06/04/2009, 00.00
CHINA

The world remembers Tiananmen, controversy between the US and China

Hillary Clinton: reveal the names of the dead and release those being held in prison since 1989. China responds calling it “grave interference” in internal affairs. Worldwide vigils are held, 100 thousand expected for the annual Victoria Park gathering in Hong Kong. The President of Taiwan criticises Beijing.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The world has commemorated the martyrs of Tiananmen Square, a “light which continues to shine”.  From the United States to India to Australia, ordinary people and governments remember the sacrifice of thousands of Chinese students and workers who died for their love of their homeland and freedom.

US secretary of State Hillary Clinton today invited the Beijing government to publish the list of names of those who fell on June 4th 1989 in Tiananmen Square and release others who are still being held in prison 20 years later.  She called on China, as an emerging world economic power, to “to examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal”.

China’s response was immediate and strong, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang spoke of “deep dissatisfaction” and called Clinton’s comments a “gross interference in China's internal affairs”.

Over 100 thousand people are expected to attend today’s annual candle light vigil in Victoria Park Hong Kong, despite the threat of rain.  According to the organisers, 48 thousand attended the rally in 2008 and 70 thousand to mark its 10th anniversary.  For the pat 3 days students have been staging a hunger strike of solidarity in the central Times Square.

Lee Cheuk-yan, a democratic parliamentarian in Hong Kong, says “the people will never forget not even in 20 years from now.  The light of Tiananmen will continue to shine in Hong Kong”.  There will be speeches by former students from the 1989 movement, such as Xiong Hiaoji, who has been in exile since 1992.

The atmosphere in Macao is a stark contrast, where authorities have prohibited the arrival of the former student leader Wuerkaixi; despite the fact it would not have been his first visit to the city. After the massacre he was the second most wanted man by Chinese police and now he lives in exile.

Pro Tibet groups have invited Tibetans to organise commemoration demonstrations.

Taiwanese President Ma Yingjeou has asked Beijing to face the truth about Tiananmen.

In Australia, Premier Kevin Rudd has appealed to China to improve its human rights record.  In Sydney, a demonstration was held in front of the Chinese embassy, with banners that read “June 4th” and “Never Forget”.

There will be solidarity rallies and candle light vigils held in India, Japan, Germany and the United States. In Rome there will be an open debate with the participation via satellite link from Washington of Lu Decheng, Yu Zhijian and Yu Dongyue, who on May 23rd 1989 initiated the protest by hurling red paint against the portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square. This gesture resulted in their being sentenced to between 9 and 17 years in a forced labour camp or laogai (re-education-through-work).  Tibetan Reting Tempa Tsering, who spent 22 years in a laogai in China, will also take part.

In Milan a documentary on the events of that night will be shown with a conference to follow presented by PIME missionary Fr. Giancarlo Politi.

 
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