China detains hundreds of activists on anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre

[JURIST] Chinese authorities on Monday detained hundreds of activists in Beijing marking the twenty-third anniversary of the Tiananmen Square [BBC backgrounder] crackdown. The arrests came a day after the US urged [press statement] China to free Tiananmen Square activists who are still in detention. The US also has called on China Sunday to ensure the universal human rights of its citizens and to stop its discriminatory practice against human rights activities. China still views the June 4 demonstration as a rebellion and has not released those who were sentenced for their participation in the demonstration of 1989. It also prohibits any mentioning of the incident in the state media as well as on the Internet. Numerous petitioners were rounded up in buses, registered and sent home. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou [official website, in Chinese], also gave his statement [text] concerning the June 4 incident. He noted that China enjoyed economic growth in the past few years but suffered from stagnation of political reform. He said that China should use the June 4 incident as an opportunity to move toward a "more diverse, open, and democratic society" by addressing the problems of the event and trying to solve it. The Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 involved the death of several hundred civilians. They were killed during the government's attempt to dissolve a democratic protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

China is still criticized for its lack of human rights protection and its actions against human rights activists. On Sunday, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] the Chinese government to release Tibetan protesters who had been imprisoned for demonstrating against Chinese rule over Tibet. In May, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] asked [JURIST report] the US to "try harder" to promote the rule of law in China. He revealed that Chinese officials are corrupt and engage in unlawful activities that would deprive citizens of their basic human rights. During the same month, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that the Chinese para-police organization is abusing its power by using excessive force against civilians and arresting them despite their lack of authority to do either. In April, a Beijing court sentenced [JURIST report] a Chinese housing activist and lawyer who assisted victims of governmental land seizures to two years and eight months in prison for fraud and "inciting disturbance" in the city.

 

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