Tiananmen Protests a Distant Memory for China Youth

In light of the upcoming anniversary of the Tiananmen protests on June 4, 1989, Reuters  reports on how today’s youth are different from the generation 20 years ago. Although the government fears that this group of unemployed students will bring about instability, the students seem to care little about democracy:

Two decades ago, China’s youth were at the forefront of a movement to bring democracy to the world’s most populous nation in demonstrations bloodily put down around Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

Today, after years of breakneck economic growth, the young are more pro-government, more suspicious of the West, and genuinely proud of China’s achievements, such as the Beijing Olympics, making a repeat of June 4 unlikely.

The China of 20 years ago, where the chaos of the Cultural Revolution was still fresh in many people’s minds, is also very different from the China of today, with its shining skyscrapers, bustling malls and expanding middle class.

“This is a society in which materialism reigns. Young people go after enjoyment and so on. You can understand why they don’t care as much about society’s advancement or democracy,” said Zhang, one of the founders of the Tiananmen Mothers, which campaigns for a reassessment of the government verdict that the movement was a “counter-revolutionary” plot.

See also CDT’s section on 1989 for reports on the Tiananmen incident 20 years ago.

Also view similar stories from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times on CDT.