A protester stands in front of a mock tank in Hong Kong to symbolize the man blocking tanks at the 1989 demonstration. The words on his shirt read “Citizen against orders.” (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
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China's vast censorship machine does its utmost to wipe the slightest reference to the Tiananmen crackdown from books, television and the Internet, scrubbing the issue from public discussion and even from the minds of its younger generation.The overnight clearing of the square at the heart of Beijing, where student-led protesters had demanded reforms for seven weeks, left hundreds dead – by some estimates more than 1,000 – and the party isolated from its people and the world.A third of China's population today was born afterward, while many of those alive at the time hesitate to broach the sensitive topic – leaving a huge swath of those under 25 ignorant of the event.Online, hundreds of millions of Chinese now have unprecedented access to information – but only that approved by the authorities.For censors in the know, no reference is too vague.The book is banned in China.One group that refuses to stay silent is the Tiananmen Mothers, parents who lost children in the crackdown and every year call on authorities to give an account of what happened.
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