Latest crackdown in China: Tiananmen Square activists

As the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre approaches, none of us is surprised to see China cracking down on political dissidents and outspoken students. In fact, they’ve set up a special task force just to monitor student activities.

“The universities are under strict control and there are several kinds of restrictions and regulations dealing with the anniversary,” a Beijing academic said.

“For the universities, there is a special organ run by the State Security Ministry. They are responsible for a wide range of monitoring in the university district.”

The 1989 massacre in the streets of Beijing has remained a highly sensitive topic, with students on the capital’s campuses strongly discouraged from discussing the issue.

“The students don’t dare to speak about this because they know they will get in trouble. They can discuss these things in an abstract way, but specific discussion will only lead to trouble,” the academic said.

While police are monitoring Beijing campuses, they have also placed a group of known dissidents under house arrest or strict surveillance.

The 70-year-old leader of the Tiananmen Mothers, Ding Zilin , whose son was killed in the 1989 massacre, has been put under surveillance and told not to accept visitors in the lead-up to the anniversary.

Funny, to see the great leaders of the world’s fastest growing nation trembling at the thought of a 70-year-old woman accepting visitors.

It’s so important, as some are quick to give Hu and Wen credit as reformers, to remember that simply discussing the topic of what went on the night of June 4, 1989 is still enough to get you in deep trouble on China’s college campuses. China’s changing and improving and growing. But it’s important to see this in perspective. It’s still a dangerous place for anyone foolish enough to bring up certain unutterable truths.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Some strange goings-on in Hong Kong recently. Liu Yandong, a mainland mouthpiece/chair for a United Front group was in HK to stir up patriotic feelings and bring gifts. The gift of free speech and press. I would warn HKers to beware of gift givers. They are more likely to take away more than they give.

It is strange to me that any mainland official would be allowed go to HK and talk about the rights of free speech. What does she know about truly free speech? What does she know about the freedom of high school students to publish and distribute anti-war material (Nam stuff) in high school, which resulted in suspension from school, until the ACLU and I represented the boy and got him back into school under a free speech court case. What does she know about people protesting their government’s corruption, favoritism, incompetence and mendacious decisions? Other than the government shoots them when the langauge of the protest is true and damaging to the power image. She is the fox in the chicken shed so to speak.

Why is this person allowed to speak in HK at all. I thought there were 2 systems and HK was to have a great deal of autonomy and BJ was not to interfere. What has happen to those principles? Nothing really, because they were not real in the first place. It seems clear BJ never meant to keep its hands off if the HK people started to exercise their paper freedoms. “HKers don’t need to be people that human like needs, thoughts and complaints; they just need to be wage slaves, not rock BJ’s (CCP) boat and all will be well. Just be good little, immature boys and girls and do as you are told. Dismiss from your minds that you have any real human rights. ”

A sorry state for people who once lived under the rule of law where it meant something. Have you HKers noticed all the prostitues roaming around the streets of Kowloon? Never in the 14 years I have been going in and out of HK, until about 2 years ago were those girls allowed to wander the streets so openly and in such numbers.

A sorry state for those people who were educated with principles and concepts of individual freedom and dignity to be collared with blackness and bleakness of the central government’s, that is, the CCP, demands for idiological and patriotic conformity. It must bring a chill to the thinking of the good residents of the SAR.

Here is my salute to you HKers who will stand up and stand your ground and tell Tung, Ms. Liu, the central government and the those crooked, phoney and greedy BJ mouthpiece members of the Democrtic Alliance to bugger off.

May 29, 2004 @ 8:58 pm | Comment

I often think that this is symptomatic of what I would call a desperate attempt at collective amnesia: China wants to forget Tiananmen because of the terrible truth it presents: the CCP has lost — has squandered, I would say — whatever right it may ever have had to rule over the Chinese people.

Guilty consciences often lead to the most desperate acts of covering up, as if by white-washing the walls the blood will somehow be erased from existence, as if it never was.

China is changing, yes, but it is also still trying to run away from facing up to the skeletons dangling in its closet.

May 30, 2004 @ 5:32 am | Comment

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