You know, I had never heard of the Tiananmen Square incident until I moved to Hong Kong five years ago, one of my students told me today.
She's from Tsing Dao, the beer producing capital of China, and old enough to remember the events of 1989.
So, what are your thoughts?, I asked.
It's hard to say. I think it's terrible... but the protests didn't make any difference so what was the point?, she answered shrugging her shoulders slightly.
Many of my mainland students share the same attitude. Objecting to the system is not going to make any difference, so let's just go with it and hope for the best.
Are they right? Well, twenty years on, improvement have been made.
The Chinese Government might prefer doing things at snail-speed, but the country is nevertheless set on a course of change. The economic strenght is upgrading the general standard of living. Things "foreign" are the subject of careful curiosity. The Chinese are the fastest growing group of international travellers. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James sell more basketball tops in China than Yao Ming. Prison Break is a hit TV show.
The break hits bottom, though, when communication outside of governmental control is attempted. Watch American TV, support Manchester United, learn English...but your thoughts and ideas are not to be shared with others.
Ten years ago, the Tiananmen Square was closed for visitors. Today it's open.
Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail, however, are blocked.