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Virtue in Action – The Unknown Rebel’s Courage at Tiananmen Square

Take a stand against the injustice of censorship. In China today, most people do not know About the Tiananmen Square Massacre. With no press freedom, the only available news Comes from the government. Officials confiscated and destroyed many photographers’ film. The existing images and video had to be smuggled out.

  • Research the stories of Western journalists who captured images of the protests. How were they able to bring news of what happened to the world?
  • Read Wikipedia entries on the Tiananmen Square protests, and compare what you learn there to the information provided from reputable international sources. Why
    do you think Wikipedia entries are different? Do additional research and update Wikipedia pages to include accurate information.
  • How do people in China (and in other countries with Communist or authoritarian governments) access information on the Internet?
  • In 2014, approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, China’s censors blocked Internet access to the terms “six four,” “candle,” and “never forget.” Research those terms as they relate to Tiananmen Square. Why might those terms have been blocked in China?
  • In her June 2014 commencement address at the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, Washington Post journalist Dana Priest referred to a recent social media campaign, “Think of… tweets as phone calls that get louder as the volume of them increases… The million tweets demanding a return of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria became like a non-stop blaring phone that grew louder by the minute.” How can you use social media both responsibly and responsively—to create “volume” for people who either do not have a public voice, or who do not have a means to be heard? How might this help other people to find their courage?
  • Should companies such as Google develop different search engines to comply with government regulations that require censorship? If they do, are they complicit in violating the rights of people in those countries?
  • Write a letter to the editor or a guest column on the topic: Do technology and the Internet challenge government censorship or enable it?