Thursday, 4 June 2009

Tienanmen, June 4th 1989 new footage

Twenty years ago today, the protests at Tienanmen square in Beijing were crushed. The protests seemed to suggest a new era, like the May 4th movement in 1919 which was a watershed in Chinese history (leading among other things to the foundation of the Communist party). So it was traumatic when the protests were ended. Everyone remembers what they were doing when the news came through, also what others were saying and doing. François Bisson was there, in Beijing, right in the heart of the action. He made this film using footage he and a cameramen he knew shot at the time. It's very direct, first person, watch it and "be there" again.

This is Zhao Ziyang, the Party Secretary, addressing the crowds, sympathetically urging caution on both sides. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. He kept a secret journal in which he managed to express his hopes for the future. It's just been published, as "Prisoner of the State". READ a review here.

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