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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China: Free Tiananmen Prisoners Before Olympics

June 4, 2008

Dozens Still in Prison on 19th Anniversary of Massacre
For Immediate Release
Human Rights Watch
June 2, 2008

New York -- On the 19th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square
massacre, the Chinese government should honor its commitment to
improve human rights before the 2008 Beijing Olympics by releasing
the estimated 130 Tiananmen prisoners improperly arrested or tried,
Human Rights Watch said today.

Chinese army troops initiated a massacre of an estimated 2,000
unarmed people in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square and other
Chinese cities on and after June 3-4, 1989. The Chinese government
has wholly failed to account for those killings and bring justice to
the victims.

"The Chinese government should show the global Olympic audience it's
serious about human rights by releasing the Tiananmen detainees,"
said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
"Beijing's use of Tiananmen Square as a macabre prop for China's
Olympic 'coming-out-party' adds insult to injury."

The 1989 crackdown extended to major urban centers across China and
resulted in the arrest of hundreds of people on charges ranging from
"counterrevolutionary" offenses to "hooliganism," including robbery,
arson, and assault. The government continues to harass survivors,
their families, and those who dare to challenge the official version
of the events at Tiananmen Square. Current figures are not made
public, but as recently as 2004, at least 130 individuals arrested in
the wake of the June 3-4 massacre were still in prison.

The Chinese government intends to use Tiananmen Square for various
Olympic functions. It has already held the starting ceremonies for
the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay at Tiananmen, and will
hold the closing ceremonies there as well. In February 2001, the
Chinese government dropped Tiananmen as the proposed venue for  beach
volleyball at the request of an International Olympic Committee (IOC)
evaluation team that visited Beijing five months ahead of the July
2001 IOC decision to award the 2008 Games to Beijing.

On June 3-4 1989, the Chinese government turned its troops and tanks
against its own citizens to suppress a movement of students, plus
some workers, academics, writers and journalists, demonstrating
peacefully for a pluralistic political system. The death toll
included the slaughter of hundreds of ordinary Chinese who massed in
the streets of Beijing to stop the army from reaching Tiananmen Square.

China was globally condemned for its crackdown on the protesters, and
several states imposed sanctions, including the ongoing European
Union arms embargo. In 1990, however, then-President Jiang Zemin
dismissed international condemnation of the Tiananmen Massacre as
"much ado about nothing."

On the 19th anniversary of the June 1989 Tiananmen massacre, Human
Rights Watch again urges the Chinese government to:

   * overturn the 1989 official pronouncement labeling the student
movement a "counterrevolutionary rebellion;"

   * publicly recognize that the June 1989 massacre is a deeply
divisive source of pain and frustration even within the ranks of the
ruling Chinese Communist Party, by providing redress to the victims;

   * cease the harassment, arrest and imprisonment of survivors,
family members, and scholars who demand state accountability for
Tiananmen abuses; and

   * issue a complete list of those who died or were injured, and
those who were imprisoned, as no such lists are publicly available.

"The Chinese government wants the 2008 Beijing Games to expunge the
memories of the 1989 Beijing massacre," said Richardson. "China could
replace the image of the lone man blocking the tanks with the image
of the Tiananmen prisoners being freed - a truly Olympian gesture."

For more of Human Rights Watch's work on human rights in China ahead
of the Beijing Olympics, please visit:

For more information, please contact:
In Washington, DC, Sophie Richardson (English, Mandarin):
+1-202-612-4341; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile)
In Hong Kong, Phelim Kine (English, Mandarin): +85-2-6604-9792 (mobile)
In London, Brad Adams (English): +44-20-7713-2767; or +44-79-0872-8333 (mobile)
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