06/03/2005, 00.00
CHINA

Amnesty: Beijing must face up to Tiananmen massacre

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Amnesty International Friday called on the Chinese government to "release all people imprisoned during the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests" and "arrest those responsible for the June 4 massacre".

"Tiananmen clearly remains very much alive today for the Chinese public and the demands by Chinese citizens for justice continue," the international rights group said in a statement.

"We reiterate –said also - our call on the Chinese government to conduct an independent inquiry into the killing of unarmed students and demonstrators. Those found responsible should be tried and brought to justice. We also call on the government to release all those who are still imprisoned in connection with the Tiananmen crackdown and who never received fair trials."

China's communist-led government has taken the position that foreign concerns regarding the crackdown are "outdated", while maintaining that without it China would not have been able to enjoy 16 years of robust economic growth. Officials repeated that position on Thursday.

During 6 weeks troops of the national army backed by tanks, massacred defenceless protesters. The demonstrators had been calling for democracy and an end to corruption for Chinese society in the streets of the Chinese capital. The death toll of the massacre was never released by the government, but independent international organisations say thousands of people were killed around the square, in side streets and in the days following 4 June.

"The on-going passion that surrounds the issue in China is clear from the continuous string of detentions of citizens who seek to post information on the internet regarding the dead or missing from 1989," Amnesty said.

The group listed several Chinese recently jailed for voicing opposition to the government's handling of the protests and also cited the continued harassment of a group of relatives of June 4 victims, known as the Tiananmen Mothers, group composed of 125 families of victims of the disaster in Tiannamen Square on 4 June 1989. The group is led by Ding Zilin.
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