06/03/2016, 12.24
CHINA
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Tiananmen anniversary: Arrests, liquor and the duty to remember

A group of democracy activists challenge the authorities by traveling to China to commemorate the victims of the June 4 massacre. A photo taken near the square, theater of the massacre, infuriates Beijing police. Well known dissidents "invited to take a vacation” by state agents. In Sichuan a poet and a tea master produce a liqueur labelled "June 4, 1989" and write on the label: "Never forget, never surrender." A survivor: "We do it all for young people, who need to know what happened".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Arrests, "forced vacations", obsessive controls on the internet and in real life. Dissidents and democratic activists from across China are being subjected to the excessive controls by the communist authorities that characterize the lead up to politically sensitive anniversaries. June 4 it is one of the most sensitive: the memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre, which occurred 27 years ago. Amid attempts to silence any memories of it until it fades away.

Guangdong activist Bu Yongzhu, denounces: "Our young people and future generations know very little of the events of 1989. They must face the 'Great Firewall' [the" wall "of the Chinese online censorship ed] before they can read what happened in Tiananmen square. It's a sensitive topic, but I wanted to commemorate it, because if we don't, maybe young people, or future generations, will forget about it altogether. And if memory fades, it will have been useless".

On the night between 3 and 4 June 1989, the Chinese army "People’s Liberation" put an end to the movement of about one million students and workers who for over a month occupied Tiananmen Square to demand more democracy and less corruption among members of the Chinese Communist Party. According to best estimates, between 200 and 2 thousand people were killed by gunfire or crushed by army tanks; tens of thousands arrested in the following days and condemned as "counter-revolutionaries" because they were threatening the hegemony of the party.

From that day on a silent internal battle has begun between the authorities – who want to forget what happened – and a large group who instead carries the memory of the movement. One of the fixed appointments over the years is the one with the "Tiananmen Mothers" group, which brings together the families of the victims of Tiananmen, which every on June 1 publishes an open letter asking for the truth, punishment for perpetrators and compensation.

Because of the almost complete gag imposed by the authorities on the issue, the manner in which the Democrats remember 1989 often changes and become more imaginative. This is the case of Qi Zhiyong, Li Xiaoling, Jiang Jianjun and Wang Fulei: the four wore t-shirts that read "June 4th. Never forget "and got close enough to Tiananmen Square to take photographs. In addition to the slogan, they wrote: "When the government fears the people, then comes the tyranny." Even if you are not able to access the "political heart" of Beijing, given the imposing security cordon set up in view of the anniversary, they managed to get close enough to take pictures.

Qi is a survivor: his legs were crushed by a tank on the night of June 3, and he is now crippled. Speaking to Radio Free Asia says: "Now I am under surveillance, because my health does not allow me to 'go on vacation' as requested by the State. The police put me under investigation".

In the company of security agents Bao Tong and Gao Yu, two of the most critical voices of the current government, “have gone on vacation”. The first was personal secretary and friend of Zhao Ziyiang, communist secretary at the time of repression, and who along with his superior, took to the streets to beg the young people to leave before the arrival of the soldiers. The second is one of the most famous Chinese political journalists admired worldwide. Both were taken away.

The authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan also arrested a "the tea master" Fu Hailu and the poet Ma Qing, who tried to sell a new liqueur called "June 4, 1989". The two wrote on the label: "Never forget, never surrender" and drew a man sitting in front of advancing tanks. The liquor, always reads the label, "has aged 27 years."

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