Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Very Quiet June 4th.

I knew it would be this way. Everybody told me it would be this way. It still hurts to see it this way.

I woke up today and almost forgot it was June 4th, the 19th anniversary of the crackdown of the students protests in Tiananmen Square. I haven't been to the square, and I don't want to go--I very much don't want to go. Not because of fear. There's nothing to be afraid of. I don't want to go specifically for that reason--there is nothing to be afraid of, because there is not a pebble of thought in the minds of the Beijing people of dissent. I have not turned on the television, hoping to see hundreds of troops in the square. I know they're not there. They don't need to be. On my walk to work today, I saw fewer PLA soldiers than I'm used to. There's no tension. I think there are probably a lot of people here that don't even realize what today means.

In Hong Kong and Taiwan, they're holding a candlelight vigil. But here, in Beijing, the citizens of China are resolutely standing behind their government. The thought of opposition is untenable. The Chinese government has prevailed. The propaganda machine is ubiquitous, and it is perfect. Compliance with mass campaigns is automatic. State slogans are repeated daily. But all passively. People do not do this out of fear, they do it out of adoration. They want to support the Chinese government, they want to enhance its ability to control and affect, so that their lives can improve.

Today, because of the Olympics, dissenters had the last best hope to hold the Government's reputation hostage and protest. This opportunity is gone, not because of government repression, not because of failed action, but because of failed will. The Chinese Communist Party is here to stay for a very long time.
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