Malcolm Turnbull and Xi Jinping shake hands

On the evening of June 3 and early morning of June 4, 1989, the Chinese leadership sent tanks into central Beijing to murder and maim its own citizens rallying for more freedoms; along the way, the hardliners deposed liberal-minded premier Zhao Ziyang and purged many party members in the aftermath.

Prime minister Bob Hawke, in one of his finer moments, stood up. Acting on instinct, he tearfully offered 42,000 Chinese students studying in Australia, at that time, asylum.

On June 4 this year, the 27th anniversary of one of the signal events that shaped the China we know today, the country is less democratic, more authoritarian and, these days, increasingly bleak. This year the current PM said precisely nothing.