Remarkable Pictures From Hong Kong

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MSNBC's photoblog has pictures from Hong Kong this evening, June 4 China time, that are quite stunning. For instance, in Victoria Park a few hours ago:

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That so many people would turn out, in a supremely business-minded community that has been legally part of the People's Republic of China for nearly 15 years, to observe the Tiananmen anniversary that is leading to detentions, tightened censorship, and crackdowns in other parts of China, is impressive and heartening. (It also is impressive and heartening that Hong Kong's legal regime remains independent enough to allow such demonstrations and comments, after these nearly 15 years.)

I stick with the argument that for most of the billion-plus people in the People's Republic, the past 30 years have been a time of increasing opportunity and prosperity, decreasing poverty, legitimately rising national pride, and overall improvement in civil liberties and the sphere of unregulated private life. But the contrast between the scenes today in Hong Kong, and the tightly patrolled public spaces* in Beijing, is a reminder of how much more the Chinese public can aspire to.

(Of course see Alan Taylor's In Focus feature on Tiananmen then and now, which includes a Hong Kong nighttime shot.)  
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* I have heard from friends in Beijing about controls in Tiananmen Square and other public places there today. For the record, I describe in my book the trouble I got into with the police in that same space three years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the crackdown in 1989. Indeed the black-shirted plainclothesman in this NYT photo resembles the ones I ran afoul of.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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