Tiananmen: 4th June 1989: 20years on… 4Jun09

Please do not forget what happened 20 years ago in China. China has changed in many ways, but drawing a quote from a film called the Leopard: “ “Everything must change in order to remain the same”. It remains a stain on our collective conscience – please a few moments to remember what happened 20 years ago. Some videos worth watchin:

The Build up: set to music – but with so much picture of the crackdown being shown today, it’s worth put it in context and remembering the days that lead up to it.

BBC Report from 4th June 1989

Crackdown: (with music but shows some disturbing and rarely seen video of the crackdown)

For latest reporting and comments check out China Digital Times:

For context on how things have changed, have a look at these 2 films I made last year:
The Yangtze:
Putting the 2008 Tibetan uprising in context, and how things have changed since Tiananmen 1989, I aimed to take the pulse of the nation from China’s main artery to witness how the nation is fragmenting, and why rebellions, backed by an emerging civil society, are breaking out in both the cities and the countryside. A new force of People Power is emerging.

The New Red Guards: Cultural Revolution Part 2::
Punks to Pop Idols, authors to artists, comedians to gay icons – this is the new Cultural Revolution that’s ripping into the fabric of Chinese identity.

5 Responses to “Tiananmen: 4th June 1989: 20years on…”

  1. Tan Says:

    Hello, Olly
    Thank you for the informations, it is a lots to think and learn from. It make me think of how much a human life is really worth in some of the people’s mind. It make me wonder what they heart is make of and it puzzling me of how they think they can dictate other people’s live. What happen to morality in these situatuons? What happpen to right and wrong? I guess I am thinking too deep into the human mind or the mind of my own. I guess one cannot put themselves into somone’s mind in this situation because they is no answer for they behavior or why they think it is the right think to do. All one can do is changing one mind at a time, and hoping, praying, that they in turn would change, and the cycle of changing one mind at a time will continues. Olly, I hope you know that you are changing one’s mind each time you put yourself out there and tell the whole world what is going on. I will pray for you to have courage to continue to tell the world, what really happened to the people who have no voice to speak out for themselves. Thank you, stay safe and take good care of yourself. Tan.

  2. Abby Says:

    Thank you for posting these videos Olly. They are quite powerful and sad to watch, but this must never be forgotten. The scene where the man stands in front of the tank has always been an iconic picture of the tragedy at Tiananmen Sqaure, and it always makes me tear up. That man who had the courage to stand in front of those tanks were symbolic of all the people there who wanted to stand up against the Chinese government. A teacher of mine in high school told us once that since the Chinese government censors the internet that when you google “Tiananmen Square” all it shows is the square itself and nothing of the massacre (I know that the Chinese know it as the June 4th Incinident but still) which I don’t agree with at all. Ok so I’ll stop babbling and I hope you are taking care of yourself. I look forward to you posting again to hear what’s going on in your life, but I know you’ve probably been busy. Take care Olly!


  3. Carmen Says:

    Hi Olly

    I’m glad you posted these videos. It so easily could have slipped under the radar here. It seems that it really didn’t get much coverage here in the States, which I found surprising. Just a few small newspaper articles and some tiny blips on TV news. I suppose we need the Chinese in too many ways at the moment to risk angering or irritating them in any way, and so it was allowed to just slip by.

    I agree with Abby, above, about the scene with the man standing up to the tanks in the square. Not only did it show the courage and bravery of him and so many of his countrymen, but it also showed, that behind the metal and artillery of that tank, there was a human being that did not want to hurt this man, but was following orders. There was such poignancy in that moment. So, thank you for the powerful reminder of something that should never be forgotten.

    What’s in store for you next, Olly? I think we’re all curious…
    Take care and stay safe in your travels,


  4. Sara M Says:


    Thank you for bringing that back to our collective consciousness. I had just graduated from college when the tragedy at Tiananmen Sqaure happened. I vividly recall standing in the living room of the house friends I were renting and watching Tianamen unfold on TV. I stood there in the middle of the room, paralyzed by what I was watching, with tears streaming down my cheeks. I thought of the brave students who were my global peers and believed so strongly in something they were willing to stand, unarmed, before an army, I mentally compared them to myself and my peers at The University of Vermont and we came up sadly short.

    Thank you for reminding us again that the world is bigger than us. Do take care,

    Sara M

  5. Anna Says:

    Hi Olly,

    Like the others who have posted I want to thank you for reminding us about what happened. I was 7 at the time and whilst I heard it being talked about, I was too young to understand.

    I think it is an awful thing that we still live in world where people are oppressed and speaking out is a crime. As Tan said, it seems that human life has no value. Its all about power and control. What happened to humanity? We’re all so proud of being sophisticated and modern and of all our technological advances, but human nature is the same as it ever was thousands of years ago. It is brutal and cruel. I watch those films and it reminds me of reading about the Emperor Nero who turned those who spoke out against him into human torches. Human nature has not changed – we’ve just invented new ways to hurt and kill each other. It’s such a tragedy.

    From watching your filming in China it’s still obvious that people are being controlled and have no or very little say about how they live their lives. How much has it actually changed?
    Thank you for putting yourself at risk to drag these horrors out into the light to educate people.
    Take care of yourself
    Anna xx

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