China has tightened security and widened a clampdown on dissent, ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, creating what one writer calls the ‘People’s Republic of Amnesia.’ (BBC and National Geographic News)
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- Why is “amnesia” such a great metaphor for Chinese reaction to the anniversary of the Tiananmen protests? How has the Chinese government created a “republic of amnesia”?
- According to the Mayo Clinic, amnesia “refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences.”
- China has created a “republic of amnesia” by limiting facts, information, and experiences available to the public. According to the BBC:
- Lawyers, journalists, artists, and activists have been detained.
- Internet search terms related to the protests have been blocked.
- The Foreign Correspondents Club of China has issued a statement condemning increasing harassment and intimidation of overseas media.
- There is an increased security presence around Tiananmen Square itself, with paramilitary police guarding bridges and streets near the square.
- How does Louisa Lim, the author interviewed in the Nat Geo News article, think that the Chinese government has created an “amnesiac” society surrounding the Tiananmen Square massacre? Skip to the end of the article, with the question beginning “Given the Chinese government’s fears . . . ”
- Prosperity. The Chinese economy has skyrocketed since 1989. Today, China has a larger wealthy class than it ever has. “Objectively, their lives have become better,” says Lim.
- Fear. “Chinese propaganda has used these movements to say to people, ‘Look what happens when you give in to a democratic movement. It leads to chaos and destabilization.’,” Lim says.
- Education. “Most young people have gone through two decades of patriotic education,” meaning they have been taught the mainstream, government view of events in 1989. “The mainstream view in China today is that the government in 1989 did what it had to do.”
- Expanding freedom. “You no longer need the government’s permission to get married, to have children, to get a passport, to go overseas,” Lim says.