Beijing tightens Tiananmen Square security

China increases security on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on student-led protests.

    Beijing tightens Tiananmen Square security
    A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks from entering Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 [AP]

    Beijing tightened security around Tiananmen Square on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on student-led protests.

    Dozens of riot police and police patrol cars could be seen parked around the square, as well as at intersections several blocks away on the avenue of Eternal Peace.

    "This time 25 years ago today you could not enter Tiananmen Square as a journalist. And 25 years on you still can't," said Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown, reporting from Beijing.

    "This really is a reflection of the official nervousness for this very sensitive anniversary. They are trying to erase all public memory of what happened here 25 years ago."

    Despite the date's sensitivity, operations at the square seemed to resume as they would on a normal day.

    Activists and commentators said China's determination to quell any mention of the event is especially strong this year, and authorities have made mass arrests just before the anniversary.

    People detained and missing

    Rights group Amnesty International said 48 people had been detained, placed under house arrest, questioned by police or had gone missing ahead of the anniversary.

    In an apparent sign of government nervousness, connections to the Internet appeared to have been disrupted leading up to the anniversary, with Google's mail and other services mostly inaccessible.

    Police have also warned foreign reporters from visiting "sensitive places" and prevented them from interviewing people on the topic.

    The government has never issued a complete and formal account of the crackdown and the number of casualties.

    Beijing's official verdict is that the student-led protests aimed to topple the ruling Communist Party and plunge China into chaos.

    The anniversary comes as China grapples with challenges such as slowing economic growth, pollution, endemic corruption and violence in the troubled western region of Xinjiang.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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