The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Legacy of Tiananmen Square

23 years ago, on June 4, 1989, China's communist government conducted a deadly crackdown on the freedom demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. One of the more interesting results of the horrendous events of that day is the number of those dissidents that have since converted to Christianity. According to Professor Fenggang Yang of Purdue University, a scholar who followed those events closely, the dissidents recognized the moral bankruptcy of communism and saw in Christianity the only real alternative that offered the kind of life and social institutions they sought. Such conversions have been particularly common among the intellectual dissidents. To read more click here: Tiananmen and Christian Conversion.

Another interesting tidbit. Do you remember the iconic photograph of the unidentified young dissident standing courageously in front of the Chinese Army tank? He looked so innocently brave standing there holding what appears to be a couple of shopping bags. Some say he died later in the crackdown that took so many lives, but nobody knows for certain. From the below video it's apparent he didn't die at the scene since he seems to have been hustled off to safety by others.

Just the other day, on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest, I came across a wide angle photo of the famous scene. I've included the more familiar photo first, followed by the less known wide angle photo. The latter is truly amazing, showing this one, small, seemingly insignificant but determined young man facing down not just a few tanks (in itself a very scary thing), but what appears to be a whole division of Chinese Army tanks. He stands there, before those tanks and the entire world, while the communist authorities blink, displaying their barbarism and their true weakness for all to see -- a remarkable photo.

In totalitarian China one may still not discuss openly the events at Tiananmen Square on that June day. Perhaps some day we'll know the real and complete story of what happened.

Pray for the conversion of China.

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