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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Executive urged to lobby China

June 8, 2009

Belfast Newsletter
05 June 2009

TWENTY years after the Chinese military massacred hundreds of its own
citizens in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong-born Assemblywoman Anna Lo
led a commemoration at Stormont.

The Alliance representative laid a wreath of red flowers on the steps of
Parliament Buildings, placed beside a crumpled bicycle to remember the
brutality of the Chinese government's repression that day and in the days
which followed.

Ms Lo and Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International handed a letter to the
Office of the First and Deputy First Minister calling on the Executive to
raise human rights abuses when with the Chinese government.

Twenty years after the pro-democracy protests were crushed, even talking
about the uprising can result in imprisonment as China's communist regime
seeks to avoid any remembrance of what happened.

Ms Lo, whose son, Conall Hon, was arrested in London last year for
protesting against human rights abuses in Tibet during the Olympic torch
ceremony, said that the events of June 4, 1989, had "shocked the world's
conscience".

"Today is a moment to remember the victims and to stand up for justice," she
said.

"Twenty years on from the crackdown, there are still many human rights
problems in China: freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial and
protection from torture are denied to many in modern China.

"One of the best ways to bring about positive change in China is through
diplomatic pressure from abroad, and by encouraging politicians to raise
concerns with the Chinese government. That is what we are asking the
Executive to do."

Recalling the events of Tiananmen Square two decades ago, former First
Minister Ian Paisley said that Northern Ireland should cherish its democracy
and civil freedoms.

Writing in today's News Letter, he said: "As we consider these three
milestones in China's history, we should do so with grateful hearts that we
do live in a democracy, that we do have a free press, that we can join or
form any political party that takes our fancy, and on the Sabbath worship
where we please."
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