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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tight Security, Calls for Accounting Mark China's 20th Anniversary of Tiananmen

June 5, 2009

By VOA News

04 June 2009


Chinese police aggressively deterred dissent on Thursday's 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, as China faced renewed calls to account for the bloodshed.


Security forces barred reporters from entering the square Thursday and Chinese police were out in force to prevent any commemoration of the anniversary.


The United States has called on China to openly examine the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing and account for all people killed, missing or detained in the military operation.


On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the events in Tiananmen Square, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Beijing should give human rights the same priority that it does to economic reforms.


On June 4, 1989, China's government sent tanks and troops into Tiananmen Square to crush weeks of student and worker protests, killing hundreds. 


China remained firm on its verdict on the Tiananmen protest and its aftermath. Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters Thursday that the government had already come to a clear conclusion regarding what he called the "political incident."


At the time of the crackdown, the Communist Party called the Tiananmen movement a "counterrevolutionary rebellion," and it has not strayed from this verdict ever since.


Later Thursday, tens of thousands are expected to attend a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary, the only such event on Chinese soil.


Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, expressed his respect for those who lost their lives 20 years ago and spoke in their defense.


In a statement Thursday, the Dalai Lama noted that those who participated in the protests were neither anti-communist, nor anti-socialist.


The Dalai Lama said that those who participated in the protests were speaking out against corruption and in defense of the Chinese people's constitutional rights.


The statement said their demands truly conformed with the underlying beliefs of the Chinese Communist government.


In Macau, authorities detained Wu'er Kaixi, a key student leader of the 1989 protests, when he arrived in the southern Chinese territory Wednesday on a flight from Taiwan, where he lives in exile.


Wu'er said he wanted to see his parents, whom authorities have prevented from visiting him.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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