On Tiananmen anniversary, Chinese state media tweets panda pics

Just look at that panda. (AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the world commemorated the 25th anniversary of the events at Tiananmen square, when Chinese tanks and troops cracked down brutally on the nation's student-led pro-democracy movement. Mass protests in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory where certain democratic rights and freedoms are preserved, were particularly epic and powerful.

But glance at the English-language Twitter feeds of Beijing's main state news outlets and you get a sense of the conspiracy of silence that still surrounds June 4, 1989, on the mainland. The most eye-catching tweet was the one below, on the existence of psychic, soccer-score predicting panda cubs. A sampling of other tweets follows.

On the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on China's pro-democracy movement, there was some hullabaloo in Beijing about government cafeteria conditions:

There was also a terrible stabbing in a provincial city:

The Global Times, another Beijing-based state mouthpiece, ran this sort of anodyne message:

It also trumpeted the decline of the West. First, with gloating about the new Sino-Russian gas pipeline pact, and then mocking the United States' own wasteful energy habits.

Then it got a bit weird:

Lastly, the China Daily reported on an interesting act of dissent:

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.
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Simon Denyer · June 4, 2014