An email forwarded to The Daily Caller by an anonymous student illustrates the paranoia and tension still felt by many in China surrounding the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Sent by a dean of Guangzhou University in Guangdong on Tuesday evening, the email forbids students from attending any rallies and instructs councilors to keep them under tight supervision.
“I don’t care whether you’ve skipped class in the past, but from 6/4 to 6/7, you must do as I say!” the email begins. “During this period, especially tomorrow, do not attend any off-campus rallies. You should not watch them, and you should not participate in them. You should not go over to __U — that’s right, _____ University. Do not attend their related activities, and do not leave University Town under any circumstances; you should stay on campus.”
Public discussion of the massacre, during which the Chinese government attacked unarmed civilians with assault rifles and tanks to break up pro-democracy protests in Beijing, is strictly forbidden, with censors barring it from appearing in textbooks and media outlets and scrubbing discussion of it on the internet.
The protests began in the spring of 1989, led by university students calling for liberal reforms of the communist government.
“Dorm prefects, class councilors, including class councilors chosen today, I need your cooperation: every night at 9:00 from 6/4 to 6/7, do a tally of residents present in your dorms. (Prefects must tally up the residents in their dorms and send the report to me. … If you do not know, you must call them; if you cannot reach them, you must call their families; if you do not have their families’ numbers, you must inform me; I will report to the University, and the University will call their families, whence the University may ask their families to come to campus. So as part of your duty as Prefect, you must make these preparations.)”
The dean also warns students not to watch any demonstrations or to make any public signs of mourning or remembrance:
“Tomorrow there might be a malicious propaganda action called ‘Flying Snow in June,’ I hope that nobody watches; better to keep your distance. Also, if you see a large group of people wearing black, keep your distance at all costs!! Please pay special attention: to avoid bringing trouble on yourself, do not wear black tomorrow!!”
China stepped up security throughout the country this week and pre-emptively detained artists and intellectuals who might speak out about the anniversary. No significant protests or commemorations have been reported.