01/18/2005, 00.00
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Chinese media give Zhao's death little notice

The government defends the Tiananmen massacre. Hong Kong's Legislative Council denied the right to observe a minute of silence for the dead leader.

Beijing-Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) –Zhao Ziyang's death was front-page news around the world but not in China. The event was reported in a four-line news release by China's Xinhua news agency and was carried on some websites, but neither television nor the evening papers saw fit to inform the public about it.

Furthermore, the government stopped online chat rooms from talking about the event. Sina.com and Sohu.com, two of the country's most popular websites, were immediately blocked. A manager for Sina.com said that "everyone could figure out the reasons"—orders "from higher up" had come down with instructions to shut down all chat rooms discussing Zhao's death.

Only on a few university websites such as those of Qinghua and Beida, did comments make it online. However, since universities are closed for winter break these venues were not much visited.

The way Zhao is being treated in death is closely related to the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in 1989.

In response to reporters' questions in a press conference today, China's Foreign Minister Kong Quan, once again defended the actions of his government.

"The political disturbance and the problem of Zhao himself have already passed. What happened in 1989 has reached its conclusion," Kong said.

"The past 15 years have shown China's decision was correct. China's stability and development are in the interest of China and in the interest of the whole world. What happened in the past few years has already proven the judgment then was right," he added.

In Hong Kong, Legislative Council President Rita Fan turned down a request that the council observe a minute of silence for Zhao.

In 1984 Zhao Ziyang and then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher signed a Joint Sino-British Declaration on the future of Hong Kong to return the territory to China whilst guaranteeing it a high degree of autonomy.

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See also
Reformist Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang dies
Authorities forced to respond to Zhao’s Memoirs on Tiananmen
The dissident of Tiananmen: Zhao Ziyang's courage and the Party's fear
Zhao Ziyang, a prophet for today's China
For Wu Bangguo China will never adopt a Western-style democracy


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