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US vows 1989 Tiananmen massacre will ‘never be forgotten’ as China bans its anniversary in Hong Kong as well

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun04’22) – China may have criminalized any discussion of its army’s massacre of its own citizens seeking democratic reforms and end to corruption in a peaceful demonstration on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Jun 4, but the United States has vowed on the event’s 33rd anniversary that this bloody chapter in the Communist Party of China’s history will “never be forgotten”.

Rights groups say thousands were killed, while the then British ambassador to China estimated the death toll at 10,000, noted the aljazeera.com Jun 4, citing notes that were declassified in 2017.

“The efforts of these brave individuals will not be forgotten,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said in a Jun 3 statement to mark the event’s anniversary.

“Each year, we honor and remember those who stood up for human rights and fundamental freedoms. While many are no longer able to speak up themselves, we and many around the world continue to stand up on their behalf and support their peaceful efforts to promote democracy and the rights of individuals.”

The report noted that the protesters who occupied Tiananmen did not only want political change, they were also frustrated at the government’s handling of the economy and rising corruption. But they were dismissed as “counter-revolutionaries” by party leaders and over the past three decades, public discussion of the crackdown remained a taboo on the mainland.

* * *

In China, authorities had ordered dozens of pro-democracy activists and dissidents into house arrest or other forms of restriction ahead of the Tiananmen massacre anniversary, reported the rfa.org Jun 3.

Dissident political commentator Zha Jianguo and veteran journalist Gao Yu are under house arrest at their Beijing homes, while rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and his wife have been taken on a forced “vacation” out of town, the report said.

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The massacre event used to be commemorated annually in Hong Kong, with tens of thousands of people occupying Victoria Park in 2019 for the last major vigil before pandemic restrictions curbed gatherings and Beijing imposed the National Security Law.

On Jun 2, police warned residents not to participate in any “unlawful assemblies” and on Jun 3 night cordoned off the area, telling anyone there to move on, reported the scmp.com Jun 4.

Beijing has also warned several consulates of Western countries in Hong Kong and Macao to refrain from openly commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown following a ban on an annual vigil in the city to mark the anniversary of the event, reported the report said.

The Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong “asked us not to tweet/retweet or publicly say something about Jun 4,” the reported quoted a European envoy based in Hong Kong as saying Jun 4.

Last year, the US consulate and EU office in Hong Kong lit up candles at their windows in an unprecedented move, drawing a rebuke from Beijing accusing them of “playing with fire”, the report noted.

China may have banned the event’s anniversary throughout its territories, but campaigners have vowed to hold public events around the world to remember the military crackdown, including in Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia, the aljazeera.com report said.

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