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China tightens security on Tiananmen anniversary


Chinese police officers guard an area in front of Mao Zedong’s portrait in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Tuesday. Associated Press/Photo by Ng Han Guan

China tightens security on Tiananmen anniversary

Chinese authorities heightened security around Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Tuesday as the world marked the 30th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on student activists at the historic landmark. Authorities cordoned off roads and set up extra checkpoints as tourist activities continued. Several uniformed and plainclothes police officers stood guard.

On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops opened fire on tens of thousands of activists gathered at Tiananmen Square to protest for a free democracy. Between 500 and 2,600 people died, with up to 10,000 injured, according to a U.S. report.

While China mostly remains silent on the anniversary, Hong Kong and London staged memorials to mark the occasion. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said China has continued to cover up the truth behind the violence. “Please rest easy, Taiwan will absolutely adhere to democracy, adhere to freedom, regardless of threats or infiltration,” she said in a Facebook post.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo comforted families who lost loved ones and commended the activists’ “exemplary courage” on behalf of freedom and democracy. “Over the decades that followed, the United States hoped that China’s integration into the international system would lead to a more open, tolerant society,” he said. “Those hopes have been dashed.”

The Chinese Embassy in Washington responded to Pomepo’s statement, saying it “grossly intervenes” in China’s internal affairs and warning that anyone who attempts to bully Chinese people “will only end up in the ash heap of history.”


Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.

@onize_ohiks

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