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.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Kuwaiti PM Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah in Beijing on 4th pic.twitter.com/4tHQVdJoGQ— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) June 4, 2014
On the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on China's pro-democracy movement, there was some hullabaloo in Beijing about government cafeteria conditions:
Beijing officers received complaints on canteen hygiene of State Admin of Cultural Heritage but blocked entering pic.twitter.com/MTWArZM39H— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) June 4, 2014
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.
Cartoon: Windmills welcome back US President Barack Obama unveils historic rules to reduce coal pollution by 30%. pic.twitter.com/mhX5Oug6qB— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 4, 2014
Then it got a bit weird:
Lastly, the China Daily reported on an interesting act of dissent:
Women dancers refuse to stop for students. http://t.co/Vx0Uco8jdk— China Daily USA (@ChinaDailyUSA) June 4, 2014