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It’s hard to say exactly how many people marked the 21st Annivesary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre* in front of the Chinese Consulate on Laguna down in the Western Addition on Friday, June 6th. It seemed like they had a caravan of 30-40 cars plus a giant moving van but I didn’t see a big crowd or anything.
A motorcade passing City Hall before the protest:
As seen on Laguna near Japantown:
The protesters had a lot of interesting posters displayed. Are people still jailed 21 years later? No se, I’m a little gun-shy about checking out strange websites ever since Google sent a message to warn me that, apparently, Red China (or, specifically, a dude with an IP address from Red China) hacked into my GMail account two days ago. And that struck the Googlers as a bit odd since I also logged in from San Francisco multiple times the same day. Oh well. China has lots and lots of energetic hackers operating for their own purposes 24-7, of course. Anyway, if you want surf around, knock yourself out:
The events of 1989 represented the huge challenge to the Communist Party of China’s position as supreme political authority in the world’s largest country. The Party didn’t know what to make of this kind of thing, at first:
Anyway, here’s the mise-en-scene from Friday: a protester carrying a funerary display up Geary, a plainclothes Fed (Jacqueline Bauer?) assigned to protect the consulate building, and a young dude from Armada Security paid hourly to do the same thing:
So, nobody scaled the building to fake hang themselves they way they did back in aught-eight. This was the scene just before a Chinese dude on the roof famously cut the suspension line. Simple physics tells us it took slightly more than a second for her to hit the balcony about 15 feet below. Ouch:
No, things were pretty mellow at Friday’s protest, excepting for the guy who shouted out, “Why don’t you all go home, motherfuckers!”
Something very San Francisco about him – what do you think, is it the convertible Mercedes lifestylemobile, the tattoos, the Hollywood-director baseball cap, the rage, the unsolicited advice yelled at strangers? Something in that area….
Cyclist gal was all, WTF, racist dude?
The next day, Armada had an older fellow marking time minding the store as baseball-hatted Chinese intelligence officers entered and exited the building.
Just another day in Paradise.
See you next year.
*With 400-800 deaths in and around the square, on or around June 4, 1989, all told – that still appears to be the best guess.
There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot going on to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre (aka June 4 Incident, aka “6-4“) around San Francisco today so far.
Appears as if there’ll be a candlelight vigil in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square at the Goddess of Democracy statue around 7:30 or 8:00 PM tonight.
“Candlelight vigil 4th June at 8p at Portsmouth Sq, Chinatown, San Francisco re: Tiananmen Square”
Here she is, the GoD, being ignored last year by Mayor Gavin Newsom in all the excitement leading up to the international Olympic Torch Relay fiasco of 2008. (Don’t look forward to any more of those international relays – they’re cancelled forever by the International Olympic Committee due to actions from the Sacred Flame Protection Squad, etc.)
June 4th is being remembered in San Francisco, but it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal at this point. Here’s one account from Tiananmen, in the virtual pages of SFGate:
“Our eyes locked. He was attractive in a stern sort of way, with wide-set eyes and a strong, dimpled chin. He was probably four or five years my junior. We looked into one another’s eyes for a few seconds, our limbs locked in this aggressive parody of a dance. I had an absurd memory of senior prom…” On it goes.
Anyway, it looks like Chinatown will be the venue for the biggest 6-4 observation in town today.
Of course last year‘s Olympic protests around the Chinese Consulate at 1450 Laguna near Geary really livlied up the Western Addition / Japantown area in 2008. Let’s review and then see what’s coming up for 2009.
Did this really happen last year? Yes it did. It’s U.C. Davis grad / protest artist Nyendak Wangden hanging off the side of the gosh darn building. It’s supposed to look like she was hung by the neck, but she was safe under the robes in her climbing harness. Safe until somebody on the roof hacked at the red rope causing her to fall. Ouch. Click to expand:
Source unknown This could be a one-of-a-kind photo
How long a fall to the balcony would you say that was? 15 feet or so? Note the absence of the flagpoles in this later photo – those poles got nubbed shortly after the rope cutting incident.
The mise-en-scene from before the rope thang. (NB: The next time you illegally suspend yourself from a building to make a political point, do it above a balcony – it can be a long way to sidewalk otherwise:
But that was then, this is now. More recently, “serial package thrower” Aaron Bassler made the news by throwing items containing wacky stuff (something to do with the “Martian military”) over the fence of the consulate. These objects were treated as bombs by the SFPD. Thusly:
That crime wave is over. What’s coming up in 2009? Well, stuff to do with Tibet – read on after the jump.
And of course, the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square is coming up on June 4, 2009 as well. Just saying.
Concertina wire up on the roof and a decrease in flagpoles are two of the more obvious changes the past year. A recent photo:
This was the scene today in historic Portsmouth Square in San Francisco’s Chinatown – the mayor signing autographs after announcing a list of some of the torchbearers who will relay around the city on April 9th.
Let’s not forget about her, in all this Olympic excitement.