The 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square by the Chinese
Army of hundreds of students and other pro-democracy
demonstrators must not be forgotten. The Chinese
Communist Party leadership, which still rules this country
as a political dictatorship, refuses to take responsibility for
these killings that it ordered. Let us remember the victims.
The giant picture of Mao Zaedong, hanging on the Gate of
Heavenly Peace, still presides over the huge square across the
street. Both the gate and the square share the name
Tiananmen, which means heavenly peace. There was no
peace here in 1989, but all traces of the massacre were erased
long ago. Police are visible in the square and anyone brave
enough to protest the government is arrested.
Here is the Gate of Heavenly Peace in a picture taken
from Tiananmen Square in 1996. If you compare this with
a similar photo on my highlights page taken in 1988, the
main difference is the presence of all those cars above. As
bikes give way to cars, the result has been massive air
pollution in China, also due to heavy reliance upon
burning coal. On this day in 1996 the smog in Tiananmen
Square was so awful I could not properly do photography.
In Tiananmen Square, this monument to Mao's revolution
is surrounded by heavy smog. You can barely see the
Gate of Heavenly Peace a short distance away.
Much closer to the gate, this picture from the square shows
little more than terrible smog. And I would encounter the
smog again at the Great Wall and other parts of China. Air
pollution has become a new monument to China's program
of rapid modernization and economic development.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free film of this trip by clicking on:
The Last Emperor's Home Video