DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45
A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.
Protest or riot? A comparison of reporting on unrest at Tiananmen Square in 1989 shows how various versions of the news crystallize into historical fact.
Illegal, irresponsible and misleading – that’s what the Chinese authorities have to say in state media about the street protests in Hong Kong that started this September. Western media, on the other hand, are talking about a pro-democracy movement and the catchy phrase “umbrella revolution.” Al-Jazeera wondered out loud whether this former British colony was “headed the same way as Tiananmen Square.” But what exactly happened on that central square in Beijing a quarter of a century ago? What are the possible interpretations of the events of June 4, 1989, when hundreds of people were killed?
The interactive website After 6/4 shows that history is far from objective, especially when it concerns current events unfolding before the eyes of the media. Were the Tiananmen protests spontaneous or the result of a conspiracy? The answer depends on which paper you read. And the same goes for the significance of the so-called Tank Man. Was he the embodiment of courage or a disturbed loner? Navigating along the timeline, the documentary leaps to and fro between the perspectives of Western and Chinese media. Their standpoints gradually take shape and become set in stone. The personal versions told by Chinese people in Hong Kong, Macau and Australia are more ambivalent.
This competition project is part of the DocLab Expo: Immersive Reality presented by IDFA and De Brakke Grond.