Collection RBSC-ARC-1785 - Tiananmen Square Collection

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Tiananmen Square Collection

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26 cm of textual records and other media.

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Biographical history

Angela Codina, a Canadian lawyer, was residing in Macau at the time of the Tiananmen Square incident in Beijing in 1989. The Tiananmen Square incident, also called June Fourth incident or 6/4, was a culmination of a series of protests and demonstrations in China in the spring of 1989 that culminated on the night of June 3–4 with a government crackdown on the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Although the demonstrations and their subsequent repression occurred in cities throughout the country, the events in Beijing—and especially in Tiananmen Square, historically linked to such other protests as the May Fourth Movement (1919)—came to symbolize the entire incident. In the midst of this unrest, Codina traveled to Beijing to conduct a series of interviews with the leaders of the uprising. Codina also participated in the Tiananmen Square uprising as a speaker at the gathering there, bringing greetings of solidarity as a Canadian to those who were present.

Custodial history

Angela Codina conducted these interviews of the Tiananmen Square uprising's leaders at the request of Geraldine Bowman and Harry Kopyto. After their creation, the cassette tapes were eventually sent out of the country and restored to Ms. Codina after she left China. Geraldine Bowman accepted and kept custody of the materials from the 1990s onward, during which time she commissioned transcriptions to be made of the recorded interviews. The materials were also briefly in the possession of Marjorie Chan, an actor who referred to them during the process of creating a play about the Tiananmen Square incident. Rare Books and Special Collections acquired the materials from Geraldine Bowman in December 2017. Photographs depicting events at Tiananmen Square that had been in the possession of Harry Kopyto were added to this collection in October 2019.

Scope and content

The collection is made up of 11 cassette tapes containing 12.5 hours of audio, of the interviews that Angela Codina conducted with the leaders of the Tiananmen Square uprising. The collection also consists of the following textual materials: written transcripts that were later made of the interviews (at the behest of Geraldine Bowman); materials for a book written by Angela Codina; newspaper clippings; periodicals and journals; and correspondence. The collection also contains 274 photographic negatives and 448 colour photographs.

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Physical description

26 cm of textual records
11 cassette tapes
274 negatives
448 colour photographs

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Finding aid created by Ashlynn Prasad in April 2018.
Accrual processed by James Goldie in November 2019.

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