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A visit to Tiananmen Square

Conducting interviews in China's Tiananmen Square

The vast expanse of Tiananmen Square inspires equally in depth and complex feelings. The protests of 1989 have ripped a hole in the fabric of the Chinese isolationist culture and suppression through which the entire world can see.

On our first day in China, we experienced how sensitive the government is about Tiananmen Square. While walking through the square, ASU students conducted an interview which immediately caught the attention of Chinese authorities. For the next 15 minutes or so, Chinese authorities steadily accumulated around the group and forced students to delete video taken of an interview. The man, 75, a resident of a small town in China had never seen an American before and was curious. Authorities took him aside and reprimanded him; he was told that he should not bother foreigners, and scolded for doing the interview.

This incident opened up a lot of questions within our class about freedom of speech and expression in China. While many Americans find such oppression offensive, China remains very united. Why the country is united is hotly debated, but it is true that government censorship is very thorough. A Google search of Tiananmen Square is totally blocked by the government, and the recent uprisings in Libya and Egypt have been purged from media coverage in China.

While government restrictions and oversight have been greatly diminished in business, there is still very little freedom of the press.

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