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Twenty years on: yes to tourists, no to journalists in Tiananmen Square

June 8, 2009

Wang Zhicheng
AsiaNews.it - Italy
06/04/2009

The site of the massacre is surrounded by police and tourists can only enter
by passing through checkpoints. Foreign journalists and photographers are
banned. 160 internet sites have been closed down and 65 democracy activists
have been arrested or are under police surveillance. A message from the
Dalai Lama marking June 4th asks the Chinese government to review its
judgement, in order to really become “a great nation”.


Beijing (AsiaNews) – On the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of
20 years ago, the place where the slaughter was carried out is today
shrouded in a security blanket with thousands of uniformed and plain clothes
police on patrol.  Over 160 internet sites have been closed down and 65
people are under house arrest or have been forced to leave Beijing.

Foreign journalists and photographers have been banned from entering the
square, for no apparent reason.  Chinese and foreign tourists can only gain
access to the square by first passing through police checkpoints, where
there passports and identity cards are checked, the bags searched for
“bombs”, in reality, for leaflets or banners that exalt the student’s
movement.

Other areas of the city are also under control.  In past weeks, many
democracy activists and protagonists of the movement of 20 years ago have
been forced to abandon Beijing or have been placed under house arrest.

China Human Rights Defenders (Chrd) has drawn up a list of 65 names of
people who have been arrested, sequestered or interrogated by the police
because of the Tiananmen anniversary. Among those even signatories of the
charter 08, a manifesto on human rights that asks the government to stop the
corruption in the current Party and to open up to dialogue with the people
through freedom of press and association and a multi-party system.

Over 160 internet sites have been shut down for “system maintenance” in
order to stop the spread of information on line regarding activities in
China and around the world linked to Tiananmen.

>From Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama has published a message to commemorate the
20th anniversary of the Tiananmen democratic movement.  The exiled Tibetan
leader says he “respectfully honours” the dead of June 4th and asks the
Chinese government to answer the questions of its people.  “The students
involved in the Tiananmen Square movement – he continues - were neither
anti-communist nor anti-socialist. Their speaking out in defence of the
Chinese people’s constitutional rights, in favour of democracy, and taking a
stand against corruption, truly conformed to the underlying beliefs of the
Chinese Communist government”.

The Dalai Lama asks the Chinese government for “courage and
far-sightedness”, and appeals that in commemorating the 60th anniversary of
the Republics foundation this October, China “review the events of June 4,
1989”. Only in this way will the “superpower” enhance “its international
standing as a truly great nation”.
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