Twenty years ago, in June 1989, the Chinese army killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed civilians in Beijing and other cities during demonstrations for democracy. How much has changed? A multimedia feature by Human Rights Watch examines the impact of and Chinese response to the Tiananmen Square incident, and finds the government continues to “victimize survivors, victims’ families, and others who challenge the official version of events.”

As the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen approaches on Thursday, Chinese authorities have seized dissidents and blocked social networking sites like Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and news websites like The Huffington Post.

“Tiananmen taught the Chinese government that freedom of speech is the core issue that they must control,” says Carroll Bogert of Human Rights Watch in the video.

“Domestic press censorship doesn’t just have consequences for people inside China,” adds Dr. Sophie Richardson, also from HRW. “Because the domestic Chinese press couldn’t write about SARS or melamine scandals or lead-painted toys, we wind up with global public health problems, product safety problems. This matters for everyone, everywhere.”

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist,, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour,, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.