China Rounds Up Activists As the World Remembers Tiananmen Square Massacre
Chinese authorities on Monday detained political activists and placed others under surveillance in the cities of the country in an attempt to contain the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, which occurred in 1989 and claimed the lives of hundreds of people as the Communist regime used the army to crush a pro-democracy revolt.
Chinese government keeps suppressed all mention of the Tiananmen massacre, attempting to prevent even the mere mentioning of the event. The United States on Sunday asked China to release those who were arrested in 1989.
The government in Beijing reacted with “dissatisfaction” to the demand of the American administration that the people who were locked up in 1989 be released. The Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted with “strong dissatisfaction” to what it called the “baseless accusations” of the American administration and interference with the internal affairs of the country.
China has admitted officially that 241 people were killed in Tiananmen and 7,000 were injured. Rights groups on the other hand believe that the number of those who died is likely to have been of thousands. The protests started on April 15 and lasted for seven weeks, during which time the students and other categories in China demanded political reforms, the end of corruption and the freedom of the press.
The United States State Department said that it “encouraged” the Chinese government to release those serving time in prisons for the involvement in the rallies in Tiananmen, to offer a correct account of those who were killed, detained or went missing and to end the continued harassment of those who participated in the demonstrations and their families.
According to the Human Rights Watch about a dozen people are still in prison in China, being charged with attending the protests in Tiananmen. In 1989, the peaceful protest of the students in Tiananmen was carried on in other places of the country, such as Shanghai, Chengdu, and Guangzhou, involving other categories of people.
There was no mention in China of the events on June 4 or the anniversary of the tragic days, and the Twitter users had to use the “May 35th” reference to avoid the governmental censorship. Photos were posted on the internet with the event, and commemorations have been staged in Hong Kong, with the participation of Fang Zheng, a human rights activist who was run over by a tank in Tiananmen Square and lost both his legs in the process.
Blind activist Cheng Guangcheng, who recently escaped China for the United States, wrote a letter in which he was demanding for the truth about June 4, 1989 to be restored. The letter is expected to be read in front of thousands of people in Victoria Park in Hong Kong.11