This is a place where memories get terribly distorted: people in their fifties now say that the government was right to crack down in 1989. And many people forget that 1989-92 was an ice age, before China began marching towards the market. I don’t think ordinary people should have to concentrate on remembering – it’s not good for them, and it’s not their job. It’s intellectuals who shouldn’t forget. These days, they can’t say anything, though. They know the risks of speaking out: that there’s a huge difference between having government approval and losing it, in terms of the housing you’ll get, access to international funding, and so on.
– Chan Koonchung, in the preface to The Fat Years