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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs