Tiananmen as a tool of suppression :
The case of Tan Zuoren
Tan Zuoren is a well-known critic of the Chinese government. He has been getting on the authorities nerves by his many campaigns on clening up "dirty factories" and his investigation into the Sichuan earthquake. Yet in the end he was sentenced by a completely different charge - for writing about the Tiananmen Massacre.
Even after 21 long years, the taboo status of the Tiananmen massacre still make it a convenient tool of repression.
After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake Tan came up with a proposal called the "5.12 Student Archive" (5·12学生档案) asking people who lost their children in the quake to set up a victim database. Tan coined the expression「豆腐渣」(bean curd pulp) to describe the shoddy construction quality of Sichuan schools. On March 28, 2009 he was detained on allegations for subversion of state power. Tan Zuoren was formally accused of defaming the Communist Party of China in email comments about the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
According to the indictment, "The indicted Tan Zuoren is dissatisfied with the methods and verdict of the Party Central Committee concerning the “June Fourth Incident” and for many years by various methods has been involved in “June Fourth” activities. On May 27, 2007, Tan Zuoren concocted an article entitled “1989: A Witness to the Last Beauty: An Eyewitness’ Tiananmen Square Diary” and using the Internet put it on the website “Torch of Liberty” and other websites outside of China mainland. The main points of that article distorted the handling of the “June 4th Incident” by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and libeled it. Shortly after that article was posted, the enemy element outside mainland China Wang Dan contacted him by email and on several occasions sent him propaganda materials about “June Fourth”.
21 years after the massacre, not only has the killers escaped justice and punishment, they even dare to use their crime - yes such a blantant crime - as an excuse to silence others. It is a shameless reversal of black and white, right and wrong, truth and deceit. And this cannot be allowed to go on.
Let us all talk about Tiananmen openly and honestly, thus taking away the authority's power to distort it into a tool of suppression. Until then, the dark sword of arbitrary power hanging over everyone's head, sustained by apathy, forgetfulness and cover-up, would still be ready to strike down at any innocent at the authority's whim. Only the exposed light of the sun can melt away the darkness.
And let us keep Tan Zuoren in mind.