Chinese Police Clamp Down on Graveside Memorials for Tiananmen Victims
Chinese authorities clamped down on activists commemorating victims of 1989 student-led pro-democracy protests on Tiananmen Square and other petitioners as the nation observed its annual grave-sweeping festival over the weekend.
Members of the Tiananmen Mothers advocacy group, which represents all victims of the crackdown who died or were maimed, told Hong Kong media they were prevented from traveling to the graves of their loved ones ahead of the Qingming holiday, which fell on Friday but is honored throughout the weekend.
Chinese authorities keep relatives of those who died in the 1989 military crackdown around Tiananmen Square under house arrest and close surveillance as the politically sensitive anniversary approaches each year, beginning ahead of the traditional Chinese grave-sweeping festival in April.
Political activists are typically also prevented from holding any kind of public memorial to mark the crackdown, in which the People's Liberation Army (PLA) used machine guns and tanks against unarmed protesters and hunger-striking students.
Tiananmen Mothers member Zhang Xianling said she had managed to evade police surveillance by pretending to "go to the bathroom" and travel together with her husband out to Beijing's Wan'an cemetery where her son Wang Nan is buried.
"After we swept my son's grave, we also bowed in front of the graves of other victims of the June 4 [incident]," she told Hong Kong's Cable TV.
Tiananmen Massacre Presentation