In recent weeks, Chinese authorities have detained and questioned dozens of activists and family members of victims of the June Fourth crackdown ahead of its 25th Anniversary.
On June 4th 1989, students gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, asking for more Democracy. The number of people killed when People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tanks and troops entered Beijing on the night of June 3-4, 1989 remains a mystery.
Beijing authorities first put the death toll at “nearly 300”, but has never issued an official toll or list of names, and has always maintained that the violence was necessary to end the unrest.
On May 3 2014, around 20 human rights lawyers, academics, and family members of victims attended a seminar in Beijing, where they called for a public inquiry into the crackdown on unarmed civilians by the (PLA). Many of them were arrested by the Chinese police.
Activists and journalists put in criminal detention
According to “Human Rights in China” web site, on May 6, five activists were detained in Beijing: lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who is charged with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”; Hu Shigen, former political prisoner and lecturer at Beijing Language and Culture University; Xu Youyu, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Liu Di, writer; and Hao Jian, professor at Beijing Film Academy. All were among the attendees of a “2014 June Fourth Seminar” on May 3.
Guangdong activists Xie Wenfei, Luo Xiangyang,
Zhang Wanhe, Yang Sui and Wu Bin were taken away from their homes by police beginning on April 29, and later placed under criminal detention for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” Luo’s lawyer Wu Kuiming said.
Chinese authorities have placed a number of rights activists under house arrest after they protested over Cao Shunli death on March 14. Cao died in Chinese police custody after being denied medical treatment. After her death, she, was nominated for the 2014 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
Wuhan-based dissident Qin Yongmin, who has already served a lengthy jail term for helping to found the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP), was taken with his wife Zhao Suli from their home by state security police officers on Sunday, friends and fellow activists said.
Qin, 57, a veteran dissident who also served time in the wake of the 1981 “Democracy Wall” movement, was last in online contact with activists late Saturday, according to rights activist Li Yong.
In an open letter to President Xi Jinping, Qin said that no official bodies in China is charged with the protection of human rights, and called on the government to set up a human rights ministry.
Earlier this month, Gao Yu, a prominent journalist whose disappearance since April 24 was widely believed to be connected to the upcoming anniversary of June Fourth, has been criminally detained on suspicion of leaking state secrets.
Freelance journalist Xiang Nanfu was criminally detained for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” after he contributed sensitive stories to the overseas-based Boxun news website.
Member of Tiananmen Mothers group in “soft detention”
Chinese authorities are preventing Ding Zilin and her husband from returning to Beijing until after June 4. Ding is a key member of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of survivors and family members of victims of June Fourth.
On the night of June 3, 1989, Ding and Jiang’s son, Jiang Jielian, then 17 and a high school student, was shot in the back and killed by government troops. In previous years around June 4, the couple held private memorial services either at their home or at Muxidi, where their son was killed. This will be the first year that they are not allowed to be in Beijing.
According to sources, state security personnel told Ding and her husband, Jiang, who had spent the past several weeks in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, that they would not be allowed to travel back to Beijing on May 7, as they had originally planned, but may do so on June 5.