In 1989 the communist regime of China delivered one of the more infamous authoritarian displays of brutality in modern history. The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, commonly known in mainland China as the June Fourth Incident, were student-led demonstrations in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China. In response the communist regime crushed the student uprising and hundreds were massacred.
Almost thirty years later, it’s now 2017, and in the exact same place, on the exact same streets, the Chinese government played the U.S. national anthem while broadcasting -for the first time ever- to their own country: the welcoming ceremony of a state visit by a U.S. President and First Lady at the Grand Hall of the People’s Republic of China.
During prime time TV viewing (8:30pm EST) you would think this historic moment, this historic contrast (liberty crushed / liberty celebrated), should easily garner U.S. media attention. You might think that, but you would be wrong.
Actual trumpets sounded the regalia as a U.S. President exited the limousine in front of the Great Hall; but not a single U.S. network, broadcast or cable, showed the historic moments of the ceremony when President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived.
Thirty years ago, China was controlling broadcasts and hiding uncomfortable events on that location. In 2017 it’s the U.S. media apparatus doing the hiding. Has the worm turned 180°?
Central Beijing 1989 – Look closely at the front of the tank column.
It has been almost a generation, and those under 40-years-of-age might not remember, but the incredible events in Tiananmen square captured the attention of the world (mostly from smuggled footage). June 1989 also provided one of the most iconic images of the struggle for freedom in history: “Tank Man”.
So it was stunning last night to see that same roadway and central square in front of the Great Hall of the People’s Republic filled with the sounds of trumpets, the Star Spangled Banner, joyful children and the arrival of a U.S. President actually broadcast LIVE on Chinese State TV.
The significance was not lost on international viewership outside the U.S.