News / Asia

US Urges China to Free Tiananmen Protesters

A boy runs on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 3, 2012, on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of China's brutal crackdown on democracy protests.A boy runs on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 3, 2012, on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of China's brutal crackdown on democracy protests.
x
A boy runs on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 3, 2012, on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of China's brutal crackdown on democracy protests.
A boy runs on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 3, 2012, on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of China's brutal crackdown on democracy protests.
VOA News

The United States has called on authorities in China to release all prisoners who are still being held for their participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and do more to protect the universal human rights of its citizens.

 

In a State Department statement Sunday, deputy spokesman Mark Toner, said the U.S. also encouraged China to provide a full accounting of all of those killed, detained or missing during the violent suppression of the demonstrations. It also called for an end to what it described as the continued harassment of participants in the protests and their families.

 

On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops backed by tanks moved in to crush a student led demonstration centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The crackdown triggered worldwide condemnation and estimates of those killed range 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. The topic is banned from state media and while the subject is taboo in China, some activists have gathered to mark the anniversary.

 

The overseas dissident website www.molihua.org which in Chinese  means Jasmine, recently urged those who are opposed to the crackdown to dress in black and "stroll" in public places in China on June 3 and 4th to mark the anniversary.

 

Hu Ping, the chief editor of Beijing Spring, a Chinese-language magazine that focuses on the promotion of human rights, democracy and social justice in China.  He says that one of the lessons he learned from the Tiananmen protests was that popular social movements need to have the capability to push ahead at times and pack up when necessary. 

 

If not, he said, they are like a car with only a gas pedal and no brakes.

 

“China’s authoritarian rule is a reality and it’s under that reality that protests take place there. The only thing that we can do to improve social movements is look to ourselves and find what works and what does not. Although China is a very different place now than it was 23 years ago, the question of how one can make social movements, street protests, or any other type of social movement more effective is one we continue to face," he said. 

 

Wang Dan, a student leader during the Tiananmen protests, marked the anniversary of the crackdown on Saturday, along with Hu Ping and other well Chinese activists. Wang says that if something similar were to take place in China again, more support from within the Communist Party is needed. 

 

"When we were students, when we launched the student movement, we really wanted the movement to be very pure, we didn't want any interference. But I think this is a lesson we should learn. Next time, if we have a second chance, I think we need more cooperation with insiders, with reformers inside the Communist Party. That's very important," he said. 

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs