Tiananmen anniversary quiet in Beijing; protests flare elsewhere
In this story:
June 4, 1997
Web posted at: 10:31 a.m. EDT (1431 GMT)
(CNN) -- Chinese authorities kept a careful watch on
Beijing'sTiananmen Square on Wednesday, the eighth
anniversary of the military attack on student protesters
that left hundreds, perhaps thousands, dead. Elsewhere in
the world, however, there were protests and memorials.
A L S O
In Tokyo, several Chinese protesters led by Wu'er Kaixi, a
student leader of the 1989 demonstrations who fled overseas
and now lives in Taiwan, scuffled with police outside the
Chinese Embassy. Two people were arrested.
Hong Kong, which comes under Chinese rule on July 1, held its
annual candlelight memorial to China's slain democracy
protesters. Organizers said they expected the turnout at
Victoria Park to be higher than the usual
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong say they plan to stage
the rally again next year, posing a critical test for China
and the semi-autonomous government it has approved for Hong
Few traces of massacre left
Witnesses to the attack by the People's Liberation Army on
3-4, 1989, said hundreds, perhaps thousands of Chinese
civilians were slain. Chinese leaders say the claims are
Most traces of the Tiananmen Square violence have vanished in
the eight years
since Communist Party leaders ordered the military to oust
democracy demonstrators from Tiananmen Square .
A repaving project is covering up the last of the tank tracks
on the Avenue of Eternal Peace bordering the square.
Many uniformed and plainclothes police patrolled the vast
plaza on Wednesday. They checked some bags but otherwise did
not interfere with tourists and international journalists
milling around the square.
Instead of pushing for political reform, most young Chinese
now focus on improving their career prospects, eager to take
advantage of their nation's growing prosperity.
'Never forget June 4'
The Tokyo protest grew violent when a protester tried to slam
his car into a row of police security vehicles parked
outside the Chinese embassy, police said.
|| History keeps repeating:
(224K/17 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Police used clubs to break through his windshield. The driver
was dragged out, handcuffed and led away. Another activist
was arrested as he tried to fight off the police.
Wu'er, who studied in France and the United States after
going into exile, was not arrested.
"Eight years ago," he told reporters, "I was standing in
front of the Chinese police. Now, I'm standing in front of
police in Japan, a country that calls itself democratic."
Though the Japanese government was initially critical of the
Tiananmen Square violence, it was quick to mend ties with
Beijing and today maintains a pro-China stance.
Wu'er, still wanted by Beijing, warned that history will
repeat if the world forgets what happened eight years ago.
"Please, everyone, never forget the day, June 4," he said.
Though he now lives in Taiwan, Wu'er said he hopes to return
to China with other dissidents in a few years to start a
Reporter Karuna Shinsho in Tokyo contributed to this report.
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