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Tiananmen: Restoring Our Collective Memories

In 2024, we commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. The Tiananmen Square Massacre did not only occur in Tiananmen Square but was part of a series of pro-democracy protests happening across many cities in China. It also had ripple effects on communities such as Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and overseas Chinese. This was a cross-movement campaign. 

The Tiananmen Square Massacre did not end in early June 1989; the massacre of memory continues to this day. The Chinese Communist Party has vigorously attempted to cover up this tragic collective memory. Therefore, commemorations by overseas communities are invaluable. The collective memory of Tiananmen has become localized within our campuses, communities, and cities where we live. The memory of Tiananmen does not solely belong to the Chinese in Beijing in 1989 but also to us in North America and around the world in 2024: Tibetans, Uyghurs, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, overseas Chinese, Asian Americans, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, workers, and ordinary people filled with sympathy and conscience, even those not engaged in politics. 

The three pillars of the Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP are Research, Restore, and Resist. The concept of this project is to explore, through small-scale research, the memories of support and commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement within one’s campus, community, and city. By reenacting these scenes, we pay tribute to the protesters who sacrificed their lives 35 years ago in China. We also honor the various communities’ collective guardianship of this memory and their steadfast commitment to democratic values over the past 35 years. 

These historical research and reenactments also serve to restore our community: for a long time, even outside of China, discussing the memory of Tiananmen has faced many potential obstacles. Transnational repression from China has reinforced internalized fears for many, while economic ties with the Beijing regime have made various institutions, campuses, and media outlets in Western countries increasingly hesitant to openly discuss this tragic memory. Therefore, we use historical exploration and reenactments to allow our community to rediscover the true, suppressed collective memory: about transnational solidarity, about cross-movement solidarity, and behind these solidarities lies the long-term struggle of grassroots movements.

Explore our digital map below: