There is tension in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the infamous crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
Security has been stepped-up with police and paramilitaries on patrol, making checks on visitors. The ruling Communist Party fears any commemoration of the bloody events of June 4 1989 could challenge its continuing hold on power. And some people in the capital seem to agree that it is time to move on. ‘History is history,’ said self-employed businessman Hong Tao. ‘This is the present. We want to look to the future, not reflect on the past. The future will bring its own judgement on what happened. We should not consider it now.’ ‘For a start, I don’t really know very much about history and the events of 20 years ago,’ added student Xu Yawen, 24. ‘I just know a little. But it is the present that is important to me.’ Authorities however are taking no chances. Many do remember when the tanks were sent in. It is thought hundreds or even thousands were killed. As the anniversary looms, many dissidents say they have been confined to their homes while Twitter and other Internet services in China have been blocked.