Tiananmen remembrance doesn’t stop in spite of Government’s efforts

June 5, 2013

Twenty-four years after the bloodshed of Tiananmen, China’s Communist Party is exercising its traditional response to the unwelcome anniversary: detaining and silencing dissidents and blocking bereaved families who hope to observe the day with mourning from the graveyards; mobilizing extra police officers to ensure that no protests break out around Tiananmen Square; and scrubbing Chinese Internet sites of any references and images that refer to or even hint at the upheavals of 1989.

English: Tiananmen (front) 1901 中文: 1901年的天安门(正面)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 4 June the police in China blocked the gate of a cemetery housing victims of the Tiananmen crackdown on its 24th anniversary. More than a dozen security officials deployed outside the stone gate at the Wanan graveyard near the hills of western Beijing, which mothers of the victims visit each year, and told AFP journalists to leave the area.

Online searches for a wide range of keywords on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, were blocked, from “Tiananmen to “candle”, a symbol used to encourage digital vigils. Activists turned instead to overseas websites to commemorate the event. “The dispute in this country is basically stuck on whether to light a candle or to extinguish it”, dissident artist Ai Weiwei posted on Twitter. Rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan said on Twitter that he had been blocked from Sina Weibo for seven days for sharing “sensitive information” – urging others to honor victims by posting an image of a lit candle. A mocked-up picture was circulating online of the 1989 “Tank Man photograph of a civilian staring down a long row of tanks headed toward Tiananmen Square – with the military vehicles replaced by plastic ducks.

A marvelous exception to this annual erasure of remembrance  is the demonstration in Hong Kong, a self-administered enclave under Chinese sovereignty, where tens of thousands gather again this year for a candlelit memorial vigil and rally in spite of pouring rain.

In the meantime you should know that human rights defender Ms Ye Haiyan – on whose case I reported earlier – has been ordered to serve 13 days’ administrative detention, see http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/22922 .

via Beijing bars access to Tiananmen victims graveyard – The Standard.



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