China’s Rights Bodies Not Silent – Reuters
From Reuters, via The Brunei Times:
Key figures of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests may have been silenced at home or forced into exile abroad, but voices for reform in China are anything but silent.
Almost two decades after troops and tanks crushed the student-led demonstrations, the country’s democracy movement has mutated into a crusade involving a new generation of civil rights campaigners who have taken up the cudgels for the downtrodden.
“In the 1990s, the democracy movement paid attention mainly to June 4,” said veteran dissident Liu Xiaobo, referring to calls for the political rehabilitation of protesters killed or wounded in the crackdown on June 3-4, 1989.
“After 2000, thanks to the Internet, the popular opposition movement evolved to one where the focus varied from protecting the rights of grassroots groups to the environment, demolition and relocation of homes as well as Aids,” said Liu, who staged a hunger strike days before the massacre in support of protesters. [Full Text]
Also related, Chinese Human Rights Defenders (“promoting human rights and empowering grassroots activism in China”), one of the groups using the Internet to promote the “rights defense” movement, just released a list of 13 participants in the Tiananmen Square protests who remain in prison:
At least thirteen Beijing civilians sentenced to life in prison or a suspended death sentence for participating in the 1989 pro-democracy protests are still imprisoned in Beijing or its surrounding areas. CHRD has obtained the names of the thirteen – their prison terms and the locations of the prisons where they are imprisoned.
The cases of these “Tiananmen prisoners” may have been documented by international human rights groups, along with thousands of others imprisoned since 1989, but the fact that they remain in jail today, possibly along with unknown others, is not widely known and has not been acknowledged by the Chinese government. On the contrary, the government has vehemently denied that China has any political prisoners in its jails today and has dismissed any reports that it still jails people for participating in the 1989 movement as fabricated lies. [Full text]