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    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘June 4’ Category

Significant jump of China’s censorship capabilities before the Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre

Posted by Author on June 1, 2013


Beginning early Friday morning, users of Sina Corp.’s massively popular Weibo microblog were able to search for information about one of the most sensitive incidents in recent Chinese history: the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

In a serious shift of censorship tactics just days ahead of the anniversary of the government’s bloody June 4, 1989 crackdown on protestors in Tiananmen, Sina appears to have begun to allow searches for terms associated with the highly sensitive event. But instead of turning up content related to the incident, searches yield results that have nothing to do with the protests or the government’s heavy-handed response. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, June 4, News, Politics, Special day, Technology, World | Comments Off on Significant jump of China’s censorship capabilities before the Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre

How some top Chinese military generals refused to lead tank troops to Tiananmen Square during the June 4 crackdown

Posted by Author on June 5, 2010


JOHN GARNAUT,  Sydney Morning Herald CORRESPONDENT, June 4, 2010 –

BEIJING:  In May 1989 the talented commander of the legendary 38th Army, Lieutenant General Xu Qinxian, defied an order from the paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, to lead his troops to Beijing.

General Xu took no part in the subsequent killing of hundreds of protesters around Tiananmen Square, which is now quietly referred to in China simply as ”June 4” and remains the worst incident of direct military violence against Chinese people in the People’s Republic’s 60-year history. The bloodshed split the People’s Liberation Army as it did the Communist Party and the country. ”The case of General Xu is representative of the dissenting voice within the military,” said Warren Sun, an authority at Monash University on the Communist Party’s internal history . ”Deng held a real fear of a possible military coup,” he said.

The killings around Tiananmen continue to taint the legacies of the party elders who ordered them, led by Deng, and it weighs on the generation of mainly conservative leaders whose careers advanced because their more moderate colleagues were purged or sidelined at the time.

Those internal wounds are still raw, as demonstrated by the effort that the party and PLA have exerted to ensure today’s 21st anniversary will pass without any public mention within China.

But acts of courageous defiance are kept alive by military and party veterans in private conversations and overseas Chinese language publications, in the belief or hope that those who refused to spill blood in 1989 will one day be acknowledged as heroes.

Around May 20, 1989, General Zhou Yibing, commander of the Beijing Military District, had couriered the marching orders to General Xu’s barracks in Baoding, south of Beijing. ”When he was ordered to march into the square, Xu asked a series of questions,” said a serving general in the People’s Liberation Army, answering queries from the Herald which were relayed via a close associate.

”He asked if there was an order from … Zhao Ziyang,” said the serving PLA general, referring to the Communist Party boss who had already been sidelined because of his opposition to the use of force. The answer was no and ”Xu then refused to march.”

General Xu is the best known conscientious objector but not the only one.

On some accounts, General Xu’s mentor, Qin Jiwei, who was then defence minister and a member of the politburo, attempted to forge an alliance with Zhao to oppose martial law. Zhao was purged and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

“He was ordered to implement martial law [after a meeting at Deng’s home on May 17] but he refused, saying he needed party authority,” said a prominent scholar, whose father had served under Qin. “Qin called Zhao’s office and waited for four hours until 2.30 in the morning to receive Zhao’s return phone call overruling Deng Xiaoping … but the call never came.”

There has been no public corroboration of this account by Zhao or those close to him.

The serving PLA general who responded to the Herald’s questions about General Xu also pointed to the case of He Yanran, commander of the 28th Army.

”[General] He was also court-martialled because his armoured personnel carriers and trucks were burned down by angry onlookers and he refused to disperse them,” said the serving general, through the mutual acquaintance.

General Xu was jailed for five years and is believed to be living a quiet life in occasional contact with reform-minded friends. General Qin later maintained a strong public show of support for the crackdown but was nevertheless deprived of his former power until his death in 1997. General He was demoted.

Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in Beijing, China, Communist Party, history, June 4, military, News, Official, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on How some top Chinese military generals refused to lead tank troops to Tiananmen Square during the June 4 crackdown

Deng Xiaoping said Tiananmen Square need to “spill some blood” during the June 4 massacre– Former Chinese Premier’s diary claims

Posted by Author on June 5, 2010


By Peter Foster in Beijing, The Telegraph, UK, 04 Jun 2010 –

The phrase, attributed to China’s then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, appears in a previously suppressed diary which publishers say will lift the veil of secrecy over how the decision was made to send in the tanks on the night of June 3-4.

Leaked extracts of the diary said to be by Li Peng, the hardline former head of China’s government in 1989 who is most deeply associated with the bloody crackdown, appeared yesterday as dissidents commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square.

“The measures for martial law must be steady-handed, and we must minimise harm, but we must prepare to spill some blood,” Deng told officials on May 19 1989, according to a copy of the manuscript.

Mr Li, now 81 and reportedly in frail health, is said to have written his diary to justify his own role in the killings and to counter long-standing beliefs in China that it he pressured Deng Xiaoping into ordering the use of lethal force.

“From the beginning of the turmoil, I have prepared for the worst,” Mr Li is quoted as saying.

“I would rather sacrifice my own life and that of my family to prevent China from going through a tragedy like the Cultural Revolution,” he added, referring to a period of bitter political in-fighting in China from 1966-76.

The memoirs come a year after the publication of the secret memoirs of Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party general secretary, who Premier Li helped push from office for seeking to negotiate with the protestors…..(more details from telegraph.co.uk)

Posted in Beijing, China, Human Rights, June 4, News, Official, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | 1 Comment »

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing politician in a rare attack on China over Tiananmen massacre

Posted by Author on June 5, 2010


By Tom Mitchell and Gideon Rachman in Hong Kong, The Financial Times, June 5 2010 –

The founder of Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing political party has spoken out against the Chinese government in a rare criticism of the brutal military crackdown that squashed demonstrations in 1989.

Tsang Yok-sing is usually one of the Chinese communist party’s staunchest defenders in Hong Kong , and his Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong – known as DAB – provides an important block of loyalist support in the territory’s legislature.

But in unprecedented remarks, Mr Tsang occasionally struggled to contain his emotions as he recalled the bloody events in China’s capital 21 years ago. “Everyone was shocked. If anything, being pro-Beijing we thought we understood the [Chinese] government so well,” he told the Financial Times. “We never believed a government we so trusted would turn its troops against the people.”

Mr Tsang, who also serves as president of the territory’s legislature, was speaking hours before more than 150,000 people gathered to mark the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre at an annual candlelight vigil.

Governed as a largely autonomous special administrative region where civil freedoms are still protected, Hong Kong is the only place in the People’s Republic of China where the victims of Tiananmen are openly mourned . Last year the memoirs of Zhao Ziyang , the former party general secretary who opposed the bloody crackdown on student protesters in 1989, were published posthumously in Hong Kong.

Bao Pu, who edited Zhao’s memoirs, said yesterday that he had obtained a rival account of Tiananmen penned by Li Peng, Mr Zhao’s hard-line adversary. In his account, Mr Li stands by the government’s decision to crush the mass protests by ordering the People’s Liberation Army to launch a violent assault.

Mr Tsang was the principal at a “patriotic” school in Hong Kong as the Tiananmen Square protests gathered pace in the spring of 1989. The massacre shocked the schools’ teachers and students who, Mr Tsang remembered, wept at the news. “It is difficult, it is difficult,” he said. “If you asked me has time changed these emotions we had right after the event, I would say no.”

“Long long ago I told myself the best way to commemorate June 4 – and make sure those who sacrificed their lives did not do so in vain – is to do what I can to help my country, within Hong Kong, to become more liberal-democratic,” Mr Tsang added……. (more details from The Financial Times)

Posted in Beijing, China, Hong kong, Human Rights, Incident, June 4, Killing, News, Official, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing politician in a rare attack on China over Tiananmen massacre

(Photos) 150,000 Chinese gathered in Hong Kong Marking the 21st anniversary of Beijing Tiananmen Square massacre

Posted by Author on June 4, 2010


On June 4, 2010, more than 150,000 people gathered in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park marking the 21st anniversary of Beijing Tiananmen Square massacre.

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre (1)

Hong Kong vigil 2010 for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre (2)

Hong Kong vigil 2010 for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre (3)

On the way to Victoria Park vigil for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Hong Kong vigil 2010 in Victoria Park for June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

(Photos credit to The Epochtimes)

Posted in Asia, China, Event, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, memorial, News, People, Photo, Politics, Social, Special day, World | Comments Off on (Photos) 150,000 Chinese gathered in Hong Kong Marking the 21st anniversary of Beijing Tiananmen Square massacre

(video) Tank Man– Courage that Inspires Not Only Chinese

Posted by Author on June 3, 2010


Captured by Western photographers watching nearby, this confrontation on June 5, 1989 (in Beijing, China) became an icon for the fight for freedom around the world.

Related:
Videos: Tiananmen Square Massacre 18 Years Ago in China

Posted in Beijing, China, Human Rights, June 4, military, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, Video, World | Comments Off on (video) Tank Man– Courage that Inspires Not Only Chinese

Tank Cartoon Censored before Anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square Crackdown (photos)

Posted by Author on June 3, 2010


By Madeline Earp / CPJ Asia Research Associate, June 3, 2010 –

Tank Cartoon published on Southern Metropolis Daily

Twenty-one years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, China’s censors are still working to purge public discourse about the tragic events of June 4, 1989. But some Chinese Web users clearly have a healthy appetite for such a debate and are willing to circumvent the government censors.

A cartoon that alludes to Friday’s anniversary of the crackdown on student-led protests around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square has been circulating on overseas Web sites after it was deleted from the Chinese Internet, according to international news reports.

The Guangzhou-based Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily)— a state-owned but assertive news outlet—published the image of a boy drawing a soldier and a row of tanks on a blackboard as one of a series of cartoons marking International Children’s Day on June 1. It appeared in print as well as online, according to the BBC, but was later removed from the news outlet’s Web site.

The BBC’s Chinese-language service highlights why the cartoon drew the

Tank Man

censors’ attention, reproducing it alongside the memorable “tank man” photograph from the crackdown in which a protester confronts government troops. A torch— like the one held by the Goddess of Democracy statue that protesters erected in Tiananmen Square—appears alongside the tanks on the child’s blackboard. The blackboard has the headline, “School Newspaper.”

Some details about the cartoon remain obscure, such as the date on the blackboard, May 1985. But the cartoon, credited to Xiang Ma, appears to be a clear reference to Tiananmen, an event so taboo that journalist Shi Tao is serving a 10-year prison term simply for e-mailing to overseas sources the government’s propaganda department instructions on coverage of the anniversary. After Shi sent the directive to overseas Web sites in 2004, the government classified the propaganda instructions a state secret.

CPJ.org

Related:
Videos: Tiananmen Square Massacre 18 Years Ago in China

Posted in Beijing, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, June 4, Media, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Tank Cartoon Censored before Anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square Crackdown (photos)

China Says The Bloody Crackdown in 1989 on Beijing Tiananmen Square Was Correct

Posted by Author on June 3, 2010


Stephanie Ho | Beijing, VOA News, 03 June 2010 –

A Chinese spokeswoman is defending the Chinese government’s bloody 1989 crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square and says China has taken the correct development path in the 21 years since then.

On June 4, 21 years ago, Chinese government troops moved in to crush a student-led demonstration that had been growing on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were killed — most of them protesters and other bystanders.

At a regular briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu stressed that the Chinese government has already made what she describes as a “clear conclusion” about the 1989 crackdown.

Jiang says the past few decades have shown that China chose a development path that is, in her words, “suitable for China’s national conditions and in the fundamental interest of the Chinese people.”

Beijing’s official verdict is that the 1989 demonstrations were a part of a counter-revolutionary rebellion.  The protesters had been demonstrating for weeks.  They were calling for more political openness and decrying corruption.

Bao Tong is the highest-ranking person to have spent time in jail for supporting those in the government who, at the time, wanted to talk to the students, not shoot them.  He is 77 years old.

Bao, who spent seven years in prison, says he sees no new developments in the Chinese government that would indicate a change of verdict.

Bao says he is old and does not have the strength to make appeals.  But, he says he is happy to see the development of the Internet and calls the advances in information transmission “China’s hope.”

Wang Dan, who was a prominent student activist in 1989, now lives in exile.  From California, he sent out notices for netizens around the world to join in a virtual commemoration ceremony, via Twitter, to grieve for the dead and condemn what he described as “the government murderers.”

Twitter is among the websites that are blocked by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, another group, called Tiananmen Mothers, issued what has become an annual open letter to call for a more open accounting of the government’s 1989 crackdown.  The group is made up of families of the victims.

VOA News

Related:
Videos: Tiananmen Square Massacre 18 Years Ago in China

Posted in Beijing, China, Human Rights, June 4, News, Official, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Student, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on China Says The Bloody Crackdown in 1989 on Beijing Tiananmen Square Was Correct

Hong Kong Police Confiscate 2 “Goddess of Democracy” Statues, Arrest 13 Chinese Activists

Posted by Author on June 2, 2010


By Lin Yi & Tan Hohua, Epoch Times staff, May 31, 2010-

Police forcefully take away Alliance Deputy Chair Richard Choi Yiu-cheong. (Pan Zaishu/Epoch Times Staff)

Hong Kong—As preparations mount for commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Hong Kong, police confiscated two replicas of the iconic “Goddess of Democracy” statue and detained over a dozen activists over the weekend. The moves have raised concerns over infringements of free expression in the territory.

Hong Kong police detained 13 prodemocracy activists and confiscated a replica of the statue on Saturday May, 29. According to The Standard, when two activists sought to place a second replica of the statue at the same location on Sunday, they were again detained and the figurine confiscated.

Richard Tsoi, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, told The Epoch Times that police arrested him and 12 other activists Saturday, but had not filed any charges.

“There is an increasing level of political censorship on the commemoration of the June 4 [killings],” said Tsoi. “The Alliance will never compromise. We will have the candlelight vigil at Victoria Park on time at 8 p.m. on June 4.”…… (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Activist, China, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong Police Confiscate 2 “Goddess of Democracy” Statues, Arrest 13 Chinese Activists

March in Hong Kong’s Torrential Rain to Commemorate June 4 Beijing Tiananmen Square Massacre

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010


DPA, via earthtimes.org, May 30, 2010-

Hong Kong – Hundreds of people took part in an annual march in Hong Kong Sunday to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

Police estimated that about 800 people took part in the march from Victoria Park to Hong Kong’s Central Government Offices although organisers claimed the turnout was much higher.

The marchers braved torrential rain as they shouted slogans and held up banners calling on China to reverse its verdict on the pro-democracy activists who died in the crackdown on June 4, 1989.

Hong Kong, a former British colony which reverted to Chinese rule in 1989 under a ‘one country two systems’ arrangement, is the only place on Chinese soil where the killings are publicly commemorated.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to join a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on Friday evening, the city’s main annual event to mark the massacre’s anniversary.

On Saturday, police detained 13 activists and confiscated a replica statue of the Goddess of Democracy when the activists staged an unauthorised anniversary protest at a shopping mall.

by DPA

Posted in Activist, Asia, China, Event, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, World | Comments Off on March in Hong Kong’s Torrential Rain to Commemorate June 4 Beijing Tiananmen Square Massacre

Hong Kong Reporter Fired Over China Tiananmen Massacre Coverage

Posted by Author on August 1, 2009


By Lin Yi, The Epoch Times, Aug 1, 2009 –

HONG KONG—The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has issued a press release criticizing South China Media for firing a reporter who had worked on a feature story about the 1989 June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre.

According to Mak Yin-ting, chair of HKJA, the incident represented a step backward for Hong Kong media, who she believes to have stepped up “self-censorship” in order to avoid displeasing the regime in China.

HKJA called on South China Media to apologize for the firing.

Esquire magazine, published by South China Media, withdrew a feature story by the journalist, Daisy Chu. According to the press release by HKJA, they told her the articles were “seditious.” Ms. Chu disagreed with this and publicized her views on the Internet. She was fired shortly afterward, on June 29.

Mak said that this was the first time a reporter had been fired over disputes about June 4th coverage. “I saw some reporters resign because they disagreed with how the management dealt with June 4th news. However, those are the cases where reporters resigned from their positions themselves.” She also said that the managing editor was fired because of the incident as well.

In their press release, HKJA stated they were worried that the incident could set a dangerous precedent for Hong Kong journalists by discouraging them from working on “topics which are incompatible with the business interests of the owners of media companies.”

According to a July 6 report in the New Zealand Herald, Mak has said earlier this month that Hong Kong media scaled back their reporting of the Tiananmen Massacre during the 10-year anniversary this year. She also said some programs aired on TV appeared to follow the Chinese regime’s line.

The Epoch Times

Posted in Asia, Beijing, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, June 4, Media, News, Newspaper, People, Politics, Social, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong Reporter Fired Over China Tiananmen Massacre Coverage

Hong Kong carries the flame for Tiananmen Massacre

Posted by Author on June 6, 2009


By Paul Lin 林保華, The Taipei Times, Taiwan, Saturday, Jun 06, 2009-

Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. For 20 years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has created a mass of lies about what happened and has used China’s economic development to cover up its murderous acts.

Self-styled anti-communist President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said he has been deeply moved by the CCP’s progress. In stark contrast, the people of Hong Kong have been staging a protest on the Sunday before June 4 each year; this year they also held a candlelight vigil on June 4, which was attended by tens of thousands of people in Victoria Park.

Sunday’s demonstration saw the biggest turnout since 1992, which means that it was the largest since handover. But there was more to the protest than the 20th anniversary of the massacre: Recent actions of the CCP and the Hong Kong government also set off anti-CCP feelings among Hong Kong residents.

First, the CCP has been trying to establish a second power base in Hong Kong to intervene directly in government affairs because it is unsatisfied with the administration’s insistence that “Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong.”

Second, on the eve of Tiananmen Square Massacre memorial services, Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) — under pressure from Beijing — tried to use China’s economic development to gloss over the murderous acts of the CCP, claiming that this represented the opinion of the people of Hong Kong. Tsang immediately apologized, but his comments caused an uproar.

Third, early last month, Hong Kong University Students’ Union chairman Ayo Chan (陳一諤) said at a forum on the Tiananmen Square Massacre that China should rehabilitate the June 4 movement. But he added that the suppression could have been avoided if students had dispersed before the crackdown. Chan also described Beijing’s bloody actions as being “slightly problematic” and said Beijing should not be blamed. As a result, students at the university organized a referendum to recall Chan.

Fourth, during the live talk show City Forum on Radio Television Hong Kong late last month, Stanley Lui (呂智偉), the convener of the Hong Kong Youth Development Network, said the early part of the student movement was patriotic. But he said that when Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人), vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, brought donations from Hong Kong to Beijing, the movement changed in character. This reference to support for China’s democratic movement in Hong Kong as a “cash transfer” incensed Hong Kong’s democrats.

As many as 61.2 percent of Hong Kongers now think that the Tiananmen student movement should be rehabilitated, an increase of 12 percentage points compared with last year and the highest figure since 1997.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and the pro-democracy camp consist of moderates and radicals, with the moderates being the mainstream. Although the factions quarrel and pro-China media and politicians take the opportunity to discredit them, they unite at crucial times to stop pro-China lawmakers from changing legislative procedures. They also stage joint protests, because they know who the common enemy is.

The people of Hong Kong are pragmatic and do nothing that strays too far from their goals. Their support for China’s democracy movement is a sincere contribution; they avoid attacking one another in order to make best use of limited resources. They stand up when the values they believe in are in crisis. They did so six years ago when China forced through its National Security Law, and they are doing so now as the truth of the Tiananmen Square Massacre struggles to be heard.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

The Taipei Times

Posted in Asia, Beijing, China, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, News, People, politician, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong carries the flame for Tiananmen Massacre

China’s ‘socialist road’ to misery

Posted by Author on June 4, 2009


By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist, The Boston Globe, USA, June 3, 2009 –

IT IS 20 YEARS since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and China’s communist regime hasn’t budged an inch.

The government has no reason to regret its murderous crackdown during “the political storm at the end of the 1980s,” a foreign-ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters last month. “China has scored remarkable success in its social and economic development. Facts have proven that the socialist road with Chinese characteristics that we pursue is in the fundamental interests of our people.”

As a euphemism for dictatorial savagery, “the socialist road with Chinese characteristics” may not rise to the level of, say, “Great Leap Forward” or “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” And certainly the material riches and capitalist bustle that characterize much of China in the 21st century are a far cry from the mass starvation and unspeakable chaos that devastated the country in the 20th. But make no mistake: The junta in Beijing is no kinder or gentler today than it was at Tiananmen 20 years ago, and no less prepared to crush anyone who resists its grip on power.

Perhaps nothing today so exemplifies the totalitarian implacability of China’s rulers as their ruthless persecution of Falun Gong, a quasi-religious discipline of meditation and breathing exercises, combined with moral teachings about truth, compassion, and forbearance. By civilized standards, it is incomprehensible that anything so innocuous and peaceable could provoke bloody repression. But China’s uncivilized government fears any movement it does not control, and Falun Gong – with its uplifting values so different from the regime’s Stalinist ethic – has attracted tens of millions of adherents, independent of the Communist Party.

There is nothing subtle about Beijing’s decade-long campaign to suppress Falun Gong. At http://www.faluninfo.net/gallery/12, the Falun Dafa Information Center describes several of the torture techniques the government uses to break Falun Gong practitioners. Burning, for example. In hundreds of reported cases, police or labor camp authorities have used cigarettes, car lighters, or red-hot irons to sear Falun Gong believers on their faces, torsos, and genitals .

Other victims have been forced into water dungeons – locked cages immersed in filthy water. “Some water dungeons . . . have sharp spikes protruding on the inside of cramped cages,” the center reports. “Usually, the water dungeons are well-hidden rooms or cells where practitioners are forced to stay for days and nights on end in total darkness. The water is most often extremely filthy, containing garbage and sewage that leaves the victim with festering skin.” Other torture methods include electric shock, brutal forced “feeding” with concentrated salt water or hot pepper oil, and injection of nerve-damaging psychotropic drugs capable of inducing “horrific states of physical pain and mental anguish.”

Independent and third parties have raised numerous alarms about China’s inhumane war on Falun Gong.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has cited reports of “harrowing scenes” of Falun Gong prisoners dying from their treatment in government custody, and noting that “the cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly highlighted the agonies inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners. So have a handful of supremely courageous Chinese lawyers, among them Gao Zhisheng and Li Heping. In 2007, Canadian attorney David Kilgour, a former prosecutor and member of Parliament, co-authored a detailed report documenting the systematic harvesting of vital organs from imprisoned Falun Gong believers, in order to supply China’s lucrative transplant industry.

All these atrocities, of course, account for only one narrow lane on that “socialist road with Chinese characteristics” that Beijing so adamantly defends. The government of China is no less vicious in its persecution of devout house Christians, of Tibetan Buddhists, of democratic dissidents who seek greater liberty, of journalists who fail to toe the Communist Party line, of the countless inmates enslaved in “re-education through labor” camps, or of women who wish to decide for themselves how many children to have.

Twenty years after the screams and blood and slaughter at Tiananmen Square, the People’s Republic of China is still a great dungeon. “China is first and foremost a repressive regime,” the noted China scholar Ross Terrill has written. “The unchanging key to all Beijing’s policies is that the nation is ruled by a Leninist dictatorship that intends to remain such.” That was the truth in 1989. It remains the truth today.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at jacoby@globe.com

The Boston Globe

Posted in Beijing, China, Communist Party, Falun Gong, Human Rights, Incident, June 4, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on China’s ‘socialist road’ to misery

What must be sacrificed for a future in China

Posted by Author on June 4, 2009


By Irwin Cotler and David Grossman, Citizen Special, The Ottawa Citizen, Canada, June 4, 2009 –

Gao Zhisheng rose from poverty to become one of China’s best lawyers — even making the country’s “top 10” list in 2001. He taught himself the law and stood up for justice. He gained fame as a human rights attorney defending China’s otherwise voiceless victims. And the government tolerated him, for a while.

Wang Bingzhang was a prominent lung surgeon in late 1970s China. He was chosen to be among the first Chinese doctors allowed to study abroad — and this is what brought him to Canada’s McGill University. While here, Wang began to appreciate what true freedom felt like.

Both Gao and Wang began their lives thriving in a China that could offer them great personal success — for a price. That price was silence: silence in the face of totalitarian control, silence in the face of systematic human rights abuses, silence in the face of oppression and repression.

Gao and Wang had the option of staying silent and reaping the rewards. But both chose to speak out against injustice.

Gao’s life changed when he started representing Christians and Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted and tortured in China. He was convicted of “inciting subversion” and, in December 2006, began his new life of constant monitoring, frequent confinement to his apartment, and repeated abductions and beatings — for both him and his family.

The next year, in response to his letter to U.S. Congress, Gao was detained for 59 days, during which time he was severely tortured. The year after that, Gao’s 15-year-old daughter was barred from school, leaving her depressed and suicidal. This prompted Gao’s family to run away to the United States this January; thereafter, Gao — still under 24-hour surveillance by the government — ominously “disappeared.” He was last seen being abducted by police officers in Shaanxi province, and has not been heard from since.

As for Wang, after his experience in Canada in 1979, he worked tirelessly to become the leader of China’s overseas democracy movement. In 2002, while visiting with labour activists in Vietnam, he was forcibly abducted and carried into China, where he was immediately apprehended by police. A closed-door trial — at which Wang was not granted the right to speak, and at which no evidence was presented against him — led to his conviction and sentence of life imprisonment. A 30-minute appeal later confirmed the verdict.

Wang is now in his seventh year of arbitrary detention by China, as confirmed by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. He has suffered three strokes in that time, all suffered while being kept in solitary confinement. His health is rapidly deteriorating and he is plagued by depression.

Wang has a daughter named Ti-Anna, in remembrance of the Tiananmen Square massacre. A Montrealer, she decided to delay her studies at McGill University this year to devote herself to campaigning for her father’s freedom.

After many delays, the Chinese government finally approved Ti-Anna’s visa to visit her father last month under strict conditions. And then, without any explanation, she was turned away at the border; her visa was cancelled. Repeated attempts to obtain a rationale from the Chinese embassy have proven fruitless.

And so this is where we are 20 years after Tiananmen Square. Heroes of democracy and justice, like Gao and Wang, see their rights — and the rights of their loved ones — trampled upon, because they spoke out for what is right. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Canada, China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, June 4, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Spiritual, World | Comments Off on What must be sacrificed for a future in China

China’s regime hasn’t changed

Posted by Author on June 4, 2009


Calgary Herald, Canada, June 4, 2009-

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the culmination of the Chinese government’s savage crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square and while, on the surface, China appears to be almost an entirely different country, the ugly methods by which the country’s oppressive government retains power remain the same.

Once an isolated and murderous Communist enclave which kept its shutters tightly bolted, China has become the world’s workshop, an exemplar of freewheeling capitalism with seemingly endless supplies of cheap labour harnessed to fuel global demand for consumer goods. China is now an economic heavyweight with leaders who receive deferential hearings at the most prestigious summits.Last sum-mer, China even garnered the ultimate laurel of international respectability when it played host to the 2008 Olympics. This is quite a sea change for a nation which, only two decades past, was slaughtering its own citizens for the crime of demanding a voice in their own governance.

On closer inspection, however, the changes at the political level are only skin deep. The Communist Party still reigns supreme and brooks no opposition. Human rights abuses against dissidents and vulnerable members of society such as prisoners, the Falun Gong, Christians and the poor are still widespread and often unchecked. Reports of naysayers being silenced via the harvesting of their vital organs still surface.

The party often claims that it is clamping down in the name of stability and social harmony, but more and more this looks like naked aggression designed to nip potential challengers in the bud. Protesters of all stripes, not just democracy activists, are still routinely detained. For instance, nearly 20,000 schoolchildren died in last year’s earthquake in the province of Sichuan, victims of shoddy school construction and China’s culture of endemic corruption and low accountability. Bereaved parents trying to raise awareness of the issue and secure punishment for those responsible have been threatened, detained and silenced by a government anxious to cover its tracks and avoid any sign that it is susceptible to popular opinion.

When foreigners protest, China’s stock response is to claim that the complaints constituteunwarrantedinterference in its sovereign affairs. Sadly, many countries and businesses seem willing to go along with this out of self-interest.

Were the Tiananmen Square protests to happen today, there is little doubt that the party’s response would be the same –a massive crackdown and killing of those involved. The only difference would be the world’s reaction.There would be token condemnations but little or nothing in the way of sanctions. China is such a vital cog in the economy that few outside parties would turn their backs on the regime or do more than wish for the whole mess to go away.

The legacy of the Tiananmen protests is one of failure because China has changed the world more than the world has changed China.

The Calgary Herald

Posted in Beijing, China, Commentary, Communist Party, Human Rights, Incident, June 4, Killing, military, News, Politics, Social, Special day, World | Comments Off on China’s regime hasn’t changed

China’s harassment of activists escalates ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

Posted by Author on June 3, 2009


Amnesty International, 03 June 2009 –

The Chinese authorities have stepped up curbs on dissenting voices and escalated censorship of activists throughout the country, said Amnesty International today, a day before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.

Roseann Rife, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International, said:

‘Cutting off communication and preventing movement will not stop activists from fighting for their rights and will not stop people from marking the twentieth anniversary of the crackdown. The quest for truth will only be fuelled by excessive harassment.’

The reports come as survivors of the crackdown Shao Jiang, Dr. Wang Rongfen and Yenhua Wu assemble at Amnesty’s Human Rights Action centre in London to tell their stories (3 June) and lay flowers of commemoration outside the Chinese embassy (4 June). Amnesty members across the UK will hold candlelit vigils and will re-name local squares ‘Tiananmen Square’ as an act of solidarity.

Amnesty International is calling on the Chinese authorities to hold an open and independent inquiry into the 1989 violent military crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square. The organisation is urging people to sign an international online petition, calling for an inquiry, at www.protectthehuman.com/tiananmen.

Over the past few days, Amnesty International has received reports of serious harassment of human rights activists:

In Beijing, HIV/AIDS activist, Wan Yanhai, was forced to travel to the northern city of Changchun ahead of the anniversary. Police officers knocked at his door and requested he leave to ‘avoid possible conflict’. He refused but was forced to board a train to leave the capital with his family.

On 3 June, Zeng Jinyan, carrying her infant daughter, attempted to leave home to attend her mother’s birthday celebration. Five policemen roughly pushed her back inside and told her she was not allowed to leave the house in the coming days.

On 3 June, in Hangzhou, police officers gathered outside the house of human rights activist Wen Kejian and invited him for a ‘talk’.

On 2 June, two police officers and four ‘Neighbourhood/Residential Committee” members were stationed outside the Shanghai-based reproductive rights activist, Mao Hengfeng’s house. They forced her back inside after she attempted to leave and told her she was forbidden to go out until the 4 June anniversary was over.

On 2 June, in Inner Mongolia, internal security police reportedly took away internet writer Tian Yongde at around 3:30pm, while he was visiting his mother in hospital. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

On 1 June, police took up positions outside the houses of lawyers Jiang Tianyong and Li Xiongbing, and other police drive them wherever they go.

At midnight on 2 June, lawyers Lan Zhixue and Tang Jitian were discussing a case in the offices of an NGO. When they were leaving in the early hours of 3 June, police took the two lawyers in for questioning. They have not yet been released.

In order to limit communication between activists and internet campaigners, Chinese authorities have shut down Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail.

Background

Amnesty International has documented at least one hundred cases of activists who have been detained briefly or faced violence from authorities this year as they defended land rights, housing rights and labour rights. Signatories of the Charter 08, a petition calling for legal and political reforms, continue to face questioning.

Recently, lawyers have been threatened with denial of their licences in retaliation for their work on human rights defence cases. On 31 May, at least 18 lawyers still had not received their license renewals by the 6pm deadline. These lawyers, from 11 different law firms, are involved in defending and providing legal aid to Tibetans who were detained in connection with March 2008 protests, Falun Gong practitioners, human rights defenders detained for exercising freedom of expression, families of victims of the Sichuan earthquake, families of victims of the poisoned milk powder scandal, and other public interest cases. Some of them have called for the democratic election of Beijing lawyers Association executive committee members and are thus being targeted.

Amnesty International

Posted in Activist, Beijing, China, Dissident, Human Rights, June 4, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on China’s harassment of activists escalates ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

Taiwan urged to export democracy to China

Posted by Author on June 1, 2009


REMEMBERING TIANANMEN:  A conference in Taipei yesterday heard calls for Taiwan’s government to initiate discussions on human rights issues during cross-strait talks

By Loa Iok-sin, STAFF REPORTER,The Taipei Times,Taiwan, Monday, Jun 01, 2009-

It’s about time for Taiwan to become an “exporter of democracy,” speakers at a conference on the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre said in Taipei yesterday, urging the government to discuss human rights issues during cross-strait negotiations.

“China has become an ‘exporter of authoritarianism — not because of any ideological reasons, but for its own national interests,” said Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮), director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Department of Social Movement.

“China has become strikingly similar to what it once criticized as ‘American imperialists,’” Yiong said.

He said that because of its need for oil and other raw materials, as well as for the access to the Indian Ocean, “China is providing support and weapons to authoritarian rulers in Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe.”

CRACKDOWNS

“As the Chinese government cracks down on Tibetan demonstrators in Lhasa, arrests Chinese human rights activists and even allows live organ harvest of Falun Gong practitioners, we cannot pretend that all these do not happen and we only focus on economic exchanges,” Yiong said.

“If we do, we would become a member of China’s ‘axis of evil,’” he said.

Taiwan should seek to become an “exporter of democracy” and bring up human rights issues — such as urging Beijing to give justice to victims of the Tiananmen Massacre — during cross-strait talks, he told the conference.

“Taiwan received much help from the international community — especially from international human rights groups—during our struggle for democracy,” former DDP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said.

Several Chinese democracy activists also attended the conference, which was organized by a Chinese democracy movement support group.

JUSTICE DELAYED

“We’re talking about commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre here, but it’s not just about remembering a historic event, because Tiananmen Square is not yet history,” Chinese democracy activist Xue Wei (薛偉) said.

“Justice is yet to be rendered even judged by the lowest standards, many Tiananmen Square demonstrators are still in jail or in exile,” Xue said.

“Remembering Tiananmen Square itself is a resistance to the Chinese Communist Party regime,” he said.

All the speakers expressed their concerns that less people seem to care about democracy in China today as the country evolves into a strong economic power.

“I’ve heard some people attributing China’s economic development to the iron-handed crackdown of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square,” former New Party legislator Yao Li-ming (姚立明) said. “That’s highly inappropriate.”

Yao said he was sorry that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) seems to have become more ambivalent about the the massacre since he became president.

“I understand that he may have other considerations as a president who represents the entire Republic of China,” Yao said.

“But I do expect him to make a gesture on June 4,” Yao said.

The Taipei Times

Posted in Activist, Asia, Beijing, China, Dissident, Event, forum, Human Rights, June 4, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Taiwan, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Taiwan urged to export democracy to China

China cuts off dissent ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

Posted by Author on May 29, 2009


By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai, Telegraph, UK, 28 May 2009-

Beijing has taken steps to prevent dissent in response to a groundswell of pressure for the authorities to atone for what happened.

Students at Beijing and Dalian Universities have been banned from giving any interviews to the foreign media until after the anniversary.

The Public Security Bureau in Dalian warned: “Any indication of an approach from a foreign journalist must be reported immediately.”

University exams have been scheduled across China on June 4, in what appears to be an attempt to keep students inside their classrooms.

Security officers have also been targeting known dissidents including Bao Tong, 76, an aide to Zhao Zhiyang, the late Chinese leader. He has been taken out of Beijing to the mountain region of Huangshan on Monday.

Bao helped to orchestrate the release of Zhao’s secret memoirs, which revealed clashes at the top of the Communist Party over how to respond to the student protests of 1989.

“When the Communist Party thinks it needs to win the praise and trust of the Chinese people, that is when they will apologise,” he said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “But if they think it is not necessary to win that trust and praise, they will never apologise.”

Qi Zhiyong, who lost a leg after being shot in the suppression of the protests, said he had also been forcibly removed from Beijing but allowed to return in order to have access to medication.

“They are strengthening their surveillance over me and escorting me wherever I go,” he said.

Yu Jie, an outspoken writer, sent an email to his friends on Wednesday saying that four plain clothes policemen had been sent to monitor him. “They said they had received orders and the restraint of my personal freedom would remain after June 4,” he said, referring to the date of the anniversary.

According to Radio Free Asia, Zhang Shijun, a former soldier who took part in the armed response has been under house arrest since he published a critical open letter to Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, in March. His wife and daughter have been separated and are being monitored.

Since the beginning of the month, there have been growing calls for the government to admit a massacre took place. Wang Dun, one of the most-wanted student leaders, suggested that Chinese wore white on June 4 in memory of the dead. On Google China, the phrase “6 + 4, 20”, representing June 4, 20th anniversary, was briefly one of the most searched terms.

Yesterday (Thurs), 128 family members of Tiananmen victims issued a public statement calling for a fair and independent investigation, and the publication of the names and number of those who died. They also called for compensation and for “those responsible” to be prosecuted.

Meanwhile, popular internet forums on Baidu, China’s leading internet portal, have been closed down in Beijing and tightly restricted across the rest of China.

In Guizhou, a seminar planned for June 4 to discuss human rights has been shut down by local police, and the organisers were detained. There are dozens of other reports of house searches, including of Zha Jianguo, a founding member of the China Democratic Party. One retired professor was beaten when he tried to visit Zhao Ziyang’s tomb in Jinan.

In Shanghai, petitioners have been warned by the local police not to visit Beijing in the ten day period over June 4.

The Telegraph

Posted in Activist, Beijing, China, Dissident, Incident, June 4, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on China cuts off dissent ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

Calls for parliamentary democracy in China

Posted by Author on May 23, 2009


Mark Colvin, ABC News, Austrilia, 22 May , 2009-

MARK COLVIN: Exactly 20 years ago, Beijing’s central space, Tien An Men Square was still full of protesting students.

On the 19th May, the Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang had come to the square to plead with them to end their hunger strike.

The next day, military law was declared. On June the 4th the troops went in and what the West remembers as the Tien An Men massacre began.

By then, Zhao Ziyang, the only member of the ruling elite to talk to the students face to face, was under house arrest and had become a non-person.

This is how he remembers what the Chinese authorities prefer to call the June the 4th incident.

ZHAO ZIYANG (translated): On the night of June the 3rd while sitting in the courtyard with my family I heard intense gunfire. A tragedy to shock the world had not been averted and was happening after all.

I prepared the above-written material three years after the June the fourth tragedy. Many years have now passed since this tragedy. Of the activists involved in this incident, except for the few who escaped abroad, most were arrested, sentenced and repeatedly interrogated.

MARK COLVIN: The world was never meant to hear Zhao Ziyang’s voice again. But now, four years after his death comes the publication of his memoirs.

They were compiled from 30 cassette tapes, smuggled out of the country and now published as ‘Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Zhao Ziyang’.

Its publisher and co-translator is Bao Pu, son of a senior aide to Zhao.

He told me on the line from Hong Kong that Zhao Ziyang knew when he spoke to the students in the Square that his career was already over.

BAO PU: When he came out to talk to them he was already disposed from his position and knowing that after trying to prevent the final showdown of violence; and he actually failed to prevent that happening and that was you know his final moment appearing in public.

MARK COLVIN: And the reason why that was his final moment was because he had made the mistake of actually leaving the country in a crisis and that left his enemies in charge.

BAO PU: In this particular memoir he mentions many of his regrets and mistakes. Leaving the country at that moment is not one of them. At the moment that he left there was no reason for him, no obvious reason that he shouldn’t.

MARK COLVIN
: But if he’d stayed, wouldn’t he have been able to keep the ear of Dung Xiaoping? Wouldn’t he have been able to have controlled things better?

BAO PU: Yes it’s possible but you have to say that it’s only speculation – maybe better – and we can’t be sure because history cannot be undone and repeat itself.

MARK COLVIN: So what were the forces ranged against him?

BAO PU: Tien An Men incidents to the Chinese leaders were merely a continuation of their struggle, their debate over economic reform. The new insight on this Tien An Men incident is that as soon as the student protest began, the Chinese leaders were already lined up on two sides.

On one side the favour harsh treatment, on the other are against the harsher treatment.

MARK COLVIN: In the background of all this was the fact that Zhao Ziyang didn’t just want economic reform he wanted political reform. Let’s just have a listen to what he says in the memoir about that.

ZHAO ZIYANG
(translated): Of course it is possible that in the future a more advanced political system than the parliamentary democracy will emerge, but that is a matter for the future. At present, there is no other.

Based on this we can say that if a country wishes to modernise, not only should it implement a market economy, it must also adopt a parliamentary democracy as its political system……. (More  details from ABC News)

Posted in Beijing, books, China, Communist Party, history, June 4, military, News, People, politician, Politics, Social, Special day, World | Comments Off on Calls for parliamentary democracy in China

Hong Kong students urge China to “rectify” June 4 stance

Posted by Author on April 18, 2009


Reuters, Fri Apr 17, 2009 –

HONG KONG, April 17 (Reuters) – A poll of Hong Kong students has found China should be held accountable for its military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananamen Square in 1989 in which hundreds were killed.

Ahead of the key 20th anniversary of the crackdown on June 4th, the University of Hong Kong held a three-day campus-wide referendum on whether China should “rectify” its verdict that the June 4 protests were counter-revolutionary and be held accountable for the event it described as a “massacre”.

Only 19 percent of the roughly 10,000 undergraduate student body cast votes in the poll that ended on Thursday, but 93 percent of them supported the move, the university’s student union said.

The student union called the result a “momentous landmark” after recent signs of indifference and on-campus tensions in Hong Kong between democratic-minded students and conservative elements wanting to tone down the criticism of Beijing, particularly among students from mainland China.

“Twenty years on from Tiananmen, the students of the University of Hong Kong have not forgotten,” it said in a statement.

The demonstrations that drew more than a million people on to Beijing’s streets are now a fading memory, and the killings are still taboo in mainland Chinese media.

The formerly British-ruled Hong Kong has remained the only city on Chinese soil where annual June 4 vigils, remembrances and protests are tolerated.

Jenny Ngai, the union’s acting external affairs secretary, said that while the turnout rate was “not great”, the vote sent a strong signal to society that Hong Kong’s students, unlike those silenced by authorities on the mainland, would continue to speak out.

Reuters

Posted in Beijing, China, Hong kong, Human Rights, June 4, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Student, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong students urge China to “rectify” June 4 stance

China Cites Taboo of 1989 Tiananmen Student Protests In Obituary Praise

Posted by Author on January 20, 2008


Reuters, Thu Jan 17, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – An official Chinese obituary praised a late Communist Party city boss on Thursday for “maintaining stability” during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in a rare mention of a subject that remains taboo to this day.

Publication of the obituary for Zhang Lichang, late Party boss of Tianjin, in the official People’s Daily, coincided with the third death anniversary of Zhao Ziyang.

Zhao was toppled as national Party chief in 1989 for opposing a decision by then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to send in troops to crush the student-led pro-democracy protests.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed.

Families of victims and dissidents are kept under tight police surveillance and have had no success in petitioning the government to reverse the official verdict that the protests were “counter-revolutionary”, or subversive.

Authorities warned several dissidents, Tiananmen survivors and relatives of victims not to visit Zhao’s courtyard home in Beijing, dissident Jiang Qisheng said by telephone.

“There are police outside. They won’t let me visit Zhao Ziyang’s home. Others have also been told not to go,” Jiang said.

The Communist Party remains nervous about Zhao’s residual influence and has tried to erase him from public memory, blanking out his role in economic reforms that turned China from an economic backwater to an export powerhouse.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu was terse when asked about Zhao and any memorial activities.

“There has already been an assessment of Comrade Zhao Ziyang,” Jiang told a news conference. “The concerned social activities should conform to relevant laws and regulations.”

Zhang, Party boss of Tianjin for almost 10 years until March 2007, did not play a direct role in the crackdown in nearby Beijing on June 3-4, 1989.

“During the political disturbance that occurred when spring was changing into summer in 1989, he resolutely supported the Party Central’s major decisions and policies … maintained social stability and guaranteed the livelihood of city residents,” the obituary read.

Zhang, 68, was once one of the country’s most powerful men, sitting on the Party’s decision-making Politburo until last October. He died in Tianjin on January 10.

– Original report from Reuters: China cites Tiananmen protests in obituary praise

Posted in Beijing, China, June 4, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on China Cites Taboo of 1989 Tiananmen Student Protests In Obituary Praise

Side Effects of China’s Marathon to Economic Power

Posted by Author on January 19, 2008


BBC News, Friday, 18 January 2008-

One thing UK PM Gordon Brown, currently on a visit to Beijing, cannot fail to have noticed is the sheer amount of building work going on as the 2008 Olympic Games approach.

But as BBC Beijing correspondent James Reynolds finds as he follows the route the Olympic marathon will take, the authorities are not keen for the world to see the side effects of China’s booming economy.

The Olympic marathon will start in Tiananmen Square. After they have run a few metres, the runners will turn right and head down the main avenue in Beijing.

The last time this road was on the world stage it had nothing to do with sport.

In 1989, the Communist Party sent tanks down this avenue to force out student protestors from Tiananmen Square. Today all we find here are loyal communists.

In the view of one young person I spoke to, “the Olympics will show the world that we are not backwards anymore”.

Homes demolished

After about seven miles (11km) the runners may come across Sun Ruonan.

She refuses to leave her house, despite the authorities having knocked down every property on this section of the marathon route.

Her family’s had this restaurant for more than 100 years.

“I want justice”, she tells me. “The government can’t use Olympics as an excuse to sweep us all away.”

She is not alone. Just down the road more homes are being demolished.

Every year 50,000 houses in Beijing are knocked down to make way for new buildings

Global superpower

After about 18 miles, the runners may have a problem. They will notice it every time they breathe.

Beijing’s big problem is the air. We have our own pollution detector. When we test it the air quality index is 61.60. That’s not too bad.

But the real test will come in August when the marathon is run here. If the reading is over 100, the marathon may have to be postponed.

Those who make it through the pollution will have a dramatic finish.

Waiting at the end is China’s Olympic Stadium – known as the Bird’s Nest – possibly on loan from outer space.

This is the final piece of a project that China’s been working on for 30 years – how to become a global superpower.

– Original report from BBC News: China’s race to economic power

Posted in air, Athlete, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Economy, Environment, Forced Evictions, Health, Human Rights, June 4, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Sports, World | Comments Off on Side Effects of China’s Marathon to Economic Power

China Hero Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up Barred U.S. Trip For Rights Award

Posted by Author on July 13, 2007


By JOSEPH KAHN, New York Times, July 13, 2007-

BEIJING, July 12 — A Chinese doctor who exposed the cover-up of China’s SARS outbreak in 2003 has been barred from traveling to the United States to collect a human rights award, a friend of the doctor and a human rights group said this week.

The doctor, Jiang Yanyong, a retired surgeon in the People’s Liberation Army, was awarded the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award by the New York Academy of Sciences. His army-affiliated work unit, Beijing’s Hospital 301, denied him permission to travel to the award ceremony in September, Hu Jia, a Chinese rights promoter who is a friend of Dr. Jiang’s, said Thursday.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, which is based in Hong Kong, also issued a statement reporting the rejection of the travel request. The doctor could not be reached at his home for comment, and a person who answered the phone in the director’s office of Hospital 301 said the situation was unclear, declining to provide further details.

Dr. Jiang rose to international prominence in 2003, when he disclosed in a letter circulated to international news organizations that at least 100 people were being treated in Beijing hospitals for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. At the time, the Chinese medical authorities were asserting that the entire nation had only a handful of cases of the disease.

The revelation prompted China’s top leaders to acknowledge that they had provided false information about the epidemic. The health minister and the mayor of Beijing were removed from their posts.

SARS eventually killed more than 800 people worldwide, and the government came under international scrutiny for failing to provide timely information that medical experts said might have saved lives.

Dr. Jiang was initially hailed as a hero in Chinese and foreign news media. He used his new prestige in 2004 to press China’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee to admit that the leadership had made a mistake in ordering the military to shoot unarmed civilians on June 3 and 4, 1989, when troops were deployed to suppress democracy protests that began in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Dr. Jiang, who treated Beijing residents wounded in the 1989 assault, contended that the official line that the crackdown was necessary to put down a rebellion was false. His statement antagonized party leaders, who consider the crackdown a matter of enormous political sensitivity.

Jiang Zemin, then the leader of the military, ordered the detention of Dr. Jiang, who spent several months in custody, people involved in his defense say. Dr. Jiang was eventually allowed to return to his home but remained under constant watch. He has not been allowed to accept press requests for interviews or to visit family members who live in the United States, friends and human rights groups say.

Mr. Hu said that Dr. Jiang’s superiors at Hospital 301 had told him that he could not travel to New York to collect his award because the ruling Communist Party was seeking to maintain an atmosphere of social and political stability in the period leading up to the 17th Party Congress in the fall, when party leaders decide on a new leadership lineup.

“There is always some big political event they can use as an excuse to put pressure on human rights defenders,” Mr. Hu said. “The real reason is that they want to keep him under house arrest so he has no opportunity to speak the truth to the outside world.”

– Original report from New York Times: China Bars U.S. Trip for Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up

Posted in Asia, Beijing, censorship, China, Doctor, Health, house arrest, Human Rights, Jiang Yanyong, Jiang Zemin, June 4, Law, News, Official, People, Politics, SARS, Social, Special day, Speech, Tiananmen, travel, USA, World | 1 Comment »