Today is the 25th anniversary of China’s brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square. While the event is not acknowledged in China, Hong Kong still enjoys a bit more freedom.
— Heather Timmons (@HeathaT) June 4, 2014
I can still remember those heady days of 1989. Communist thugocracies were collapsing everywhere. Solidarity surged in Poland. Hungary, Romania, East Germany and Czechoslovakia heaved with rebellion. For a while it seemed liked the Chinese government would fall. I was glued to the television hoping and praying that something good would happen. But it wasn’t long before the reality of the situation sank in.
The crackdown at Tiananmen worked in the sense that it kept the communists in power. But Deng Xiaoping continued the reforms that have made China an economic power. That prosperity may eventually be the communist party’s undoing. Economic freedom is frequently the father of political freedom.
More importantly, the wave of protests would not be stopped, surging around the bloody stone of Tiananmen to engulf the rest of the world. By the end of the year, the Berlin Wall would be in pieces, Solidarity would control Poland, Hungary would have torn down its own section of the Iron Curtain, Vaclav Havel would be President of Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria would be planning free elections and Ceauşescu would have a bullet in his evil head. And over the next few years, communist dictatorships or communist rebellions all over Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania would fall.
1989 was the year millions of people stood up to the one of the greatest evils in human history. It’s humbling to see that bravery, even in the case where it failed to topple the regime. And we should never forget it.