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ASIAN CANADIAN

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Human rights group calls for release of Tiananmen prisoners

Amnesty International has called on the Chinese government to release all people imprisoned during the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests and arrest those responsible for the massacre.

"We reiterate our call on the Chinese government to conduct an independent inquiry into the killing of unarmed students and demonstrators, " the London based rights group said in a statement.

"Those found responsible should be tried and brought to justice," it said.

China's Tiananmen Square massacre occurred on June 4, 1989, when the People's Liberation Army crushed democracy protests taking place at the esplanade in central Beijing.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of unarmed protesters were mowed down after the government ordered the army to storm the city to end six weeks of peaceful protests.

The leadership labelled the demonstrations a "counter-revolutionary rebellion."

"The on-going passion that surrounds the issue in China is clear from the continuous string of detentions of citizens who seek to post information on the Internet regarding the dead or missing from 1989," Amnesty said.

The group listed several Chinese recently jailed for voicing opposition to the government's handling of the protests. It also says a group of relatives of June 4 victims, known as the Tiananmen Mothers, is being continually harassed.

A protester dressed as the comic book character Spiderman climbed to the top of a giant TV screen on a building in Hong Kong Friday, in a protest marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.

Matt Pearce, an activist with International Action, which campaigns against social injustice in the former British colony, placed a massive yellow banner over the television screen. The message read 'Justice Must Prevail. Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.'

"There is no excuse for killing unarmed, innocent students staging a peaceful demonstration," he said in a statement.

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