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A paramilitary soldier patrols near visitors posing for souvenir pictures at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, November 1, 2013.
A paramilitary soldier patrols near visitors posing for souvenir pictures at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, November 1, 2013.
(KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS)

NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE

China’s push to silence dissent won’t erase memory of Tiananmen

Gao Yu was supposed to go to dinner with a friend on April 25. She never arrived. The Chinese journalist, imprisoned after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, has not been heard from since. Her supporters believe they are unlikely to see her again until before June 4, at the earliest.

In a little more than a month, the rest of the world will mark the anniversary of the Chinese troops opening fire on student activists gathered at Tiananmen. In China, the event will likely be met with silence. On previous anniversaries, local newspapers have led with weather headlines. And those whose voices are most compelling – whose sons and daughters were killed, or who were themselves brutally injured – will go quiet, too. In past years, they have been placed under house arrest, dragged off to prisons or ordered, on threats of harm inflicted on family members, to stay home and keep their mouths shut.