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China: More Censorship and Arrests on the Anniversary of Tiananmen

By Wang Zhicheng
June 5th, 2013
Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

The Mothers of Tiananmen were not allowed to honor the memory of their killed children. Hong Kong journalists were stopped in the square. Words and images of candles that refer to the day of the massacre were censored online. In Hong Kong, more than 100,000 people expected at vigil.

BEIJING, China (AsiaNews) - Chinese police were hard at work to stop and restrict activists, dissidents and journalists, by blocking any prayer or act of remembrance dedicated to the massacre of 4 June 1989, including on the internet.

Tuesday morning, police detained and interrogated some Hong Kong reporters trying to tape the flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square. Their equipment was seized and the recorded material was deleted.

Zhang Xianling, from the group 'Mothers of Tiananmen', an organisation that represents the relatives of the young people killed by army tanks on that fateful day, said that at least ten police officers were deployed around her house compared to only three or four police in previous years.

Although they prevented the cleaning lady from entering, she said she would do anything to honour her 19-year-old son Wang Nan in the square where he was killed.

Group founder Ding Zilin said she was warned that she would not be allowed to go to Mixidi, near Tiananmen Square, to honour with flowers her son who was killed at the age of 17.

Dissident Hu Jia, who has served three and a half years in prison for posting articles on the internet, was followed from Beijing to Guangzhou. He wanted to return to the capital by 2 June, but was prevented because he constituted a "security risk."

Heavy-handed pressure and censorship have not spared the web. On Sina Weibo, words like 'candle' and 'square' are off-limits in search engines when users tried to express their participation in the memory of Tiananmen by posting the picture of a candle.

Despite the restrictions, many did find a way to commemorate the massacre through veiled references. For instance, the number '64', which refers to June 4, has become the most clicked term on search engines.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, many groups, especially young people (pictured), are preparing a vigil in memory of the martyrs of Tiananmen. Organisers hope to attract more than 100,000 people.

One of the leaders, Lee Cheuk-yan, said that this year Hong Kongers should repeat their demand for justice on behalf of the fallen of Tiananmen and show their pain to President Xi Jinping, who seems be following an even more authoritarian path than his predecessor Hu Jintao.

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