BEIJING – The Chinese government has allegedly increased suppression of activists ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, according to reports by human rights organizations.
“We have documented a number of cases involving 10 individuals either detained or forced into disappearance in connection to the anniversary,” nonprofit Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in a statement on Thursday.
The organization urged the Chinese government to “immediately and unconditionally” release the arrested activists.
“The Chinese government has systematically curtailed citizens’ exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, information, press, peaceful assembly, and association in discussing or commemorating or obtaining information about the 1989 movement and Tiananmen massacre,” the CHRD added.
Amnesty International also criticized the Chinese government in a statement on Tuesday, saying the authorities “must end a wave of persecution targeting those seeking to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.”
“Over recent weeks, police have detained, placed under house arrest or threatened dozens of activists who are seeking to mark the June 4 anniversary, as well as relatives of those killed,” the statement added.
“The Chinese government must accept that no amount of suppression will ever erase the horror of the wholesale slaughter that took place in and around Tiananmen Square,” Amnesty International East Asia Research Director Roseann Rife said.
She added that the first step towards justice would be to allow people in China – including elderly citizens whose children were killed in the massacre – to remember the victims.
On the night between June 3-4, 1989, soldiers and tanks of the People’s Liberation Army cleared out Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square by force – reportedly killing and attacking a large number of people – after thousands of university students and workers had protested for weeks against corruption, demanding more political rights.
The exact number of deaths is not known and varies widely between hundreds – the Tiananmen Mothers group consists of the family members of 155 mortal victims – and many thousands, depending on the source.