Xinran Blog

Xiang Yi Xiang — Think! Tianan Men Movement in 1989

Posted by Xinran on June 3, 2009

Chinese says, Xiang Yi Xiang, Zai Shuo – Think, before you speak.

I read an article by Mr Xiaokang Su about Tianan Men Movement in 1989 from BBC Chinese news on 2nd June. I think it is the best understanding of what it is.

If you can read in Chinese, here is


I totally agree with him –before people are able to choose their own education and career, freedom and democracy could be limited by the human living condition… played by the political parties… controlled by the ”mafia — God fathers”… and abused by the power greedy……!

Just think about, how many Chinese really have got chance and time to learn, to know what democracy is…by now? Even though some have read a lot in China…but the most translated books have been censored or ”’edited for a right voice”…or just misguided by the ‘’simplified translation”!
When we talk about any part of history, we have to let it back its time as what it was…with our enough knowledge of its background in the truth.

Just one question on Tianan Men 1989 –How much today’s China could be better in democracy IF former prime minster Ziyang Zhao is still in the state leadership? Why he lost in 1989?

Today’s comfortable life has made us become too lazy to think and to dig the truth…or, at least to question the truth of our past.

We must not ‘water’ our belief and glory by others’ blood, both of Chinese students and Chinese soldiers in 1989!

Wo Men Bu-Neng Jian-Hua Li-Shi. We must not simplify history.

  1. Kayte Said,

    As ever, I really wish I could read Chinese. I would love to read the article.

    The point of becoming “too lazy to think” has been playing on my mind for a while, and perhaps more so in the run up to June 4th. I am slightly stunned by the general lack of interest here (I don’t mean by the media, which does mention it, I mean us; my friends, acquiantances, those of us “on the ground” so to speak). And not just towards the Tiananmen anniversary, to so much in general.

    I am wondering if it is because so many things seem too remote by time and distance to penetrate our comfortable everyday mundanity; that we are so busy jumping through our daily hoops, that the chance, the time and indeed the inclination to “dig for the truth”, to ask the necessary WHYs, both of the past and present becomes ever diminished. Which must make us so much more manageable for any powers that be.

    I have been chewing this for several days during the houehold chores, without coming to much conclucsion.
    So, thank you for putting it so succinctly! Your blog is a wonderful opening into the world outside my English kitchen sink.

  2. Anna-Lise Said,

    Dear Xinran,
    My name is anna-lise, i come from australia. I’m 19. Awhile ago, my dad bought your book “The Good Women Of China” and spoke about it alot,. but he wouldnt let me read it, he said it would upset me too much. One day when i was looking through our library, i came across it and started reading it. My dad asked me what i thought of the book and i told him i didnt have words to discribe what i was feeling. I was deeply moved and shocked.
    Since reading The Good Women of China that first time, I’ve lost count of how many times i’ve read it. Each time i read it, i find new things, that i’ve missed the previous time reading. I feel i’ve learnt so much just from reading your book, and i’m always learning more. My dad found Sky Burial and Miss Chopsticks and bought them for me knowing how much i treasure The Good Women of China. Now Sky Burial is my favourite book! It’s such a beautiful story and i felt so deeply and cried for Shu Wen. I really hope you find Shu Wen again, and you can tell me how her story ends.
    Miss Chopsticks really opened up my eyes, how can young women feel so incabable? or feel all they are good for is giving children?
    I don’t understand, my whole life i’ve been encouraged and everyone in my family has told me i can acheive what i ever dream of. It upsets me that some women don’t even dare to dream about the simplest things.
    My dad is getting me What the Chinese Don’t Eat and China Witness.
    Thank you so much for coming into my life and opening up my eyes to a totally different world. I hope you come back to australia again.

  3. Saien Said,

    Dear Xinran,

    My name is Saien Lai, I am a 24 y.o. Chinese-American living in the USA. (this comment doesn’t actually have to do with the Tiananmen movement)

    While growing up, my parents often talked about how their lives were shaped by the Cultural Revolution, and how little role my grandparents played in their upbringing. However, I have never been able to get my grandparents to tell me their stories from the days that they were “making revolution” from 1950s-1970s. When I ask them about it, they just brush me off and say “mei shen me hao shuo de.” but even as a child, I heard the pain in their voices. After my family moved to the States when I was a teenager, I felt that I was never going to hear their stories. As I age, and as I watch them age, I felt a desire to somehow get them to open up and tell me their stories before they pass away. But I don’t know how.

    Recently, while traveling in London, I stumbled into a book store and found your book China Witness. It was a fascinating read. All the stories are so interesting, and it really opened my eyes to see my grandparents’ generation as people, and not just as grandparents. People who at my age were passionate young revolutionaries, people who were willing to sacrifice everything for the good of the country, and people whom I truly admire for their courage and livelihood.

    I would really like to share this book with my parents and grandparents, in hopes that it will get them to tell me some of their stories. However, they do not read English, and I was wondering if there are Chinese versions of this book somewhere? It would mean the world to me if you could tell me where/how I could get a copy in Chinese.

    Thank you,

  4. Xinran Said,

    Thanks to you all…
    Kayte, thanks for your taste commons from your English kitchen…I hope my writing would give you and others some more real Chinese tastes…not only made by ‘suan tian’ source…or by black and white media pictures
    Anna Lise, 19 years old was the age for me to ‘’open eyes’’ …reading and travelling had opened the bright world to me…before that my life was under the roof of my lonely corner and showed by my tears…
    Saien: Yes, please let your grandparents know you are interesting in their life stories…Your respecting and wanting is the key to open their deep memories…from my over twenty years interviews…I found, the most old people, they never gave up fighting with any kind of difficulties and power… but they are really frighten to lose their children’s respect and love…
    It is very hard to be honest to face our Chinese past…BUT we must try, before we are cut off from our roots…
    All the best to you..
    Xiexie Yu Wo Fen-Xiang, Thanks for sharing it with me.

  5. Michael Said,

    With great power comes great responsibility. Official silence seems like an abdication of responsibility. I offer my respect to the families of the dead of Tiananmen.

    Long live Xinran, Long live honesty.

  6. Carol Said,

    Today I just finished reading your book The Good Women of China and I felt very moved by it. Then I was on the internet looking for more information about you and your books and found your blog. And what a coincidence:you are coming to Brazil! I tried to add a comment to your post about your coming to Brazil, but it didn’t work. I just wanted to say how I felt after reading your book and if you have some free time, send me an e-mail,will you?

  7. Dawn Said,

    Xinran - my deepest respect as always. I’m still working on the book, I hope it’s not too long before you can read the finished product and that it will be all the better for your advice. I hope to see you again very soon.

    Xie xie.

  8. Meaghan Said,

    Hello Xinran:
    This actually has nothing to do with the topic above, and I was actually just trying to find a way to contact you. (This was the only method I could find)

    I am currently doing a book report on the role and status of women in china, and was finding no real information. I knew they were not held to the standard of men, but i didn’t know much else. After reading the good women of china, it really put it in perspective for me and gave me a new understanding. Hearing the stories from the women of china gave me an understanding from their point of view, and not some historian who was told about them. I just wanted to thank you for giving one person a greater knowledge of the world around them. You’re book really inspired me.

    Have a great day :)


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