I'm old enough to remember this. And like Janet, I recall the palpable sense of dismay and reversal of progress.
Those of us in biomedical research fields frequently operate in environments that bring us in contact with other scientists who originate in China. Some of us are lucky enough to know a span of age ranges from the older generations who left China before Tiananmen or in the immediate aftermath down to the young whippersnappers fresh out of undergraduate or graduate education. There is a difference. I don't know if it is a change in who China trains scientifically or who they let seek postdoctoral training in the US. It is possible. But assuming that is not the case, the political attitudes have shifted in the post-Tiananmen generations. They seem to toe the national political line more. They view the demonstrators and civil liberty political types as dangerous, wrong and subversive. And to view the Tiananmen massacre as either necessary or a lie.
My readers are for the most part domestic US folks. China is a far distant place with a different culture and politics. What could we possibly take away from this?
Well, I think some of our younger generation here, politically active and progressive as they are don't really get it. Luckily, we have revere. Who placed this into the appropriate context.
And who also talks about his history of Palin' around with terrorists.
If you happen to work with a lot of younger Chinese scientists who seem to have a different appreciation of the events of 20 years ago on Tiananmen Square...check your attitudes on our own political history. It's worth a thought or two.