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Home > News > World News > Article > On anniversary China tightens access to Tiananmen Square

On anniversary, China tightens access to Tiananmen Square

Updated on: 05 June,2023 08:24 AM IST  |  Beijing
Agencies |

The 34th anniversary of the 1989 pro-democracy protests on Sunday saw activists and artists detained in Hong Kong and security checks in Beijing

On anniversary, China tightens access to Tiananmen Square

A foreigner waits on his bicycle as people on bicycles are ordered to stop for identification check at a checkpoint along a street near Tiananmen Square in Beijing Sunday. Pic/AP

China tightened already strict access to Tiananmen Square in central Beijing on Sunday, the anniversary of 1989 pro-democracy protests.

In Hong Kong, which had been the last Chinese-controlled territory to hold commemorations, eight people, including activists and artists, were detained on the eve of the 34th anniversary of the crackdown, a move underscoring the city’s shrinking room for freedom of expression.

Police said in a statement late Saturday that four people were arrested for allegedly disrupting order in public spaces or carrying out acts with seditious intent. Four others were taken away on suspicion of breaching public peace. Authorities did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Saturday.

The large public space had been the scene for an annual candlelight gathering to remember the hundreds or thousands killed when army tanks and infantry descended on central Beijing on the night of June 3 and into the morning of June 4, 1989.

Discussion of the events has long been suppressed in China and become increasingly off-limits in Hong Kong since a sweeping national security law was imposed in June 2020, effectively barring anyone from holding memorial events. The death toll from the 1989 violence remains unknown and the Communist Party relentlessly harasses those at home or overseas who seek to keep the memory of the events alive.

In Beijing, additional security was seen around Tiananmen Square, which has long been ringed with security checks requiring those entering to show identification. Those passing by foot or on bicycle on Changan Avenue running north of the square were also stopped and forced to show identification. Those with journalist visas in their passports were told they needed special permission to even approach the area.

“The Chinese government continues to evade accountability for the decades-old Tiananmen Massacre, which has emboldened its arbitrary detention of millions, its severe censorship and surveillance, and its efforts to undermine rights internationally,” Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

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