Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 09:32 UK

Tiananmen anniversary: Your views

A man tries to stop Chinese tanks in 1989

Twenty years after the brutal crackdown of the student uprising in Tiananmen Square open discussion about what happened on 4 June 1989 remains taboo.

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Flickr have been blocked in an attempt to prevent online discussion on the anniversary.

Readers of the BBC News website in China have been sending their understanding of the events and the legacy of 1989. Here is a selection of their emails.

I was a student and I took part in the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing. I was against the Chinese government before, but I've changed my mind about what happened, like many others I know. Our government totally won my heart by banning the Fa Lun Gong movement in the 1990s and I absolutely support them now. Looking back at the events of 1989, I think that the Chinese government did the right thing at the time. I do not support the men who led the pro-democracy demonstrations and who subsequently fled to western countries. Deng Xiaoping once said: "If I crackdown the demonstrations, Chinese people will blame me for 10 years. But if I do not - Chinese people will blame me forever." He is right.
J. Cai, Xian

I was in Sichuan province in June 1989 and I remember well the crowds of people on the streets in Chengdu, and the gunshots. Now I live in Shanghai. Online access has been blocked for a week for the South China Morning Post. That, I understand, is because they are running stories about Tiananmen. Why are international news services not running any stories about this extreme censorship?
Nicholas Tapp, Shanghai

I was in my last year of primary school in 1989. I remember clearly that I was washing my hair outside our home when news came that there was a chaotic situation in Tiananmen square. Many students' lives were endangered by their hunger strike, some PLA soldiers were burnt to death. The government was determined to gain control over the whole situation. I clearly remember the horrible images of burnt corpses of PLA soldiers and I cried for our beloved soldiers. Chinese people hold a reverence for our PLA soldiers - we grew up with moving stories about how they fought and died for the establishment of the new China. Of course we were not able to learn the other side of the story. There were rumours in the following years that students were killed by tanks and that there were many casualties among students. But I was too young to understand rumours like that.

The crisis of 4 June 1989 is a devastating event in China's democracy process. I was a junior middle school student in Beijing by that time. The brutal suppression by the army proved that the so-called "socialism" is no different from the old feudalistic rule. The way our country has developed proves this - corruption and inequality are prevalent in Chinese society and the people of the lower classes are finding it harder and harder to lead comfortable lives. All the evils are conducted by the authorities in the name of social stability and no-one knows how long before the discontent erupts. Chinese people are very patient - look at our thousand-year-long history.
Joseph, Fuzhou

I was a ten-year-old when this historic event happened. It was tragic, but without any doubt it changed China for the better. Gradually we opened our door and started to welcome different ideas. The market economy changed the lives of Chinese people. I feel grateful to the victims who had a noble purpose and tried to make China a better country. Let's remember those who died and tried to make China a more democratic country.
Derek, Chengdu

It's been 20 years now, things have changed quite of bit. Many countries in the West have tried and still are trying to use this event to insult China. Let me ask you, do you think these countries really care about human rights, freedom of speech and how citizens of other countries are being treated? My answer is no, no and no for a million years, unless of course there there is something in it for them.
J. Han, Beijing

I used to live in Beijing and had already finished my university studies. For me, the event should be described as the ill-equipped and ill-prepared army screw-up when trying to restore law and order in the city. The army's actions were legitimate, but they were not smart enough compared to their foreign counterparts - they should have thought about buying rubber bullets beforehand. Whether you like or not, the events ensured 20 years of fast economic growth in the country which I am very pleased about. The lesson that we can learn, especially for the younger generations, is that no-one is above the law, even when you are protesting.
Beijing Netizen, Beijing

Initially the event was a patriotic demonstration to remember a diseased government official and to protest against corruption. Then it turned into a rebellion fully sponsored by the western world who wanted to restore their brutal rule on Chinese people. They want to do that even to this day. I feel sorry for the students who died. But those student leaders who were sponsored by foreigners have to take full responsibility for the crime they committed. They are the sinners of the nation.
Hua Hantang, Beijing

No-one talks about the legacy of the Tiananmen Square protests in public. The history is deliberately forgotten by the government which treats its people with brutality. The political reform has stalled since then. Taiwan is a democracy. Where is mainland China going, which way? I wonder.
Yu Qiang, Hangzhou, Zhejiang

I am about to graduate from college. My grandparents and parents experienced this event. So to some extent I have a knowledge of it. Meanwhile, we have a deep discussion together with my classmates about this event, at the end of which we have a final conclusion and a desire to tell the whole world. We are very curious about this event, but this curiosity does not stop us from supporting our government, which, we believe, could bring us a good life. It is already doing that. China is doing very well nowadays even when others are in the hot water of an economic crisis. We Chinese people are living a good life now. Anyway, I can understand the reason why foreign media is keen to point the finger at China's past. What I want to say is, everyone has a childhood and everyone has a chance to grow up.

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