lørdag 25. mai 2024

Lessons from Tiananmen for Today’s University Presidents

Thirty-five years ago, in April 1989, Chinese students from Beijing’s elite universities began their occupation of Tiananmen Square. Their issues were different from those of American students today. Chinese demonstrators voiced concerns about corruption, inflation, the effects of on-going market reforms, and lack of free press and participatory governance. 

Today’s students at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, Yale, University of Minnesota, University of Texas, Brown, USC, and other campuses are mounting an antiwar movement, calling on their institutions to divest from Israel in light of the unprecedented levels of civilian death in Gaza, and for the U.S. government to stop supplying Israel’s offensive war machine. Another big difference: as it turned out, Chinese students faced far more serious and long-lasting repercussions than seem likely for American students, even those violently arrested by police. At least so far.