Encore post: Last Days in China, Part 1

On May 15, I attended a virtual reading offered by the Autumn House Press in Pittsburgh. One of the readers was Michael Wang, who read a piece about the Tiananmen Square massacre. Since this is now June, the 32nd anniversary, I thought of reposting this piece from 2011. At the time of the bloody crackdown, I was teaching in Seoul and would come home from my night class to watch events unfold on CNN. Later that summer, I was at the photocopy machine in the linguistics department of the University of Pittsburgh, my alma mater, and a Chinese graduate … Read More

Last Days in China, Part 2

In Part 1, Harriet described the xenophobic mood and the widespread discontent preceding the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, then the glorious day of April 27, when she followed the demonstrators from Beijing Normal University from the school through the square and beyond.

Harriet’s Story

Sometime in the next few days, the officials had a dialogue on TV with the previously recognized student organizations [set up by university officials]. Some of the questions put by these student leaders were pretty lame, but some were to the point. The answers were rather patronizing, but they were at least talking. The activists … Read More

Last Days in China, Part 1

Half a year after the 1989 Tiananmen Square Uprising, Harriet Adams, a graduate student doing research on the student movements in China and Korea, gave a talk on the pro-democracy movement to members of the Royal Asiatic Society—Korea Branch. It was a well put-together, impassioned but academically correct lecture. It made me very curious about the personal story behind the footnotes, particularly as I couldn’t help but noticing the affection Harriet and her Chinese husband clearly had for each other. Harriet agreed to an interview, which took place a few weeks later in her room near her university.

“Both of Read More