We've followed Xujun Eberlein's blog for awhile and she often has some very interesting posts, though a recent one particularly struck me. The post in question is titled "Spider Web in Tiananmen" and takes a look at what is seemingly a new openness among the Party censors to take a look at the Tiananmen uprising that took place during Qing Ming in 1976, shortly after Zhou Enlai's death. For many, the events have all but been forgotten, overshadowed by the larger events that happened in the Square 20 over 10 years later, but it was a significant moment in Chinese history.
As Eberlein points out, its extremely strange for those events to suddenly be addressed now (for those that don't know Qing Ming is in April). There is no major anniversary, or party leader dying, or anything else that would make it seem appropriate for a redress of those events in October 2008. In the past, it was always about reading between the lines in China that told you more than what the actual sentences in the paper said. However, is that really the case today? Next year is the 20th anniversary of those fateful events of 1989, is this signalling the first step on the (most likely slow) path to changing official policy regarding that year?
It would seem to me that if 1989 was going to be looked at again, doing it this year, in the leadup to the Olympics, may have been the best time to take away a story and let China shine in the media (though some may argue it would have brought the story back to the fore). Having spent a lot of time lately in the "suburbs" of Beijing (far different from what those in the US would think of as a suburb, more like the countryside), it still shocks me (although it shouldn't) that there are many people who don't have a clue as to what happened in 1989.
To borrow the immortal words of Sam, "it's been a long, long time coming, but I know, a change is going to come."