4 June 1989

Album: The Age Of Miracles (2010)
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  • The song is titled after the date of the Chinese Tiananmen Square massacre, in which more than 1,000 unarmed protesters were killed by government troops in a slaughter that crushed China's emerging pro-democracy movement. While it centers on the event, the song tells more of a personal story. Carpenter explained to Express Night Out: "It was [inspired by] an article in the New York Times during the 20th anniversary week of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It was a profile of an artist in China who was 17 at the time, and he was a soldier in the army. The first verse is his recollections of what it was like to be there - and to be sent in 'imposter's clothes,' when the authorities were trying to infiltrate the protesters. He was haunted by his part in it. He's an artist now in China and he works all the time trying in a way to almost provoke the authorities. They have this game that they play where they allow him to put his work on the Internet for example, and it'll stay up for a day or two, and then all of a sudden it's taken down. The lyric about 'vanishing into the ether' is my sense of it. His story was exceedingly moving to me and I just tried to write about it."
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