The government of China is defending the crackdown that occurred 25 years ago on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, as well the crackdown taking place today in connection with the event’s anniversary. Although China has not revealed any numbers regarding the event, some human rights organizations estimate that the crackdown resulted in thousands of deaths.
To this day the Chinese government deems the events of Tiananmen taboo, describing those who protested at the time as being “counter-revolutionary”.
China has taken steps to clamp down on dissidence connected with the Tiananmen Square anniversary. Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has been detained along with several other activists for allegedly holding a meeting on the Tiananmen protests.
Dozens of other activists have been detained, including Chinese-born Australian artist Guo Jian, who was arrested after an interview with him was published in the Financial Times.
Chinese authorities have described the detaining of these protesters as “lawful”.
“In China, there are only law breakers – there are no so-called dissidents. The relevant departments of the Chinese government act according to the law. China’s legal authority should be respected,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
Hong said that China has “long ago reached a conclusion” about the events of Tiananmen Square, and that the focus instead should be on “China’s enormous achievements in social and economic development.”
Even though rounding up activists around the time of this anniversary is not new for the communist government, reports indicate that this year’s crackdown has been harsher than usual.