Tiananmen Square documentaries provide context for current Hong Kong protests

If you’ve paid attention to international news recently, you may be aware of the large-scale protests (and subsequent government crackdown) occurring in Hong Kong over proposed election reforms that could prevent opposition candidates from seeking office. To outside observers, the so-called “Umbrella Revolution” is turning out distressingly similarly to the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989. We won’t pretend to be experts on what’s happening right now, but if you wish understand the context of these protests, we want to emphasize the importance of China’s uneven history with freedom of expression.

From the famous “Democracy Wall” to the more obscene “grass mud horse,” Chinese citizens have for decades struggled to make their voices heard amidst a regime that is has repeatedly been demonstrated hostility to dissident voices. The massacre at Tiananmen Square is perhaps the most visible demonstration of the Chinese government’s clash with protestors, and many documentaries have been produced about its causes and effects.

Back in June, we posted a list of films in our collection about the events in Tiananmen Square; it is deeply troubling that this post is once again relevant. We’ve produced this list again below for your convenience. We encourage you to watch them for a greater understanding of how the current movement is another episode in China’s persistent struggle with democratic ideals.

The China Story – VHS 2280
Declassified: Tiananmen Square – Streaming video
The Gate of Heavenly Peace – DVD 10735
The Gate of Heavenly Peace: Tiananmen Square, June 4th, 1989 – Streaming video
Moving the Mountain – VHS 4590
Reform in Crisis: The Aftermath of Tiananmen – VHS 3251 no. 1
The Tank Man – DVD 2251
The Tiananmen Hostage: Fang Lizhi – Streaming video
Tragedy at Tiananmen: The Untold Story – DVD 11328

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