This recording comes from the PEN America Archives. Consisting of over 1800 hours of audio and video material, the PEN America Archives showcase the intersection of literature and free expression through the voices of some of the most prominent writers, intellectuals, and activists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and in collaboration with Princeton University, the archives not only illustrate the institutional trajectory of PEN America, but also highlight the voices and words of poets, essayists, novelists, and others who resist the infringement of free expression. The entirety of the PEN America Archives will be made available online to the public this summer.

On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops opened fire on civilians demonstrating in Tiananmen Square, killing an unknown number of citizens. On the anniversary of this massacre, we share two recordings from the PEN America Archives that come from that year. In the first, Chinese poet Duo Duo recalls the massacre, for which he was present, at the PEN America event “Literature and Human Rights in China.” In the second, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei discusses art and culture in China four months after the massacre at the PEN America event “Voices from China.”

Chinese Poet Duo Duo on Tiananmen Square:

Ai Weiwei on Art and Culture: