Media Silence In China On Tiananmen


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Media Silence In China On Tiananmen6-5-09 3:28 AM EDT | E-mail Article (external - login to view) | Print Article (external - login to view)BEIJING (AFP)--China's press and Internet sites were silent Friday over the 20th anniversary of the army crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Tiananmen Square.

There was a huge security clampdown on the square Thursday, 20 years after the events of June 4, 1989 in an attempt by authorities to prevent any commemoration of the bloody crackdown that left hundreds and perhaps thousands dead. On Friday, China's strictly censored newspapers made no mention of the anniversary and the Internet was devoid of any article on 6/4, as it is referred to in Chinese.
China earlier this week blocked several popular Web sites, including search engine Bing, social networking service Twitter and photo-hosting Web site Flickr. These were still out of bounds Friday.
Only the official English-language China Daily referred fleetingly to the crackdown Friday, in a story on China's opposition to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on the "20th anniversary of the events of June 4."
Clinton had made a public demand for an account of the dead and missing, but the newspaper made no further comment.
Even on the foreign ministry's Web site a transcript of a regular press conference held on June 4 left out all questions asked by reporters about the Tiananmen crackdown.
That day, however, the English-language version of the state-controlled Global Times newspaper had carried an unusually bold article on the incident, calling it a "sensitive topic."
But David Bandurski, a researcher at the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong, said this didn't signal any future relaxation in media control of the taboo subject.
"You can never, ever read the English-language Chinese media for signs of change on key issues, particularly press policy," he said by e-mail.
"This is an apartheid system of press controls, with one set of standards for Chinese media, and a whole different set for English-language media."

Only the official English-language China Daily referred fleetingly to the crackdown Friday, in a story on China's opposition to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on the "20th anniversary of the events of June 4."

China slams Clinton's June 4 comments
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-05 07:20
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China Thursday expressed deep dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on the 20th anniversary of the events of June 4.
"As to the political turmoil and problems that happened in the late 1980s, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have already made a clear conclusion," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press conference in response to a question about a statement released by Clinton on Wednesday.
He said China had made great advances in economic and social development since the country began its reforms and opened up 30 years ago.
Facts had proven that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics suited the national conditions of China, complied with the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people, and reflected the aspirations of all Chinese people, Qin said.
The remarks from the US disregarded the facts and made random accusations against the Chinese government, Qin said, adding that Clinton's comments violated basic norms governing international relations and principles set forth in the three China-US joint communiqus and grossly interfered in China's internal affairs.
"We urge the US to put aside its political prejudices and correct its wrong-doings so as to avoid interfering with and damaging Sino-US relations," Qin said.
Afghan FM to visit China
Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta will pay an official visit to China from June 9 to 12 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.
Qin said Spanta and Yang will exchange views on China-Afghanistan relations, the reconstruction of Afghanistan and international and regional issues.
Qin said China has offered assistance worth $170 million since 2002. China gave 50 million yuan to the country last year.
"We will continue to fulfill our commitment and provide further assistance to Afghanistan within our ability, so as to make an active contribution to facilitating its reconstruction process," he said.
At the invitation of Yang, Spanta made his first visit to China as foreign minister in August 2007.
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