A call for unity in Hong Kong comes as many online are remembering the day in veiled references and by posting photos and memes
As more than 100,000 protesters are expected to attend the annual vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on Tuesday night, mainland Chinese censors have taken several measures to prevent public remembrance of June 4, 1989, online and offline.
Candle icons posted by thousands of people on Chinese microblogs have been censored by Sina Weibo. The images appeared on Monday as a way for people to voice their grief for the scores of workers killed in a blaze at a chicken slaughterhouse in Jilin province.
On Tuesday, Sina Weibo took action to prevent similar expressions of grief for those killed in the armed crackdown against protesters in Beijing 24 years ago.
Dozens of related search terms have been also blocked from microblogs, including the words “today” and “tomorrow”.
Despite the bans, many are remembering the day in veiled references and by posting photos and memes. The number 64, referring to June 4, even made it to Sina Weibo’s most popular search terms, even though no results appeared.
In Hong Kong, organisers of the vigil said it would “show [President Xi Jinping] that Hongkongers are upset with him as new leader”.
Source: SCMP “Chinese evade censors, as HK journalists stopped at Tiananmen”
Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) says in one report, “On this the 24th anniversary of Tiananmen incident, a flag-hoisting ceremony was held at Tiananmen Square as usual.”
“Since yesterday evening, security has been upgraded at many scenic spots in Beijing. The air is heavy at Muxidi, where troops entered the city that year. It is heavily guarded. Lots of police and plainclothes officers are patrolling the streets. Fire distinguishers are placed by the side of roads, which are filled with police patrol cars and cars of police task force. The cars occupied all the parking spaces.”
In its report on an HK reporter being detained, RTHK says, “People who enter Tiananmen Square have to pass security checks.”
“When a Hong Kong reporter stationed in Beijing got off his car, immediately a large number of policemen rushed towards him to intercept him and check his papers. Meanwhile, they opened his car and took away his key. At the same time policemen came to reinforce from every direction. Some of them yelled, “Catch the reporter”.
Note: It was only one reporter! Why was the panic?
“The policemen searched the equipment on the car and took the reporter’s home visit permit for verification. One policeman of Tiananmen Police Station said that it was merely a routine check not directed at any of the reporter’s activities.
“A staff of the Exit and Entry Control Office came to check the reporter’s identity once more, saying that they administer reporters jointly with the China Journalists Association.
“The reporter was detained for investigation for one hour. When he left, the police told him that it had been made clear to everyone and everyone must know what to do.”
Sources: RTHK “Security tight though national flag hoisted as usual” and “Hong Kong reporter detained and checked for one hour at Tiananmen” (excerpts translated by Chan Kai Yee)
Shenzhen University bans students from ‘black shirt’ campaign on June 4 eve dated today
Reblog of Ernest Kao’s blog at SCMP on June 4, 2013
University on edge, forbidding students from wearing Tiananmen ‘mourning clothes’ ahead of June 4 anniversary
As Hong Kong prepares to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown, authorities in neighbouring Guangdong province are beginning to get shifty about domestic dissenters.
“Black shirt” campaigns to mourn victims of the June 4, 1989, event are being pre-emptively suppressed on university campuses, China Digital Times (CDT) reported on Monday. The campaign, which began in Hong Kong last year, involves people dressing in black attire to mourn victims who were killed in Beijing in the government crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests 24 years ago.
Twitter user @64_black_shirt posted a Shenzhen University memo sent out to campus faculty and staff on Friday. It warned them “not to go to Hong Kong” and to be alert for any “situations” that would need to be “handled”.
“The international reactionary organisation has recently launched a ‘mourning clothes’ movement. The university must carry out stability maintenance work especially well, unconditionally obeying school plans,” the CDT quoted the memo as saying.
“There must be no reactionary speech, [online] forum discussions or demonstrations.”
The note said the school would clamp down on any sign of protest on and off campus, including in departments, dormitories and cafeterias.
Guangdong is seen by many as relatively freer than the rest of the mainland, because of its more liberal media, proximity to Hong Kong and history of being one of the country’s first special economic zones spearheaded by Deng Xiaoping.
Last year, the June 4 candlelight vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park saw its highest turnout ever. Organisers, who placed the headcount at 180,000, are expecting a record turnout at this year’s event.
Source: SCMP “Shenzhen University bans students from ‘black shirt’ campaign on June 4 eve”
China is experimenting with more subtle methods to censor Internet search results ahead of the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, according to a group that monitors blocked websites in the country.
In the past, a search for keywords in China related to the events of June 4, 1989, came up with an explicit message saying: “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for (the blocked keyword) can not be displayed.”
But GreatFire.org said in the lead up to the anniversary certain searches, such as “June 4 incident”, had been intermittently returning a series of “carefully selected results”, though it was impossible to click through to the actual webpages.
The organisation said this was an example of “censorship at its worst”, with users duped into believing the keyword they were searching for was not a sensitive topic.
Troops killed hundreds of protesters during the pro-democracy protests in Beijing, but GreatFire.org said searches for “Tiananmen incident” returned links to an unrelated happening in the square from 1976.
It said the changes were not applied consistently, concluding that the authorities were conducting tests to improve their control systems.
The Internet in China is purged of politically sensitive websites and Beijing closely monitors the hundreds of millions of web users to prevent organised dissent. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are banned.
The system of online censorship is dubbed the “Great Firewall”, a term combining the words “Great Wall” and computer “firewall”.
Source: Times Live “China experimenting with more ‘subtle’ Internet censorship”
China accused the United States of “prejudice” on Saturday after the U.S. State Department renewed a call for Beijing to fully account for its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in June 1989.
The United States should “immediately rectify its wrongdoings and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs so as not to sabotage China-U.S. relations”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an English-language statement released via the official Xinhua news agency.
China has already reached a “clear conclusion” about the events of 1989, Hong said.
The U.S. State Department, in a statement released on its website, said China should “end harassment of those who participated in the protests and fully account for those killed, detained, or missing.”
After initially tolerating the student-led demonstrations in the spring of 1989 centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the Communist Party sent troops to crush the protests on the night of June 3-4, killing hundreds, according to rights groups.
China labeled the protests as “counter-revolutionary”.
The topic remains taboo in China and the leadership has rejected all calls to overturn its verdict.
Human rights remains a thorny topic between China and the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama are due to meet in California next week for an informal summit where the issue of human rights could be raised.
Source: Reuters “China accuses U.S. of ‘prejudice’ over 1989 protest comments”
Note: A “clear conclusion” may not be a correct conclusion. The US is right in urging China to “end harassment” and “fully account for those killed, detained, or missing”. It is also the demand of Chinese and world people.
In fact, the so-called “clear conclusion” is by no means clear. When students and other citizens were massacred, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) justified it by regarding Tiananmen Protests as “counter-revolutionary”. When Tiananmen butcher Li Peng wrote his memoir on the event titled “The Critical Moment–Li Peng Diaries” as soon as he retired in 2003, he used that term to justify the massacre, but it seems that the CCP Central authority does not approve so that publication of Li’s book is not allowed.
Not long after the massacre, Chinese authorities and media used the term “riot”. It was soon replaced by the term “turmoil”.
I would like to ask Hong Lei: Is he clear whether it is “counter-revolutionary”, “riot” or “turmoil”?
However, it is very clear that Tiananmen protesters were justified in demanding human rights and democracy and that if the CCP massacres Chinese citizens again when they demand human rights and democracy, it will collapse.
The story of the orphan of Zhao first appeared in Zuo Zhuan, the well-known Commentary of Zuo on The Spring and Autumn Annals and then described by the great historian Sima Qian in his Records of the Grand Historian.
It was later adapted in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368) by Ji Junxiang in his play The Great Revenge of the Orphan of Zhao. It was the first play translated into European languages and well accepted in Europe.
The story is so popular in China that recently CCTV adapted it into a prime-time TV series The Orphan of Zhao with 41 episodes.
In the story, Zhao Shuo, the highest general in the Dukedom of Jin was framed up by Tu’an Gu, his political enemy. Tu’an Gu killed Zhao Shuo and all his 300 family members except Zhao’s orphan Zhao Wu, who was hidden and secretly brought up by Zhao Shuo’s loyal retainer Cheng Ying. When Zhao Wu had grown up 20 years later, the Duke rehabilitated his family and allowed Zhao Wu to kill Tu’an Gu to revenge his father’s death.
According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao, near the end of Episode 37, Cheng Ying’s wife Song Xiang asked him, “Is it time for Zhao to be rehabilitated?” while in Episode 38 Cheng Ying said to Tu’an Gu, Zhao family’s murderer, “You have arrested all those you want to arrest and killed all those you want to kill, but rumor about the Zhao’s has continued to spread among the people endlessly……Those people are an irresistible force.”
Those short dialogues in the TV series entirely fit the plot and must have nothing to do with Zhao Ziyang. However, they have given rise to hot discussions among Chinese netizens. Some of them believe that the playwright wrote the dialogues to hint that Zhao Ziyang should be rehabilitated. That did not seem the case. However, netizens’ hot response reflected people’s desire to rehabilitate Tiananmen protests and Zhao Ziyang, the general secretary who was dismissed and placed under house arrest due to his refusal to give the order to use troops to deal with the students at Tiananmen Square.
Just as Cheng Ying said in the TV series “Those people are an irresistible force.”
Source: Ming Pao “Rehabilitation of Zhao: CCTV’s TV series regarded as hinting at June 4” (summary translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
According to Ming Pao, Chinese magazine “Yanhuang Chunqiu” published in its recent issue a letter by Bao Tong, former secretary of dismissed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. Bao recalls in the letter what he saw at a Politburo meeting when former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang suffered a heart attack. People are surprised by the publication of Bao’s letter and think that the ban on publication of Bao Tong’s writings has been lifted. Bao Tong’s son was also surprised, but said that the authority had banned publication of any writing by Bao Tong in China since the June 4 Incident and that as far as he knew there had been no relaxation of the surveillance and control over his father.
“Yanhuang Chunqiu” is a PRC monthly on politics and history that dare to speak out. This time Bao Tong’s writing on what happened when Hu Yaobang had heart attack is published as a letter from readers about 1,000 characters long. At its beginning, it says that as an old article on the incident of Hu Yaobang having heart attack fails to give a complete description, he feels that it is necessary to write the letter for clarification.
Jiang Zemin did not know how to use the first aid kit when Hu Yaobang had heart attack.
Bao Tong recollected that when the Politburo was having a meeting at about 9.00am April 8, 1989, Hu Yaobang was sitting 3 to 4 meters away from him. At about 10.00am, Hu Yaobang suddenly held his breast in one hand and waved to Zhao Ziyang, saying, “Comrade Ziyang, I do not feel well here and have to ask for leave.” Zhao told him to stay put and immediately called for the doctor. Jiang Zeming, a Politburo member then, took out the first aid kit for heart attack but did not know how to use it. Staff soon came in haste and Wen Jiabao, the then director of the General Office of the CCP Central Committee, directed the work of emergency treatment.
Bao Tong stresses that Hu Yaobang persevered in doing his job when he was attacked by the disease and “was our respected and beloved leader”; while Zhao Ziyang who presided over the meeting gave priority to the emergency treatment and interrupted the meeting. “All those are facts,” says Bao Tong. The date of the letter as marked at its end is June 12, 2012.
Bao Pu was surprised and pointed out that there had been no relaxation in the surveillance and control.
At the end, Hu Yaobang died on April 15 while Students’ mourning activities finally developed into the June 4 Incident. At Ming Pao’s enquiry, Bao Tong’s son Bao Pu responded by saying that since the June 4 Incident the authority had banned the publication of any of Bao Tong’s writings in China and there had been no relaxation whatever of the surveillance and control. However, he was also very much surprised that though it was published as a “letter from readers”, it was indeed signed by Bao Tong and is not some indirect writing “based on oral narration”.
SCMP’s Cary Huang reports from Beijing today, “The Communist Party leadership decided to strengthen its security apparatus shortly after the June 4 military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 1989”, according to former top legislator Qiao Shi’s new book.
“The leadership decided to resume the Central Commission of Politics and Legal Affairs in early 1990, which had been downgraded to the ‘central leading group on politics and legal affairs’ two years earlier, in an effort to accommodate the social changes wrought by the demonstrations, according to Qiao Shi , the No 3 official at the time.”
“Rule of law and democracy advocator Qiao Shi returns” dated June 22
“Victory of Rule of Law over Despotism” dated March 31
SCMP says on June 20, 2012, “Two weeks after veteran pro-democracy activist Li Wangyang died under suspicious circumstances, some of his friends who have spoken out about his case remained detained by police or were still under house arrest yesterday, according to people familiar with them.”
“Activist Zhu Chengzhi, who was given a 10-day administrative detention by police on June 8 after disputing the official ruling that Li committed suicide, should have been released on Monday, but he was immediately taken into police custody again, according to fellow activist Wang Lihong .”
“Several of Li’s Hunan-based friends could not be reached by phone yesterday, and their whereabouts were unknown.
“One friend, Luo Xiaoqing, said by phone that he had been confined to his home for more than a week, with several guards blocking his front door 24 hours a day.”