It’s an interesting practice to reduce things to their most poignant role in history by use of a simple adjective or verb.
For example the events that took place 25 years ago in Tiananmen Square happened simply because of love and hope–a love for one’s country and a hope for something better.
I keep coming back to this 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen ‘massacre’ though I’d rather call it ‘a fear induced slaughter.’
David loves to use the phrase, ‘at that moment,’ referring to something in the past.
He’s told me the story of how he learned of what transpired in June 1989.
He was around my age  when he learned from a friend twelve years ago, thirteen years after the event. I probably learned about thirteen-fifteen years ago in school.
David’s friend was training to be a soldier and part of their training they were educated about 1989 and why the government acted as it did. The government educating its soldiers on its terms [as all governments do].
At that moment 25 years ago it was akin to stepping on the butterfly in ‘A Sound of Thunder’ by Ray Bradbury.
What David said:
‘At that moment DengXiaoPing made a choice. He chose order rather than let Beijing fall into ‘student run chaos.’ He pulled the power on the city grid so no news could break or could barely get out.’
After-all it was students who became ruthless Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution educated on Mao’s terms.
To me China is a series of paradoxes. A country pretty much ruled, scammed, capitalized, and dictated by education. A country who keeps its ‘face.’ Remembers the past it wants to remember, like Japan’s slaughter of Chinese during WWII and Japan’s inability to make an acceptable genuine apology thus resulting in almost all Chinese students proclaiming their anti-Japan stance from grade 1 on. Yet China keeps its own citizens ignorant out of fear of its people. Even if ‘political power grows from the barrel of the gun,’ I suppose fear is power and love doesn’t conquer, it bleeds.
So 25 years after our butterfly got stomped, what’s China?
Had our butterfly planted itself lightly on Tiananmen’s steps fluttered about and off it went.
Would I have been urinated on in the metro two months ago?
Would various Chinese be uttering slurs when they saw foreign faces?
Would ‘foreign face’ be such a thing?
Would I cringe at the word, ‘backwards,’ and feel like it’s a slur towards China?
Would cheating be so prevalent?
Would we stand on the left or the right?
Choices are choices are choices.
[Disclaimer: This is all my point of view and I apologize for any over-stated/generalized statements I have made regarding China and or Chinese people. What I have written is from my own observations and or conversations I’ve had.]