News / Asia

China Marks 24th Anniversary of Tiananmen Crackdown

Visitors walk past the plain clothes policemen and paramilitary policemen as they enter Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, June 4, 2013.
Visitors walk past the plain clothes policemen and paramilitary policemen as they enter Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, June 4, 2013.
VOA News
China is marking the 24th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, amid tight security in Beijing and stifling censorship on the web.

Authorities every year work hard to prevent memorials and ban public discussion of the brutal military suppression on June 4, 1989, which ended weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations.

On Friday, police in Tiananmen Square and other prominent areas stood on guard for possible protests. Many activists have already been detained, placed under house arrest, or monitored closely in the lead-up to the sensitive anniversary.

Tiananmen Square, BeijingTiananmen Square, Beijing
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Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Government censors are also working hard to scrub China's social media of any mention of the incident. On the popular, Twitter-like Sina Weibo, searches for all Tiananmen-related terms were blocked. The service even removed a candle icon used by many as a digital vigil.

Attempting to get around the restrictions, many Chinese citizens instead posted pictures of candles, or cynically referred to May 35, rather than June 4 - a search term that is also blocked. Others encouraged people to wear black as a symbol of mourning for the victims of the incident.

In Hong Kong, more than 100,000 people are to attend a candlelight vigil to remember the crackdown. Memorials and protests are held around this time every year in the former British colony, which enjoys a greater degree of civil liberties than on the mainland.

It has been 24 years since Chinese troops, backed by tanks, moved in to crush a student led demonstration centered in Tiananmen Square. The crackdown triggered worldwide condemnation, with estimates of those killed ranging from several hundred to several thousand people.

China still considers the incident a "counter-revolutionary rebellion" and has never admitted any wrongdoing in its handling of the uprising. It has never disclosed an official death toll or other key details on the crackdown, which is not discussed in state media.

Late last month, the U.S. State Department again called on Beijing to "end harassment of those who participated in the protests and fully account for those killed, detained, or missing."

China's foreign ministry responded by saying the statement represented an interference into its internal affairs and warned the issue could "sabotage China-U.S. relations."

Human rights are expected to be discussed later this week during a summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is visiting the western state of California.

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Comments
     
by: Chinese from: New york
June 04, 2013 10:33 AM
I am from China and witnessed the events which we call "six-four." I have to admit that as I learned more world history and expanded my horizons, I have totally changed my mind about the Tiananmen Square protests. Thirty years of 10% economic growth, 650 million people lifted out of poverty, China went from one of the world's poorest countries per capita to economic superpower set to overtake the US in absolute size in 2017. I have had to admit the Communist Party was right; those who wanted to bring it down were wrong.

Look at the alternatives. Mikhail Gorbachev brought political reforms to the Soviet Union. The result was he destroyed the USSR forever (but China is still one country, no matter how hard the West try to split China). Russia adopted democracy. Guess what happened? Russia's economy went into free fall, its economy shrinking by half during the 1990s, and seven well-connected oligarches controlled 50% of Russia.

I look at India, a country that has been a democracy since 1947, and they still have crushing poverty, they are economically far behind. and they are growing slower. Why? In China, when we need to build new roads, new airports, new power plants, our leaders have the power to get it done. In India, just as in America, they argue ad infinitum and get nothing done. Look at the US Congress. America is falling apart. The two parties cannot agree on anything. They fiddle while America burns. In a rich country, 50 million people without health insurance is a disgrace. Yet, when the President tries to do something for the people, look what happens.

China may not be perfect - it is FAR from perfect (you don't need to remind me that). In the long run, AFTER China gets rich (see also the histories of Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore who were capitalist autocracies during their economic rise), maybe China's government should loosen up and allow more political freedoms. I was very pro-democracy when I was younger. I still think it is a great system when implemented in small, rich, ethnically homogeneous countries like those of Scandinavia. But I no longer believe democracy is a panacea for all, nor is it a universal value. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan (both democracies now), and see how they are doing. Democracy is a system like any other with its flaws. It does not guarantee good or bad government. At best, it is a safety valve that allows a country to change its government without violent revolution, but that is about it.

In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
June 06, 2013 4:38 PM
Sounds like this person is yet another member of the 50 Cent Party paid to post pro-CCP proganda on message boards. You're entitled to your opinion but in the US you can express that opinion about the Tiananmen Massacre. Millions of Chinese in China cannot talk about or protest the 6/4 event or read about it in papers or books. There is almost complete censorship of the 6/4 protests in school books & newspapers & online. The Govt should not censor the news or the information & let the Chinese people decide how to judge what happened on 6/4/89. In the West you're free to discuss it but not in mainland China.

In Response

by: lovigo2 from: China
June 05, 2013 9:48 AM
I'm a Chinese.Let's say "No".to west democracy.

In Response

by: Anonymous
June 05, 2013 1:28 AM
I absolutely agree with you!

In Response

by: Anonymous
June 04, 2013 9:34 PM
wu mao?


by: Shravan from: Free world
June 04, 2013 8:58 AM
Development is of no use if u gun down peaceful protesters. Chinese people seem to have learnt to live like slaves of the Communist party.

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