US urges China to release Tiananmen crackdown death toll

Hu Yaobang

"[Beijing should act to] release those who have been jailed for striving to keep the memory of Tiananmen Square alive, and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families".

Hundreds if not thousands of unarmed protesters and onlookers were killed late on June 3 and the early hours of June 4, 1989, after China's communist leaders ordered the military to retake Tiananmen Square from the student-led demonstrators.

On the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, protesters are reenacting the face-off under hashtags including #Tankman2018 #Tankmen2018, a campaign started by Chinese artist and cartoonist, Badiucao.

Elsewhere in the world, much smaller protests were held in many major cities, such as one that took place in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington on June 2, at which dozens of Chinese activists were in attendance.

Human rights violations in China have worsened in the 29 years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre, despite that country making advances in other areas, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday in a statement to mark the anniversary.

"As the days passed, millions of people from all walks of life joined in, angered by widespread corruption and calling for democracy", the BBC says. June 4, 1989 turned into far more than a stroke of bad luck for student protestors in Beijing.

In this context, China expresses its dissatisfaction and decisive protest.

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The protests are branded a "counter-revolutionary rebellion" by Chinese authorities and many on the mainland remain unaware of the crackdown, with discussion banned from books, textbooks, movies and censored on social networks.

"As Liu Xiaobo wrote in his 2010 Nobel Peace Prize speech, delivered in absentia, "the ghosts of June 4th have not yet been laid to rest"," Pompeo said referring to the Chinese dissident who died past year while still in custody.

A spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry furiously responded on Monday that Pompeo "has absolutely no qualifications to demand the Chinese government do anything", while an editor for the state-run Global Times of China sneered that Pompeo's statement was a "meaningless stunt".

Hu Ping, another well-known Chinese dissident, said that the lack of democracy in China will eventually bring about catastrophic consequences for the United States and the world, as the Chinese Communist Party continues to increase its power while acting aggressively overseas.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in a downtown park in Hong Kong for an annual public commemoration of the crackdown on a rainy evening.

A public opinion poll by the University of Hong Kong found that the proportion of people who think Hong Kong residents have "a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China" has dropped from 58 percent to 56 percent this year.

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