Yesterday, June 4th, was the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Of course, Chinese media was silent (foreign media was too, for that matter). Instead, the country was busy with a different kind of patriotism, not the democracy and protest kind, the sports kind. Yesterday, Li Na won the French Open Women’s Singles Championship, becoming the first Chinese person to win a Grand Slam.
In addition to what I imagine must be quite a few pleased propaganda officials, the coincidence has also prompted comments from satirically minded internet users. Renren, China’s domestic facebook knock-off, seems to be an ever growing space for risky commentary. Here are a couple examples of irreverence culled from Renren this morning:
Important Events of June 4th
- 1928 – General Zhang is killed by Japanese bombing
- 1940 – Dunkirk Evacuation
- 1942 – Battle of Midway
- 1970 – Tonga gains independence
- 1989 – Nothing happens
- 2011 – Li An wins the French Open
When my grandson asks me about Li An 20 years from now how am I going to explain that searching for information about the day she won the championship is a state secret?