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China: 1989 Tiananmen Crackdown was Correct

A Chinese spokeswoman is defending the Chinese government's bloody 1989 crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square and says China has taken the correct development path in the 21 years since then.

On June 4, 21 years ago, Chinese government troops moved in to crush a student-led demonstration that had been growing on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were killed -- most of them protesters and other bystanders.

At a regular briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu stressed that the Chinese government has already made what she describes as a "clear conclusion" about the 1989 crackdown.

Jiang says the past few decades have shown that China chose a development path that is, in her words, "suitable for China's national conditions and in the fundamental interest of the Chinese people."

Beijing's official verdict is that the 1989 demonstrations were a part of a counter-revolutionary rebellion. The protesters had been demonstrating for weeks. They were calling for more political openness and decrying corruption.

Bao Tong is the highest-ranking person to have spent time in jail for supporting those in the government who, at the time, wanted to talk to the students, not shoot them. He is 77 years old.

Bao, who spent seven years in prison, says he sees no new developments in the Chinese government that would indicate a change of verdict.

Bao says he is old and does not have the strength to make appeals. But, he says he is happy to see the development of the Internet and calls the advances in information transmission "China's hope."

Wang Dan, who was a prominent student activist in 1989, now lives in exile. From California, he sent out notices for netizens around the world to join in a virtual commemoration ceremony, via Twitter, to grieve for the dead and condemn what he described as "the government murderers."

Twitter is among the websites that are blocked by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, another group, called Tiananmen Mothers, issued what has become an annual open letter to call for a more open accounting of the government's 1989 crackdown. The group is made up of families of the victims.