What Pegman Saw – Integrity

 “What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Xinhua, China

WPS - Integrity - 200202


On June 4th 1989 the Chinese Army stormed the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and its environs. Official figures say hundreds were killed. Unofficial figures say thousands. The casualties were not all among protestors and bystanders; the army lost at least a dozen, dragged from their vehicles and beaten to death. Scores of military vehicles were destroyed.


My editor at Xinhua News was sleek and plump, his office newly-painted.

“Feng, what is the directive for coverage of the riots in Tiananmen Square?” he demanded.

“They are a false ideology intended to undermine the stability of our great nation.”

He waved a piece of paper in front of me.

“Then why this?”

“Sir, I’m a journalist. I try to be truthful. Dozens of protestors have told me that this is a non-violent action. They’re looking for reform, not revolution.”

“Take it away, and write something suitable.” He rammed it into my hand. I bowed. He was a greedy political appointee, but he was my boss.

That evening I was seized by police. After weeks of interrogation I was released when I agreed to be re-educated by working on a farm for five years.

It could have been worse. I might have been in the Square on June 4th.