China Books

Ep. 9: Tiananmen remembered

June 04, 2024 Xiao Qiang Season 1 Episode 9
Ep. 9: Tiananmen remembered
China Books
More Info
China Books
Ep. 9: Tiananmen remembered
Jun 04, 2024 Season 1 Episode 9
Xiao Qiang

Tiananmen -- the place, the protests, the crackdown -- reverberates in memories and imaginations around the world, even 35 years after tanks rolled in Beijing’s streets, and the Chinese military’s crackdown on student demonstrators in the week hours of June 4, 1989, killed at least hundreds and wounded thousands of people. 

The protesters had been calling for political reforms, for a more open and less corrupt society, after decades of political upheaval under Mao Zedong’s leadership. What they got instead from Deng Xiaoping was a brutal ‘no’ to the call for political reform, but with a green light to instead focus on making money and growing China’s economy. 

China’s Communist Party leaders insist to this day that China’s economic rise couldn’t have happened without the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations, and the hopes for political reform of many Chinese people. Still, the Party has tried to erase the Tiananmen crackdown from public memory in China, even as many Chinese remember the protests and all they stood for, with some dedicating their lives to working toward those same goals.  

The guest for this episode, Xiao Qiang, is one such person. He talks about his life before, during, and after the protests, and recommends books for anyone interested in better understanding what the Tiananmen demonstrations and crackdown meant, and still mean, in China and beyond. 

Xiao Qiang is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bilingual China news website launched in 2003 to aggregate, organize, and recommend online information from and about China. He is an adjunct professor at the School of Information, University of California at Berkeley, and director of the school’s Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary faculty-student research group focusing on the intersection of digital media, counter-censorship technology and cyber-activism.

The China Books podcast is hosted and produced by Mary Kay Magistad, a former award-winning China correspondent for NPR and PRI/BBC's The World, now a senior fellow at Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. This podcast is a companion of the China Books Review, which offers incisive essays, interviews, and reviews on all things China books-related. Co-publishers are Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, headed by Orville Schell, and The Wire China, co-founded by David Barboza, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times China correspondent. The Review's editor is Alec Ash, who can be reached at editor@chinabooksreview.com.

Show Notes

Tiananmen -- the place, the protests, the crackdown -- reverberates in memories and imaginations around the world, even 35 years after tanks rolled in Beijing’s streets, and the Chinese military’s crackdown on student demonstrators in the week hours of June 4, 1989, killed at least hundreds and wounded thousands of people. 

The protesters had been calling for political reforms, for a more open and less corrupt society, after decades of political upheaval under Mao Zedong’s leadership. What they got instead from Deng Xiaoping was a brutal ‘no’ to the call for political reform, but with a green light to instead focus on making money and growing China’s economy. 

China’s Communist Party leaders insist to this day that China’s economic rise couldn’t have happened without the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations, and the hopes for political reform of many Chinese people. Still, the Party has tried to erase the Tiananmen crackdown from public memory in China, even as many Chinese remember the protests and all they stood for, with some dedicating their lives to working toward those same goals.  

The guest for this episode, Xiao Qiang, is one such person. He talks about his life before, during, and after the protests, and recommends books for anyone interested in better understanding what the Tiananmen demonstrations and crackdown meant, and still mean, in China and beyond. 

Xiao Qiang is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bilingual China news website launched in 2003 to aggregate, organize, and recommend online information from and about China. He is an adjunct professor at the School of Information, University of California at Berkeley, and director of the school’s Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary faculty-student research group focusing on the intersection of digital media, counter-censorship technology and cyber-activism.

The China Books podcast is hosted and produced by Mary Kay Magistad, a former award-winning China correspondent for NPR and PRI/BBC's The World, now a senior fellow at Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. This podcast is a companion of the China Books Review, which offers incisive essays, interviews, and reviews on all things China books-related. Co-publishers are Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, headed by Orville Schell, and The Wire China, co-founded by David Barboza, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times China correspondent. The Review's editor is Alec Ash, who can be reached at editor@chinabooksreview.com.