News / Asia

    US Urges China to Free Critics Detained Before Tiananmen Anniversary

    Chinese students link arms in solidarity at dawn in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, April 22, 1989.
    Chinese students link arms in solidarity at dawn in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, April 22, 1989.
    VOA News
    The United States is urging China to free government critics detained or placed under house arrest in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
     
    State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf Tuesday said China is a growing country and should allow for more political discussion, especially before such a historical anniversary as the June 4 Tiananmen Square incident.
     
    Dozens of activists, journalists and lawyers were detained or placed under house arrest ahead of the anniversary of China's violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in 1989.
     
    On Tuesday, China defended its detention of the critics as "lawful."
     
    When asked why China was doing so, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said his country is acting according to the law.
     
    "In China, there are only law breakers - there are no so-called dissidents. The relevant departments of the Chinese government act according to the law. China's legal authority should be respected," said Hong.
    • Remember June Fourth commemoration speaker Wang Dan, one of the most prominent of the Tiananmen Square student leaders, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth commemoration host Bei Ming, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth commemoration speaker Makino Seishu, former Japanese congressman and Chairman of Global Support for China and Asia democratization, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth memorial concert sung by Diva Damian Yumei, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth memorial prayer delivered by Pastor Gordon J. Schultz, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth commemoration speaker Yang Jianli, founder of human rights organization Initiatives for China, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth memorial prayer given by Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014.
    • Remember June Fourth vigil calling for the release of political dissidents, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth memorial site No. 3, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth memorial site No. 1, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth memorial site No. 2, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
    • Remember June Fourth commemoration speaker, Chen Qinglin, former Tiananmen Square student leader, Washington, DC, June 1, 2014. (ZhiYuan/VOA)
     
    Harsher than usual

    It has become an annual tradition for Beijing to round up activists ahead of the sensitive anniversary, but this year the crackdown has been harsher than usual.
     
    The latest to be held is Chinese-born Australian artist Guo Jian, who was taken away by police Sunday night, just after the Financial Times published an interview with him.
     
    China does not allow public discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, in which many hundreds, possibly even thousands, of protesters were killed by Chinese soldiers.
     
    An official death toll has never been released.
     
    Hong, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said China "long ago reached a conclusion" about the incident.

    Security was tighter than usual in Beijing on the eve of the anniversary Tuesday, with expanded police patrols and security checkpoints throughout the city.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: john from: san francisco, ca usa
    June 04, 2014 2:08 PM
    China's June 4th amnesia makes Tiananmen all the more compelling as a symbol of their Big Brotherly love. With "May 35," "Big Yellow Duck" and the like now taboo in China, we offer this tribute to 25 years of creative resistance in Beijing and beyond: http://www.fizzdom.com/blog/just-ducky-in-tiananmen-square

    by: Young thing from: nowhere
    June 03, 2014 9:58 PM
    Dictatorship + Super Power = Fascism

    Where people can determine their fate
    In Response

    by: Young thing from: nowhere
    June 03, 2014 11:08 PM
    Dictatorship + Super Power = Fascism

    Where people CANNOT determine their fate. :P

    by: Freedom_is_not_free from: USA
    June 03, 2014 3:25 PM
    China clamps down on Google ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/03/technology/google-china/index.html?iid=HP_LN

    Google has run afoul of the Chinese government once again.

    Authorities in Beijing restricted access to Google (GOOGL) services this week, according to Chinese censorship watchdog GreatFire.org, rendering the search engine as well as products like Gmail and Google Calendar inaccessible to millions of Internet users.

    "We've checked extensively and there are no technical problems on our side," a Google spokeswoman said.

    The move came ahead of the 25th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, discussion of which is still strictly censored by the Chinese government.

    Google isn't completely blocked in China: Some Chinese residents have still been able to reach Google services, according to the company's public data, but total traffic has dropped in recent days.

    Related: Banned! 7 things you won't find in China

    Services like Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Google-owned YouTube, meanwhile, have long been completely blocked by the government.

    Google has tangled with Beijing on a number of occasions over censorship issues. The site and all its major services were blocked back in 2012 as the Communist Party met for its once-a-decade gathering to appoint new leaders.

    In January 2010, Google threatened to shut down its Chinese search site at Google.cn, citing censorship rules and the discovery of a cyber attack on its network infrastructure. Two months later, the company said it would stop censoring searches on Google.cn and automatically redirect Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong site.

    The Hong Kong site and other international Google portals have been restricted in China during this latest disruption, GreatFire said.

    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    June 03, 2014 12:02 PM
    The Chinese Communist Party is trying to wipe out a page of Chinese history b/c they are embarrassed and afraid. The CCP doesn't want its people knowing what really happened on 6/4/89 when thousands of PLA troops attacked & killed unarmed Chinese demonstrators. The CCP is afraid of the truth so the censor the Internet & media and block any information to its people about the Tiananmen Massacre. That is why VOA is blocked in China as well as any website or news story that does not comport w/ the Party line on 6/4/89. But many Chinese people were there and they remember & will never forget the atrocities the PLA & the CCP committed that day against the Chinese people. Democracy for China now!

    by: jonathan huang from: canada
    June 03, 2014 10:06 AM
    VOA should stop telling lies! I was in China when this tiananmen incident happened. at that time I was a big fan of VOA, and I eagered to know outside. I was listening to VOA every night of course, I was also watching CCTV, since CCTV was supporting the students since the beginning. I still support those students who were asking for a better china. Me myself was a student at that time. But the truce is that, we students were naive, we were used by some evil groups which only want china weak. there were thugs mixed in students, they started to kill PLA soldiers. thugs hung soldiers, burned their bodies, cut their bodies up.

    it was not a peaceful demonstration anymore, it became a riot. the communist did everything it should to protect the security of majority by cracking it down.
    I am so glad the communist made the right decision! so china was not like what happens in Ukraine now. China is stable, growing fast under the lead of the communist! I hope the communist can keep the good job for another 30 years until realize our chinese dream! we, the oversea chinese will always support china. I hope more and more chinese will come study in canada, its a beautiful country and ppl are friendly to chinese. most important canada government is not like american government which is messing up the whole world, brings chaos everywhere. canada government is trying to cooperate with china to build a positive relationship. I, a canadian chinese will do my best to contribute to both countries! and as a connection to bring these two beautiful countries closer!
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    June 03, 2014 11:59 AM
    Comrade Huang is just another CCP cadre or 50 Cent member paid to present the CCP's views on China, human rights, Tibet, Taiwan & East Turkestan (Xinjiang). His views are nearly 100% consistent w/ the Central Govt Party line. The CCP has no credibility as it tries to wipe out any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre and neither do its Internet propaganda agents.
    In Response

    by: hai lua from: USA
    June 03, 2014 11:50 AM
    jonathan huang, why your are not in China? Why you are in Canada? The best way to express your self is stay in China.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 03, 2014 11:44 AM
    IF there is peace in China now, the communist crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests was the right thing to do? ---

    IF the US, EU, and other NATO countries had been allowed to interfere in the politics and protests in Tiananmen Square, the violence, deaths, destruction and war would still be going on, like in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and now Ukraine?
    In Response

    by: Freedom_is_not_free from: USA
    June 03, 2014 11:31 AM
    Hi! Jonathan,

    If your Communist China government is so great, why do you live and study over there but came to Canada? Don't forgot Canada government is supporting Ukraine sovereignty not like China government supports Russian invasion. Please do not compare Canada government to your lovely China government. It looks like comparing Jesus to Satan. Also please do not steal

    Canada technology to send back to China. It is a crime in Canada. If you want better China, remove your communist government. You see Taiwan, small island but has strong economic and innovations. Why? Because of democracy. Why Chinese people oversea including Hong Kong can demonstrations but not in China? Show me one example of innovation came from China? I seldom agree with Biden on his liberal foreign policy but must agree with his comment.

    by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
    June 03, 2014 8:02 AM
    Chinese people with a lot of good sense, in a league of their own, bring CCP’s totalitarian system to an end.

    by: Rick from: Durham, North Carolina
    June 03, 2014 7:37 AM
    The Chinese people need to "crackback" on their oligarchic government that so enjoys cracking down on its people.

    by: Hoa Minh Truong from: western Australia
    June 03, 2014 7:14 AM
    The China communist regime couldn't escape the critics of Tiananmen square's massacre. It is the most bloodshed event in the world, also it is the black spot eve in Chinese history. The China great communist founder Mao Ste Tung who killed 65 million people, then he was promoted as angel from its party;

    Moreover, the Maoist movement has raised the crime more than Al Qaeda, the Maoist spread world wide at Philippine, India, Nepal, south America...however the democratic countries, mostly the powerful nations ignore the crimes of them, nevertheless, when the democratic leaders visit Beijing, they often pay the respect at Mao's portrait, indeed Mao is the number one massacre on 20th century ( The media Polska in Poland on May 3, 2013 released the information about 13 massacre)

    by: Schneider from: B.R.Deutschland
    June 03, 2014 4:23 AM
    What? The current wave of detentions is harsher than in recent years? Do PRC leaders still repressing their nationals concerning Tienanmen incident? Do Chinese contributors such as Jonathan Huang from Canada and the like still support PRC? Poor Chinese people!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous from: Alpha Centari
    June 04, 2014 12:36 AM
    The thing about the Internets is that you will never know who or where the commenter is. I could be a man. I could be a woman. I could even be a horse.

    Only the CCP and those who get paid by the CCP would openly say good things about the CCP. Like the rest of us, those who have no place in politics don't care as long as we get fed, feel safe, and have an opportunity to achieve what we desire.
    In Response

    by: russel from: China
    June 03, 2014 11:02 PM
    yeah, some watchdogs are definitely poor.
    In Response

    by: haha from: China
    June 03, 2014 9:45 PM
    POOR??? I'm the people living in China since I was born. I love my country, I support the Chinese communist. Because they changed our life. People in China have a nice live. I don't understand why you say China is not great ,because our country become better, you are jealous of us? you really lived in China? You really understand what Chinese citizen think? How poor you are!
    In Response

    by: Freedom_is_not_free from: USA
    June 03, 2014 1:07 PM
    Dear Schneider,

    Jonathan Huang is just a CCP agent. He was sent to oversea for spying.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora