sustain a government in power and elevate the condition of its people.

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