Chinese Dissidents Sent on Forced ‘Vacations’ Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary

Rights activists in Hong Kong plan a photo exhibit at a June 4 Memorial Hall to mark the 32nd anniversary of the bloodshed that ended the Beijing Spring.

Authorities in Beijing are forcing dissidents and rights activists to leave town ahead of the politically sensitive June 4 anniversary of the bloodshed, which ended weeks of student-led protests in Beijing and other Chinese cities in the spring of 1989.

"They've been in contact a few times already, and I have to leave town for June 4," Zha, who once tried to stand as an independent candidate against the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in local People's Congress elections, told RFA.

"I can't stay here in Beijing over the next few days, just like every year on June 4," he said. "I will have to leave town for CCP centenary on July 1 as well."

The Tiananmen Mothers victims' group of more than 100 family members issued its annual statement on Monday, calling on the CCP to move ahead with compensation, a historical reassessment of the 1989 student movement and subsequent massacre of unarmed civilians by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

"June 4, 1989, the People's Liberation Army dispatched tanks and soldiers with live ammunition to shoot and crush to death unarmed students and residents of Beijing," the group said.

"Since that tragedy took place, 32 years have gone by, and still our citizens are prevented from commemorating those who died in public," it said. "Younger people don't even know about the massacre in that year, or they don't believe it happened."

Tiananmen Mothers member Zhang Xianling, whose 19-year-old son Wang Nan was gunned down by the PLA in Beijing, said the group's demands have remained constant.

"The first is that we want to hear the truth, and the second is that we demand compensation," Zhang told RFA. "The third is accountability."

"We have, of course, proposed ways to talk to the government about that, and we understand if they can't accept our demands immediately," she said. "They won't be resolved overnight."

Meanwhile, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, writer Tan Zuoren has been warned off giving media interviews ahead of the anniversary.

"I had to go out of town for three days last year, and I haven't been told I have to do that this year," Tan told RFA. "But I can't speak out or give media interviews in the days around June 4."

Forced vacations

Beijing-based dissident Ji Feng, who took part in the 1989 student movement, said he was being forced to leave town by police from his hometown in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

"They came from Guizhou at just after 2.00 p.m.," Ji said. "One was the secretary of the [CCP's] political legal affairs committee of Tongzi county; another was a captain in the state security police, and another was a former state security police captain."

"They wanted to talk about where I was going ... We have to leave tomorrow morning," Ji said.

Meanwhile, friends and relatives of retired Guizhou University professor Yang Shaozheng said he had likely already been taken out of town on an enforced "vacation" ahead of the anniversary.

In Hong Kong, the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said it would reopen its June 4 Memorial Museum, displaying a photo exhibition to mark the crackdown.

Alliance spokesperson Richard Tsoi said the Alliance was making the move after police rejected its application for an annual candlelight vigil gathering in Hong Kong's Victoria Park.

"We believe that the [opening of the] Memorial Hall is completely within the law," Tsoi said, in reference to a draconian national security law imposed by the CCP on Hong Kong last year, which bans public criticism of the authorities.

"We will be on our guard, so as to deal with any provocations or challenges that may arise," Tsoi told reporters.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Chan Yun Nam for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by Radio Free Asia.

This post was originally published on Radio Free.

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