Winner 1996

FRONTLINE: The Gate of Heavenly Peace

Frontline/WGBH-TV, Long Bow Group, Independent Television Service

The early months of 1989 will forever be remembered as the “Beijing Spring,” a hope-filled, tension-charged time when students and workers occupied Tiananmen Square. The world watched China struggle with changes demanded in the name of democracy during these pivotal months. But the Chinese government actions on June 4, 1989, transmitted internationally on television, ended, at least for a time, China’s embrace of democratic principles. Over the ensuing six years, producers Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon devoted themselves to meticulous background research into similar student and labor movements in China. They identified, located and interviewed students and workers involved in the events at Tiananmen. In so doing, they gave voice to a wide range of Chinese citizens who participated in the protests and for whom the dream of democracy in China lives on. Most import, The Gate of Heavenly Peace chronicles the 1989 events from a Chinese point of view, providing critical needed context to the history and political attitudes shaping its development, and reflecting the drama, absurdity, heroism, and finally, the tragedy of the period. For creating a deeper understanding of what happened in 1989 and for providing historical and cultural perspectives previously overlooked, a Peabody to the Long Bow Group, Inc., Frontline/WGBH-TV and the Independent Television Service, for The Gate of Heavenly Peace.