Today is June 4th, 24 years on from the June 4th that made today’s date a “thing”.
That’s mostly how it’s referred to here – not as Tiananmen Square, but as June 4th.
It often seems strange to me that I live in China. On June 4th it seems especially strange.
It is easy to insulate yourself in the bubble of your everyday life. I am busy. My neighbours are friendly. People are kind. They try to understand my poorly constructed and pronounced Chinese. The parks are beautiful. I’ve got a soft spot for dragons. It is easy to cycle here. Chinese food is delicious (well some of it, and I’m mostly able to choose what I eat). In many ways China is an easy place to live, full of opportunity, and even on the days that the internet restrictions drive me nuts or the air pollution chokes me, I feel the privilege of living here.
But June 4th. It reminds me that I encounter only a very small slither of life in China. And that as a condition of being here, I agreed to refrain from criticising the Government (it is part of the ethical conduct clause, though the Congregation prefaced that clause with “while it may be neither inappropriate nor unethical, you must nevertheless refrain from…). I don’t always know what I should say or do instead.
June 4th happened. Today we are remembering. And praying for that day when justice and mercy kiss and suffering and death are no more and the lion lays down with the lamb.