News / Asia

Security Crackdown Takes Place in Beijing on Tiananmen Anniversary

Despite Government Efforts to Silence Tiananmen, Demands Lingeri
X
May 29, 2014 1:14 PM
It's been 25 years since China's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. China's leadership has taken great steps to silence any discussion of the events of 1989, the massive protest rallies that took place that spring in Beijing and other cities and the bloody crackdown that followed. Even so, the demands of the students and citizens who poured out onto the streets at that time have not gone away. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Watch related video report by VOA's Bill Ide.
VOA News
Police filled Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the deadly crackdown of student-led demonstrations there.
 
Watchful Chinese security forces, both uniformed and plain-clothed, checked identifications of passersby and kept journalists from reporting in the square.
 
China has never given a full account of the June 3-4, 1989 incident, when soldiers killed hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protesters.
 
Beijing allows no public discussion on the massacre and has gone to impressive lengths to erase the nation's collective memory of the incident.
 
The White House on Wednesday urged China to account for those killed, detained, or missing in connection with the crackdown.
 
The statement said the United States "will always speak out in support of the basic freedoms the protesters at Tiananmen Square sought."
 
Washington has also demanded Beijing free the dozens of government critics detained or placed under house arrest ahead of the anniversary.
 
A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry defended the detentions Tuesday, saying China was only punishing "law breakers," and not "dissidents."
 
The Foreign Ministry also defended the 1989 crackdown, saying China has "long ago" reached a conclusion about the incident. It instead focused on China's rapid economic development since then.
 
Shen Tong was a third year student at Beijing University when the massacre happened. He told VOA that at the time, he did not expect Chinese troops to kill civilians.
 
"It's one of those things that the day before you think is impossible, the day after it becomes inevitable. So in some larger sense, I would say nobody predicted that. But then when the moment actually was upon us, all the factors before that seemed to lead to that inevitable outcome," said Shen.
 
Shen, who was forced to leave China for his safety following the crackdown, said the incident represents a missed opportunity for the Communist Party to be more open to the will of the people.
 
"China could have gone onto a more balanced development instead of embracing this unbalanced, full embrace of materialism, which now eventually led to the breakdown of moral and social fabrics in China," said Shen.

The 1989 demonstrations included Chinese citizens from all walks of life, including some members of the Communist Party. Many were expressing frustration at a lack of freedom of speech, rising inequality, and rampant official corruption.

Although discussions on the Beijing massacre are taboo in mainland China, tens of thousands are expected to turn out late Wednesday for a candlelit vigil in the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.

Memorials and Protests for the Tiananmen Anniversary
 
  • A woman closes her eyes as she joins tens of thousands of people attending a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 4, 2014.
  • Tens of thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 4, 2014.
  • Tens of thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 4, 2014.
  • Tens of thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 4, 2014.
  • A protester wears a T-shirt with a tank during a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, June 4, 2014.
  • A protester holds a model of a tank covered with red paint to represent blood during a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 4, 2014.
  • A protester holds a banner with others and shouts slogans in front of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, June 4, 2014.
  • A demonstrator shows a letter of protest before dropping it into the mailbox of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, June 4, 2014.
  • A shopper in Hong Kong stands in front of a model tank made by university students to remember the crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 3, 2014.
  • A woman looks at photos at a memorial in Washington for the crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 3, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)
  • Speakers address the crowd at a memorial in Washington for the crackdown in Tiananmen Square, June 3, 2014. (Zhi Yuan/VOA)

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More