4 June 2012
(c) 2012 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, June 4 -- Chinese authorities have tightened their grip on dissidents and family members of victims killed in the Tiananmen Square massacre on its 23rd anniversary, a human rights watchdog and Hong Kong media said Monday.
The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said family members of six victims who died in the bloody military crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in 1989 were tightly monitored as they mourned in the Wan'an public cemetery in Beijing for the annual ritual.
The Hong Kong-based group quoted Zhang Xianling, whose son Wang Nan died in the crackdown, as saying the families had to bargain with police before being allowed to enter the graveyard.
Police allowed the families to mourn individually but had asked them not to mourn together, the group said.
"Wang Nan, mom will do my best to find out the truth," Zhang said while being watched over by dozens of police, according to video clips shown by Hong Kong's Cable TV. "This is the 23rd year already and still we can't mourn without being harassed."
Police officers at the graveyard watched over people who came and barred reporters from talking to the mourners outside it.
A statement issued last week by Beijing's Tongzhou district government called for heightened effort in maintaining social stability, urging "volunteers" with red armbands to report on fellow citizens' activity during what has been deemed a sensitive period.
Security measures in Tiananmen Square were tight as thousands of visitors came to view the flag-raising ceremony. Patrol cars and police officers were inside the square, inspecting every individual entering and barring some Hong Kong reporters carrying audio devices from entering, Cable TV said.
A heavy police presence was also visible in Guangdong Province where police cars patrolled around the Guangzhou City government building and other sites where people might gather, the report said.
Armed soldiers opened fire at the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square on June 3, 1989, to crush the weeks-long protest, leaving hundreds if not thousands of protesters dead.
Beijing has never publicly addressed the massacre, which has become a taboo and a sensitive topics barred from open discussions in China.
Semi-autonomous Hong Kong is the only Chinese city that allows holding of an annual memorial, which the organizer expected to draw more than 150,000 participants.