In hundreds of hours of coverage of the 1989 demonstrations, the Western media rarely broadcast an interview with a Chinese participant that lasted longer than 15 seconds. The demonstrations remained a "headline story" and a harbinger of the "end of the communist era." Between commercials there was scant time to develop a sense of the personal - the passion, energy, humor, and doubts of the participants. In GATE, it is precisely these aspects that are brought alive.
The principal characters who appear in the film were chosen to represent a range of voices, opinions, and historical experiences: young students and aging intellectuals, dissidents and government officials, workers and teachers, people driven into exile after the movement and people who watched the repression unfold within China. Their collective experiences help to place the 1989 demonstrations within the context of 20th-century popular protest in China, the history of the Communist Revolution, and the particular problems of reform that the Chinese continue to confront.
Read more about the key characters in GATE here:
The Man Against the Tank | Chai Ling | Dai Qing | Ding Zilin | Feng Congde | Ge Yang | Han Dongfang | Hou Dejian
Liang Xiaoyan | Liu Xiaobo | Lü Jinghua | Wang Dan | Wu Guoguang | Wuer Kaixi | Xiang Xiaoji | Zhao Hongliang
This section contains short biographies about both historical and contemporary figures who influenced the 1989 movement in a number of ways. Many of these people are featured in THE GATE OF HEAVENLY PEACE in archival footage. Others who were involved in the events of 1989 but who for various reasons could not be included in the film are also listed.
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