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Tiananmen Square Group Says Government Hints at Compensation

Ding Zilin, leader of The Tiananmen Mothers (file photo)

Ding Zilin, leader of The Tiananmen Mothers (file photo)

A victims' rights group says Chinese authorities have for the first time raised the possibility of offering financial compensation to the families of individuals who died in the 1989 crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

The group known as Tiananmen Mothers said in an open letter Tuesday that after 16 years of appeals to the government, "the silence was finally broken."

The letter, released ahead of the June 4 anniversary of the crackdown, said a single family was approached twice this year to inquire what sort of compensation might be appropriate.

However the group said authorities still have not responded to its two other main demands, for a formal apology for the shooting and a public accounting of who was responsible.

Estimates range from several hundred to several thousand people who were killed when security forces used guns and tanks to end six weeks of pro-democracy protests in the square.

This year's letter from the Tiananmen Mothers says the group has identified 203 people who were killed, but that there were many more.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.