Tiananmen 20 years on

Today we marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, laying flowers outside the Chinese embassy in London. Amnesty supporters were joined by survivors of the crackdown Shao Jiang, Dr Wang Rongfen and Wu Yenhua. They’ve got some pretty impressive CVs:

 

Shao Jiang, known as ‘Thomas’ to all of us here at AIUK, was one of the organisers of the 1989 pro-democracy protests. He was imprisoned for 18 months after the crackdown and subjected to harassment and persecution thereafter. He fled to Sweden in 1997 and now lives with his wife in London. He blogs on the Amnesty site and is a tireless campaigner, taking part in actions with Amnesty sections in Spain and the Netherlands as well as the UK.

 

Dr. Wang Rongfen famously wrote a short letter to Chairman Mao when she was a student, criticising his cultural revolution, and was sent to jail for 13 years as a result. She then participated in all the demonstrations and hunger strikes and spent almost every night in Tiananmen Square during the '89 protests.

 

Yenhua Wu is a US-based dissident who has spent 20 years in exile researching the Tiananmen Square crackdown. He was an organiser of the first march of the pro-democracy movement and the hunger strike at Xinhuamen.

 

It was a real media scrum outside the embassy – you can see the BBC’s report here and check out our pics on our new Twitter channel, @NewsfromAmnesty. I’ve been running around doing interviews with the survivors for the last two days and you’d have to say that 20 years hasn’t taken the edge off their campaigning fervour.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was little sign of protest in China, with anyone who might ‘cause trouble’ sent to the far reaches of the country or placed under effective house arrest with police posted on their door to stop them going out. Flickr, Twitter and other social media sites have been blocked to stop information being circulated.

 

But elsewhere, including in Hong Kong, people took to the streets.

 

Amnesty was joined today by Hillary Clinton in calling for a full inquiry in China to reveal the truth about Tiananmen Square. Read more here and sign our petition.

 

 

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