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Past Is Prologue?
Witnessing the Tiananmen Massacre

WaPo’s Beijing bureau chief during the Tiananmen massacre looks back on his reporting of the 1989 student-led protests and the Chinese Communist Party crackdown.

Published on: August 14, 2019
Dan Southerland, Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post in the 1980s, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Tiananmen massacre. He served for 20 years as the executive editor of congressionally funded Radio Free Asia (RFA) before retiring in late 2016. He currently writes commentaries for RFA, mostly on Asian environmental issues. This essay is partly adapted from an RFA commentary on Tiananmen published on June 4 of this year.
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