05/07/2014, 00.00
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Academics, lawyers, Christians arrested for taking part in (private) seminar on Tiananmen

by Wang Zhicheng
The four people held are accused of "sowing disorder". Many other participants in the seminar were detained for questioning by the police . The Tiananmen massacre has led to an intensification of today’s social ills: corruption, injustice, abuse of power. Chinese Communist Party’s invitation to seek and state the truth . For June 4, Hu Jia calls for people to dress in mourning. Journalist Gao Yu has also disappeared.

Beijing ( AsiaNews) - Two university professors, a Human Rights lawyer, a Protestant Christian head of an underground house church have been arrested and accused of "sowing unrest" for taking part on May 3 in a seminar in a private home to commemorate the events of June 4, 1989: The pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square and the massacre that followed .

Since 1989 the Chinese government has banned any commemoration of the event that has marked the nation's history and arrested activists and personalities who dare to defy the ban. But usually, these arrests take place a few days before the fateful date; This year they have started a month earlier.

The four detained for having participated in the seminar are: Xu Youyu , a retired professor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Liu Di, a dissident writer, already imprisoned in 2002; human rights Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who had participated in the Tiananmen movement in 1989; Hu Shigen, dissident writer and leader of a unrecognized Protestant house church.

Other participants in the seminar have disappeared and possibly are being detained.  These include Hao Jian, a professor at the Beijing Film Academy and Liang Xiaoyan, a member of the '89 movement, former teacher and head of an NGO .

Other personalities who attended the seminar were detained for questioning by the police, but since released. These include: Cui Weiping, a professor at the Beijing Film Academy; Guo Yuhua, a sociology professor at Qinghua University; Qin Hui, a professor of history at the same university; Wang Xiaoshan, freelance writer, who was not physically present, but sent a written intervention.

According to Yaxue Cao from "China Change" before the meeting - which was attended by around 15 people (see photo) - public security had called many of them to stop them from participating, but no one has answered the call.

Other qualified individuals who took part in the seminar are:

Li Xuewen, independent academic and writer; Wang Dongcheng, a professor at China Youth University for Political Sciences; Wu Wei, an independent academic and government representative at the time of Zhao Ziyang; Xu Youyu , a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Ye Fu, freelance writer; Zhang Xianling, one of the Tiananmen mothers; Zhou Feng, associate professor at the China Youth University for Political Sciences.

Other people who could not attend, sent their written comments. Among them: Chen Ziming, academic dissident; He Weifang, a law professor at Beijing University; Murong Xuecun, freelance writer .

For the dissident Hu Jia, who was sentenced to four years for his commitment, the immediate police response is due to the fact that the participants in the seminar are highly influential personalities in society. Hu also invited the entire population of China to dress in mourning for June 4 .

During the seminar , there was once again the assertion that the movement of June 4 was not "counter-revolutionary", as the leadership of the Communist Party continues to affirm, but a demonstration of unarmed citizens. This is why nothing can justify the violence and suppression that followed .

Some of the participants pointed out that the military repression of the time has led to the social ills of today: the abuse of power, abuse of the population, corruption, injustice - so typical of the Chinese political system - have become uncontrollable since June 4, 1989.

All were in agreement at the seminar, that no one should expect a change in the authorities' attitude Tiananmen because it is the people who must judge what is right or wrong, and not the leaders. Moreover the Party should be asked to do what the people already do: seek and state the truth, with objectivity and justice, in a journey toward a political transition.

"China Change" also reports that Gao Yu, a freelance journalist in Beijing, has disappeared since 24 April: she was to go to Hong Kong to take part in some events related to June 4. Yao Jianfu , another independent professor, a friend of Gao Yu, has also gone missing.


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