Human Rights

China fooled the people of Hong Kong until it was too late to react: Wang

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/06/30
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Protesters against the national security law at a Hong Kong shopping mall Tuesday June 30  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s promise to maintain the “one country, two systems” formula in Hong Kong for 50 years was a scam right from the start, Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) wrote Tuesday (June 30).

The Tiananmen student leader and former resident of Taiwan wrote a reaction on his Facebook page to the passage of a national security law for Hong Kong Tuesday, with even Hong Kong leaders unable to learn the legislation’s detailed contents.

The 1997 promise by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) to keep Hong Kong autonomous for 50 years was designed to fool its residents, according to Wang.    [FULL  STORY]

Jun 28, 2020
By: Zak Doffman


The core allegations behind the U.S. blacklisting of Huawei, that the company is controlled by Beijing and will spy for them if asked, have always been denied. But lurking behind those allegations is something darker, something more difficult to brush aside. And that’s now becoming a serious new problem for the company, with the risk that it damages company plans, securing a major win for the U.S.

Last November, I reported on Huawei’s “darkest secret,” its work with the authorities in the Xinjiang region of China, where the oppression of its Muslim Uighur minority has been condemned worldwide. A leak of classified Chinese government documents that became known as the “China Cables,” was followed by a shocking report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) into the leading companies whose technology enabled that oppression.

Huawei has always admitted that its technology has been deployd by third parties in Xinjiang, but has denied direct involvement. ASPI claimed that this is not true. “Huawei’s work in Xinjiang is extensive,” it said, “and includes working directly with the Chinese Government’s public security bureaus in the region.”

I first reported on Huawei’s links to Xinjiang early last year, including the strategic cooperation agreement between Xinjiang's Public Security Department and Huawei, and the launch of Huawei’s Urumqi DevCloud to “promote the development of the software information industry in the district of Urumqi.”    [FULL  STORY]
Date: MAY 11, 2020
Original:MAY 31, 2019
By: Editors

Jacques Langevin/Sygma/Getty Images

The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China. They were halted in a bloody crackdown, known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, by the Chinese government on June 4 and 5, 1989.

Pro-democracy protesters, mostly students, initially marched through Beijing to Tiananmen Square following the death of Hu Yaobang. Hu, a former Communist Party leader, had worked to introduce democratic reform in China. In mourning Hu, the students called for a more open, democratic government. Eventually thousands of people joined the students in Tiananmen Square, with the protest’s numbers increasing to the tens of thousands by mid-May.

At issue was a frustration with the limits on political freedom in the country—given its one-party form of government, with the Communist Party holding sway—and ongoing economic troubles. Although China’s government had instituted a number of reforms in the 1980s that established a limited form of capitalism in the country, the poor and working-class Chinese still faced significant challenges, including lack of jobs and increased poverty.

The students also argued that China’s educational system did not adequately prepare them for an economic system with elements of free-market capitalism.

Some leaders within China’s government were sympathetic to the protesters’ cause, while others saw them as a political threat.

Martial Law Declared

On May 13, a number of the student protesters initiated a hunger strike, which inspired other similar strikes and protests across China. As the movement grew, the Chinese government became increasingly uncomfortable with the protests, particularly as they disrupted a visit by Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union on May 15.

A welcome ceremony for Gorbachev originally scheduled for Tiananmen Square was instead held at the airport, although otherwise his visit passed without incident. Even so, feeling the demonstrations needed to be curtailed, the Chinese government declared martial law on May 20 and 250,000 troops entered Beijing.

By the end of May more than one million protesters had gathered in Tiananmen Square. They held daily marches and vigils, and images of the events were transmitted by media organizations to audiences in the United States and Europe.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

While the initial presence of the military failed to quell the protests, the Chinese authorities decided to increase their aggression. At 1 a.m. on June 4, Chinese soldiers and police stormed Tiananmen Square, firing live rounds into the crowd.

Although thousands of protesters simply tried to escape, others fought back, stoning the attacking troops and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats there that day estimated that hundreds to thousands of protesters were killed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and as many as 10,000 were arrested.    [FULL  STORY]

Student protesters and journalists in 1989 recall the joy and hope before the crackdown

The Guardian
Date: 4 Jun 2020
By: Lily Kuo in Beijing

 A young unidentified couple pass the time in Tiananmen Square with a lively dance. Photograph: Mark Avery/AP

It was mid-morning in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 1 June, 1989. Someone had turned on a boombox playing 80s disco music, and people began to dance. A young couple spins in a small opening in the crowd. The woman smiles slightly, her eyes almost closed, as her partner in a loose dress shirt and blazer turns her. Around them, people are clapping.

It is a photo that captures a side of the pro-democracy movement often overshadowed by what came after – the brutal military crackdown on the evening of 3 June and morning of 4 June. There is no official death toll but activists believe hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed.

More than 30 years later, Zhou Fengsuo, a student leader in Beijing who was later jailed, remembers the scene. “There was a lot of celebration. For the first time, you see this freedom in the air, that inspired people to celebrate to be hopeful and be joyful in Tiananmen Square, the symbol of power in China. That’s the most inspiring story of 1989.”

Throughout the six-week occupation of the square, there were many lighter moments: protesters giving out birthday cake, people sharing breakfast and tea, someone giving another demonstrator a haircut. Unofficial weddings were held.

“Tiananmen was China’s Woodstock without mud but plenty of blood,” says Rose Tang, who attended the protests in Beijing as a university student. “It was the first time for the Chinese since 1949 to truly have a little taste of freedom as individuals and a taste of organic community spirit.”

But by the end of May, the protests had begun to wane and protesters were tense. Authorities had declared martial law on 20 May, to stamp out the weeks of marches, sit-ins and hunger strikes led by students who had inspired sympathy and support across the country. Troops had tried to move into the capital where they were blocked by civilians. There had been rumours the night before that the Chinese military would soon clear the square.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: June 4, 2020
By: Emily Feng
Host: Steve Inskeep

Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. And as Hong Kong fights now to keep its limited autonomy, police ban the city's annual Tiananmen vigil.


Today is June 4, the day in 1989 when China sent its military against protesters. Chinese troops massacred many people as they cleared Tiananmen Square. Commemorating this massacre is forbidden in mainland China, but Hong Kong has held huge rallies every year to remember the victims until this year, when police banned that activity, although organizers say they're going ahead. NPR's Emily Feng is covering this story from Beijing. Hi there, Emily.


INSKEEP: Why is this anniversary so important in Hong Kong?

FENG: Well, that year 31 years ago, 1989, Hong Kong was still a British colony, and they saw these protests in Beijing as a parallel of their own struggle. At that point, the U.K. and China had already agreed that in the future, 1997, Hong Kong would be returned to Chinese rule. So the idea was if protesters in Beijing could create a democratic China, then democracy might finally arrive in Hong Kong as well, which we know didn't happen. But after the military crackdown on June 4, Hong Kong served another purpose. It became this important counterfactual of what China could've been with some limited civil rights.

Here's Zhou Fengsuo, an activist who now lives in New Jersey. But in 1989, he was one of the student leaders in Tiananmen.

ZHOU FENGSUO: I think Hong Kong showed the other aspect of China, the spirit of the people. And through this candlelight vigil, it represented love of freedom. It reminded people that China could be different.

F6ENG: But in some ways, 1989 also sealed Hong Kong's fate. That year, Beijing and Hong Kong were drafting the conditions under which China would govern Hong Kong. And Beijing, after they saw these Tiananmen protests, effectively took control of writing those conditions, and they included more stringent language on national security and subversion that you see them citing today. The lack of that candlelight vigil that Zhou Fengsuo was just talking about in Hong Kong feels particularly existential this year because Hong Kong's now coming under threat from Beijing's control.

INSKEEP: Yeah. And, of course, the very fact that they were able to hold this vigil at all, this memorial for Tiananmen Square, over the years suggests that there has been greater freedom in Hong Kong. What's happening now that the government, the central government, is cracking down?    [FULL  DISCUSSION]

The state wants us to forget, but those of us who were there in 1989 cling to our memories – and worry for Hong Kong

The Guardian
Date: 4 Jun 2020
By: Ma Jian

 View of Tiananmen Square during the student protest of 1989. ‘This photograph confirms that his moment in history did take place; it had a past and a future.’ Photograph: Twitter

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year, I posted a photograph online of a night scene showing the mass hunger strike that took place there. It was taken by a friend of mine in May 1989 from the roof of Beijing’s Museum of Chinese History. He allowed me to share it as long as his identity was concealed, knowing that in China, this visual testament to a still taboo event could land him in jail.

A year on from the 30th anniversary, as the Chinese Communist party’s tyranny endangers lives and freedoms across the world, the photograph and the suppressed truth it embodies are even more significant.

For 31 years, the CCP has buried the truth about Tiananmen. In 1989 it branded the nationwide peaceful pro-democracy movement a “counter-revolutionary riot”, and on 4 June, sent tanks to clear the square, then crush and gun down unarmed citizens in the surrounding streets. It said the massacre was essential for China’s future order and prosperity. It claimed only 241 people died, when unofficial estimates are many times higher. Then it outlawed any further mention of the event.

The message to the Chinese people was: the mass movement never took place; those peaceful protesters were thugs. Only the party can restore order and make you rich. Keep quiet, forget the past. Forget democracy and freedom. For the sake of stability and economic growth, the state can murder civilians.

But the underlying truth was simpler: dictators will always put their political survival above human life. They will not rest until they have perverted every truth and obliterated all possibility of dissent.    [FULL  STORY]

BBC News
Date: May 22, 2020

Image captionTanya Chan (C) said this was “the saddest day in Hong Kong history”

The Chinese government is set to present a controversial Hong Kong security law at its congress, the most important political event of the year.

Hong Kong's "mini-constitution" says it must enact security laws to prevent "treason, secession and sedition".

But such laws have never been passed and now Beijing is now attempting to push them through.

The annual National People's Congress largely rubber-stamps decisions already taken by the Communist leadership.

The BBC's China correspondent, Robin Brant, says that what makes the situation so incendiary is that Beijing could, in theory, simply bypass Hong Kong's elected legislators and impose the changes.    [FULL  STORY]

The Conversation
Date: April 22, 2020
By: Kyle Matthews, Margaret McCuaig-Johnston

While most of the world is occupied trying to manage the spread of the coronavirus, another frightening development is taking place at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

China, a known human rights abuser, is being given the power to influence the investigation of human rights issues around the world.

The non-governmental organization UN Watch recently revealed that the People’s Republic of China had been selected to join a special panel tasked with selecting the next group of special rapporteurs. This panel is responsible for assigning at least 17 positions over the next year that will oversee a whole slew of important human rights issues.

If China joins the panel, it will immediately have the power to appoint or nix global investigators on freedom of speech, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and health.    [FULL  STORY]

Prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong speaks during a protest in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2020.

April 10, 2020
By: Hillary Leung

Joshua Wong, co-founder of the Demosisto political party, speaks during a protest in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Hong Kong's turbulence shows no sign of abating in 2020, with the new year marked by rallies showing continued resistance against Beijing's tightening grip over the financial hub. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons game has disappeared from China’s biggest e-commerce site—and many on Chinese social media are blaming players in Hong Kong, who used the game to spread pro-democracy messages.

Sellers on Taobao, China’s equivalent of eBay, found that Animal Crossing had disappeared from their online stores Friday morning, according to independent Chinese media outlet Caijing.

Searches for Animal Crossing on Taobao did not return results for the game on Friday, only Animal Crossing-themed merchandise.

The New Horizons installment was released on March 20 and has found an avid audience among protestors in Hong Kong who have taken advantage of the game’s customization features to create anti-government messages. On their virtual islands, characters chant protest slogans and hang up posters criticizing their city’s leaders. In one video shared widely on Twitter, players use bug-catching nets to smack pictures of the city’s unpopular leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam.    [FULL  STORY]

Ren Zhiqiang appears to be the latest government critic silenced by the Communist Party as it cracks down on dissent over the epidemic.

NY Times
Date: March 14, 2020
By: Javier C. Hernández

His nickname in China was “The Cannon,” and Ren Zhiqiang’s latest commentary was among his most explosive yet.

Mr. Ren, an outspoken property tycoon in Beijing, wrote in a scathing essay that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, was a power-hungry “clown.” He said the ruling Communist Party’s strict limits on free speech had exacerbated the coronavirus epidemic.

Now Mr. Ren, one of the most prominent critics of Mr. Xi in mainland China, is missing, his friends said on Saturday.

His disappearance comes amid a far-reaching campaign by the party to quash criticism of its slow, secretive initial response to the epidemic, which has killed over 3,100 people in China and sickened more than 80,000.

The Chinese government is working to portray Mr. Xi as a hero who is leading the country to victory in a “people’s war” against the virus. But officials are contending with deep anger from the Chinese public, with many people still seething over the government’s early efforts to conceal the crisis.

Mr. Ren, a party member, is well known for his searing critiques of Mr. Xi. In 2016, the party placed him on a year’s probation for denouncing Mr. Xi’s propaganda policies in comments online.

The government has monitored Mr. Ren’s movements intensely ever since, friends said, preventing him from leaving the country and deleting his social media accounts, where he had built a wide following.

His whereabouts was unclear on Saturday, and the police in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We’re very worried about him,” said Wang Ying, a retired entrepreneur and friend of Mr. Ren’s. “I will continue to look for him.”    [FULL  STORY]