Commemorating an Anniversary

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
And…

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?

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