Tian'anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace)

7pm Friday, February 4, 2011 (Part 2). Tiananmen/Gate of Heavenly Peace. Location: Room 1, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place, Manhattan.
A feature-length documentary about the 1989 protest movement, reflecting the drama, tension, humor, absurdity, heroism, and many tragedies of the six weeks from April to June in 1989. Six awards, one nomination. For more info visit
This film is part of the Courage vs. Violence Film and Discussion Series

1 comment:

  1. Dear friends,

    I am Steven Bhardwaj, an attender of 15th St, currently volunteering in Rwanda with the Quaker NGO called AGLI-FPT. I am 26 years old, and a civil engineer.

    I was fortunate enough to view the Tiananmen movie in Lillian Li's "Chinese History" class in the fall of 2003 at Swarthmore College. I saw the movie a few months after a summer internship at a factory in China, and it had a profound effect on me, especially the context and video footage of the dui hua, or "dialogues" between the student leaders and government officials.

    Of course, I think the movement as a whole certainly had a positive effect, reminding China's leaders to consider the well-being of a broad population base. However, I think that the grassroots power of the movement could have achieved much more with more effective leadership.

    I realized that I was the same age as the student leaders, as they added their own failings and errors to the world's list of consequential historic blunders. I reflected on my own participation in student advocacy and activism, and saw a striking comparison between my own attitudes and those of the students. I glumly realized that I would have probably eagerly joined the ranks of the most under-prepared and over-zealous students. Without the guidance of more mature members with pragmatic ideas, the leaders often seemed to channel the "Red Guard" mentality by taking many politically irresponsible positions.

    The comparison was especially strong based on my errors during my 2003 internship. In my first long-term stay in a foreign country as a young adult with independence, I started to turn into an "Ugly American." As people asked me what I thought of China, began to point my finger at percieved problems of nepotism or privileged wealth, and my words were edged with an unconsious narcissism and assumption of America's "advanced" nature. Without a grounded understanding of America's own failings, I was blindly criticizing everything I saw around me.

    In sum, my experience of this film was as an early wake-up call. It showed me that blindly anti-authority advocacy had the serious potential to become "bad-vocacy," without a responsible philosophy of ethics and careful analysis. Thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoyed the film, and feel free to email me your thoughts at

    -Steven Bhardwaj
    Rwanda phone: 0784114209
    USA phone (transfers to Rwanda): (+1) 917-725-5122
    USA fax: (+1) 347-416-6273