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Crowds of jubilant students surge through a police cordon before pouring into Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 during a pro-democracy demonstration. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the bloody June 4 1989 army crackdown on the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Reuters/Stringer
Try to act like this never happened.
QUARTZ ARCHIVE

261 ways to refer to the Tiananmen Square massacre in China

By Nikhil Sonnad

This Saturday (June 4) marks the 27th anniversary of the massacre that ended pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Since June 4, 1989, the Chinese Communist Party has tried its best to stop people from mentioning the incident and convince them that the whole thing never happened.

This was relatively easy when the party held tight control over everything people read and wrote. The internet has made the task much more difficult. The result has been an unending game of cat-and-mouse between internet users, who invent clever new ways of referring to the massacre, and government censors who identify and remove these terms as quickly as possible.

China Digital Times (CDT), a news site affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, has assembled a list of 261 distinct terms that have been used on the Chinese internet to refer to the Tiananmen massacre, and have at some point been blocked by censors. The list includes straightforward terms like ”Tiananmen” and “June 4,” as well as more absurd examples of linguistic acrobatics that can circumvent censors, like “May 35” (meaning four days after May 31, or June 4).

Most of the terms are in Chinese, but sometimes to evade censors internet users write in English or Romanized Mandarin. Some terms—like “25th anniversary” and “24 years”—were only blocked temporarily, during a period of particularly heavy use, and may be allowed online today.

ChineseEnglish
反官倒oppose official profiteering
youxingdemonstration
上街take to the streets
move
宣言declaration
movement
绝食书Hunger Strike Declaration
学潮student strike
示威demonstrate
罢课潮wave of student strikes
暴动insurrection
民运democracy movement
游行march
26years26years
26周年26th anniversary
26年26 years
二十六周年twenty-sixth anniversary
二十六年twenty-six years
廿五周年twenty-fifth anniversary
25years25years
25年25 years
二十五年twenty-five years
25周年25th anniversary
25周年纪念25th anniversary commemoration
anniversaryanniversary
24年24 years
二十四twenty-four
二十四周年twenty-fourth anniversary
24周年24th anniversary
二十三twenty-three
周年anniversary
廿三twenty-three
22周年22nd anniversary
十二个春秋twenty springs and autumns
历史的伤口History’s Wound
天安门情人Tiananmen Lovers
缅怀honor the memory of
致敬pay respects
祭奠memorial ceremony
晚会evening event
勿忘never forget
悼念mourn
毋忘never forget
ceremony
纪念commemorate
追思recall
默哀silent tribute
平反redress
426+四二六社论426 + four two six editorial
四二六社论four two six editorial
June 4June 4
屠杀+四massacre + four
535May 35 (May 31 plus four days, or June 4)
6+si6+si (si meaning “four”)
631日631 day
6four6four
8jiu8jiu (jiu meaning “nine” for ’89)
liu4liu4 (liu meaning “six” for 64)
six4six4
陆+肆six + four
6+46+4
8的平方8-squared (which is 64)
春夏之交when spring becomes summer
这一天this day
五月三十五May Thirty-five (May 31 plus four days, or June 4)
四+开枪four+open fire
64+屠杀64+massacre
64+开枪64+open fire
8989
64+2464+24 (24 denotes the anniversary)
viivviiv (Roman numerals 6 and 4)
八的平方square of eight
己巳月+乙未日Jisi month+Yiwei day (1989 and 2015 as expressed in the Chinese sexagenary cycle)
hk64hk64 (Hong Kong 64)
特殊的日子special day
那天that day
3535 (May 31 plus four days, or June 4)
63+163+1
65-165-1
6四6 four
Jun+4thJun+4th
junejune
six+foursix+four
six四six four
八八eight eight
六+四six+four
六4six 4
陆四six four
明天tomorrow
昨天yesterday
那年that year
今天today
44
66
88
99
2323 (during the year of the 23rd anniversary)
eighteight
fourfour
ninenine
sixsix
三十五thirty-five (May 31 plus four days, or June 4)
nine
eight
six
four
eight
nine
four
six
五四+一个月May Fourth + one month
玖捌nine eight
bajiubajiu
liusiliusi (liu meaning “six”, si meaning “four”)
liu四liu four (liu meaning “six”)
八玖eight nine (the second character is pronounced the same as “nine” but is a different character)
刘四Liu four (the first character is pronounced the same as “six,” but is a different character)
捌九eight nine (using a classical form of the character for “eight”)
一九八四nineteen eighty-nine
19891989
89648964
5月35日May 35th (May 31 plus four days, or June 4)
8×88×8
八九eight nine
六四six four
六肆six four
陆肆six four
64事件64 incident
64学潮64 student strike
64学运64 student movement
64运动64 movement
六四事件Six-Four Incident
六四学潮Six-Four student strike
六四运动June Fourth Movement
六四学运Six-Four student movement
89+动乱89+unrest
89事件89 incident
89学潮89 student strike
89学运89 student movement
89民运89 people’s movement
89运动89 movement
八九学潮Eighty-Nine campus strike
八九学运Eighty-Nine student movement
八九民运Eighty-Nine democracy movement
八九运动Eighty-Nine movement
天下围城empire beseiges the city
crush
屠杀massacre
镇压supress
戒严impose martial law
学生+1989student + 1989
改革派reformist
三角政治联盟triangle political alliance
北高联Capital Autonomous Federation of University Students
高自联Capital Autonomous Federation of University Students
黄雀行动Operation Yellowbird
学联student federation
天安门母亲Tiananmen Mothers
学运student movement
天安门母亲运动Tiananmen Mothers movement
Jonathan Mirsky+网站Jonathan Mirsky+website
全民倒共all the people topple communism
马云+64Jack Ma+64
马云+89Jack Ma+89
马云+八九Jack Ma+Eight Nine
马云+六四Jack Ma+Six Four
不适宜对外公开inappropriate for the public
敏感词sensitive word
烛光candlelight
网络封锁Internet block
蜡烛candle
主义-ism
小秘书Little Secretary
推特Twitter
government
people
fire
candle
自治autonomous
blood
黑衣black clothes
学生领袖student leader
祖国母亲mothers of the motherland
广场上的热血hot blood on the square
广场上的血blood on the square
tank mantank man
tanktank
tǎn (tank)
民主女神Goddess of Democracy
坦克tank
Wu er kai xiWu’erkaixi
习近平+坦克Xi Jinping + tank
习近平+言而无信Xi Jinping + go back on one’s word
邓小平+坦克Deng Xiaoping + tank
周锋锁Zhou Fengsuo (student leader
周封锁Zhou Fengsuo
邓屠夫Butcher Deng (referring to Deng Xiaoping)
习+影帝Xi+movie star
蟹农场Hexie Farm (Hexie meaning “harmonize,” euphemism for censorship)
张先玲Zhang Xianling (poet sympathetic to student movement)
艾晓明Ai Xiaoming (activist)
司徒华Szeto Wah (pro-democracy Hong Kong politician)
鲍朴Bao Pu (activist)
耀邦(Hu) Yaobang (party leader who died shortly before Tiananment massacre)
胡总书记Secretary-General Hu (Yaobang)
胡赵Hu Zhao
严家其Yan Jiaqi (political dissident)
北岛Bei Dao (poet whose work was taken up by protesters)
国家安全沙皇national security czar
翟伟民Zhai Weimin (student leader)
袁木Yuan Mu (state council spokeswoman who met with students)
邓力群Deng Liqun (leading Communist Party theorist)
陈子明Chen Ziming (political dissident)
韩东方Han Dongfang (workers’ rights activist)
励之(Fang) Lizhi (physicist and pro-democracy activist)
方lizhiFang lizhi (physicist and pro-democracy activist)
方校长[University] President Fang (referring to Fang Lizhi)
li长春li Changchun (party leader during the protests)
封从德Feng Congde (student leader)
月月鸟Moon Moon Bird [Li] (referring to Li Peng, premier during 1989)
lichangchunlichangchun (party leader during the protests)
乌尔Wu’er (Wu’erkaixi, political dissident)
方励之Fang Lizhi (physicist and pro-democracy activist)
丁子霖Ding Zilin (leader of pro-democracy group Tiananmen Mothers)
坦克人Tank Man (referring to the famous photo)
江泽民Jiang Zemin (party secretary following the massacre)
胡耀邦Hu Yaobang (party leader who died shortly before Tiananment massacre)
吾尔开希Wu’erkaixi (political dissident)
李鹏Li Peng (premier during 1989)
柴玲Chai Ling (student leader)
王丹Wang Dan (student leader)
紫阳(Zhao) Ziyang (premier until 1987)
赵总理Prime Minister Zhao
赵紫阳Zhao Ziyang
魏京生Wei Jingsheng (human rights activist)
占占点[pictographic: tanks rolling over person]
占点占[pictographic: tanks rolling over person]
占占人[pictographic: tanks rolling over person]
北京+暴力恐怖Beijing + violence and terror
天安门+举牌Tiananmen + hold up a sign
天an门Tiananmen
TAMTAM (Chinese acronym for Tiananmen)
tiananmentiananmen
广场public square
金水桥Jinshuiqiao (bridge near Tiananmen Square)
长安街Changan Avenue (street where the infamous “tank” photo took place)
维园+晚会Victoria Park+evening event
公主坟Gongzhufen (area of Beijing)
公园(Victoria) park
北京屠城massacre of Beijing
木樨地Muxidi (neighborhood of Beijing)
维园Victoria Park
京城+戒严capital + impose martial law
北京+戒严Beijing + impose martial law
squaresquare
天安门Tiananmen
上证Shanghai Composite (after the stock market dropped 64.89 points)
下跌fall [of price]
指数index
收盘closing quotation [in stock market]
股市stock market