|Fengshi Yang conducts the East Meets West Music Arts chamber orchestra in a previous memorial concert.|
Music is not going to topple the Chinese Communist dictatorship.
More and more, it seems nothing will.
But music is all that Fengshi Yang has.
“China is not getting better,” said the Columbia College music teacher. “It’s getting worse.”
She feels obligated to do what she can: present another commemorative concert in her hometown of Naperville, performed this Sunday by the East Meets West Music Arts chamber orchestra to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, in which Chinese students demanding democracy were slaughtered by their government.
China does what it can to suppress the memory of the massacre, using its complete control of the Chinese online media. There, you can get in trouble for even mentioning “June 4” or “6/4.”
In 2012, when the Shanghai stock market fell 64.89 points at the time of the anniversary, Chinese censors began blocking searches for “index” and “Shanghai stock market.”
China can’t suppress American free speech, yet, but its chilling influence is felt right here in America’s heartland. It has increasingly tried to impose its uncritical nationalism, casting honest history as mere bigotry. Chinese exchange students sometimes push to import the propaganda they grew up on at home to American campuses. I interviewed a neighbor, born in China, who 30 years ago was a student protesting at Tiananmen Square. An American citizen now, he asked me to not only refrain from using his last name, but also his first.
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