25 Years Ago: Goddess of Democracy Erected

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the nationwide, student-led democracy movement in China, and the subsequent June 4th military crackdown in Beijing. To commemorate the student movement, CDT is posting a series of original news articles from 1989, beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 and continuing through the tumultuous spring. The full series can be read here.

From the May 30, 1989 New York Times:

Zhang Quan slipped out of work several times earlier this month to join pro-democracy rallies, and he donated $27, two-thirds of his monthly salary, to the student demonstrators.

But like tens of thousands of other workers, he bowed out of Sunday’s demonstration. He said he was too busy.

”The students and the citizens are tired,” the 23-year-old cake seller said. ”The movement has lasted for so long and we citizens have done our best to support the students. We have given them bread rolls, clothing and quilts. But as ordinary citizens, we are not rich. We are exhausted and we are disillusioned.”

The challenge for China’s university students is to reawaken the enthusiasm of workers like Mr. Zhang. Such workers added a new dimension to the movement and vastly increased its scale, but now many seem to be settling back into silence.

See also an AP article.

goddessofdemocracyThe Goddess of Democracy erected in Tiananmen Square May 30, 1989
goddessofdemocracy2

[This series was originally posted by CDT in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the protests. If you have access to additional sources of original reporting, video, accounts or photos from the spring of 1989, please send them to us at cdt@chinadigitaltimes.net and we’ll consider including them in this series. Many thanks.]