General

Thousands in Hong Kong mark Tiananmen crackdown anniversary

By

Associated Press


Published:
05:21 EST, 4 June 2016

|
Updated:
05:22 EST, 4 June 2016

BEIJING (AP) — China tightened security around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Saturday on the 27th anniversary of the bloody military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests, pointing to the enduring sensitivity over the events among the Communist Party leadership.

Police checked IDs and searched the bags of anyone seeking to enter the environs of the vast public space in the center of the capital where thousands of students, workers and ordinary citizens gathered in 1989 to demand political reforms. Journalists from The Associated Press were stopped, filmed and ultimately forced to leave the area, ostensibly for lacking proper permission.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people were killed as tanks and troops converged on Beijing on the night of June 3-4, 1989. The topic remains taboo in China and any form of commemoration, whether public or private, is banned.

A pair of late-arriving visitors run to watch the daily flag-raising ceremony at dawn at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks ...

A pair of late-arriving visitors run to watch the daily flag-raising ceremony at dawn at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Memorials were planned in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong and on the self-governing island democracy of Taiwan, where some former student leaders have found refuge.

The Taiwanese Cabinet office responsible for ties with China issued a statement urging Beijing to “face up and heal the historical scars of June 4.”

“We look forward to the Chinese mainland reevaluating the history of June 4, valuing the will of the people and creating a fair, just and harmonious society through the building of institutions,” the Mainland Affairs Council said in a news release.

Ahead of the anniversary, family members of those killed in the crackdown were placed under additional restrictions, either confined to their homes or forced to leave the capital. China’s government has rejected their calls for an independent accounting of the events and those killed and maimed by soldiers.

At least half a dozen people have reportedly been detained in recent days for attempting to commemorate the events, although a small group wearing T-shirts condemning the crackdown converged on the square last Sunday. Among them was former house painter Qi Zhiyong, whose leg was amputated after he was shot by troops.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department called for a “full public accounting of those killed, detained, or missing and for an end to censorship of discussions about the events of June 4, 1989, as well as an end to harassment and detention of those who wish to peacefully commemorate the anniversary.”

In a statement, it also urged the Chinese government to respect the rights and freedoms of all its citizens.

Asked Friday about the anniversary, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had “long ago reached a clear conclusion about the political turmoil at the end of 1980s and other related issues.”

China’s explosive economic growth in the years that followed “proves that the path of socialism with Chinese characters we chose to follow … is in line with the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, and it represents a wish shared by them all,” Hua told reporters at a daily news briefing.

Visitors walk across Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy pr...

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Visitors walk across Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

A police officer stands guard on the sidewalk of a street adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversar...

A police officer stands guard on the sidewalk of a street adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Members of a Chinese tour group walk along a street next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China...

Members of a Chinese tour group walk along a street next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

A pair of visitors walk near the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of Ch...

A pair of visitors walk near the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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A girl poses for a photo along the barriers surrounding Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s b...

A girl poses for a photo along the barriers surrounding Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Visitors climb the steps of a pedestrian underpass while leaving Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of ...

Visitors climb the steps of a pedestrian underpass while leaving Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of China¿s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing¿s Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

In this May 29, 2016 photo, Qi Zhiyong, cetner, who lost a leg when he was shot by Chinese troops as they crushed pro-democracy demonstrations around Tiananm...

In this May 29, 2016 photo, Qi Zhiyong, cetner, who lost a leg when he was shot by Chinese troops as they crushed pro-democracy demonstrations around Tiananmen Square on June 3 and 4, 1989, and June 4 commemoration supporters Jiang Jianjun, left, and Wang Fulei, right, pose for a photo near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Security was tightened around Tiananmen Square on the 27th anniversary Saturday, June 4, 2016 of China’s bloody military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests, pointing to the enduring sensitivity over the events with the Chinese leadership. At least half a dozen people have reportedly been detained in recent days for attempting to commemorate the events, although a small group, including Qi, wearing T-shirts condemning the crackdown converged on the square last Sunday. Qi’s T-shirt reads: “Always remember June 4, inherit the ambition of the martyrs, pass on the torch, hold the baton of democracy.” (Photo via AP) NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE

In this May 29, 2016 photo, Qi Zhiyong, who lost a leg when he was shot by Chinese troops as they crushed pro-democracy demonstrations around Tiananmen Squar...

In this May 29, 2016 photo, Qi Zhiyong, who lost a leg when he was shot by Chinese troops as they crushed pro-democracy demonstrations around Tiananmen Square on June 3 and 4, 1989, stands on the side of a road next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Security was tightened around Tiananmen Square on the 27th anniversary Saturday, June 4, 2016 of China’s bloody military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests, pointing to the enduring sensitivity over the events with the Chinese leadership. At least half a dozen people have reportedly been detained in recent days for attempting to commemorate the events, although a small group, including Qi, wearing T-shirts condemning the crackdown converged on the square last Sunday. His shirt reads: “Always remember June 4, inherit the ambition of the martyrs, pass on the torch, hold the baton of democracy.” (Photo via AP) NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE

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A man walks as wreaths and a banner featuring Tiananmen Square are set up for a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong's Victoria Park, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Secur...

A man walks as wreaths and a banner featuring Tiananmen Square are set up for a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Security was tightened around Tiananmen Square on the 27th anniversary Saturday of China’s bloody military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests, pointing to the enduring sensitivity over the events with the Chinese leadership. Memorials were planned in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong and in self-governing Taiwan, where some former student leaders have found refuge. The Chinese words read ” To Mourn June 4 Victims.” (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

A statue of Goddess of Democracy is displayed at Hong Kong's Victoria Park, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Security was tightened around Tiananmen Square on the 27t...

A statue of Goddess of Democracy is displayed at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, Saturday, June 4, 2016. Security was tightened around Tiananmen Square on the 27th anniversary Saturday of China’s bloody military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests, pointing to the enduring sensitivity over the events with the Chinese leadership. Memorials were planned in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong and in self-governing Taiwan, where some former student leaders have found refuge. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

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