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June 4 relatives pay respects at Beijing cemetery

2020-06-04 HKT 14:19
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  • June 4 relatives pay respects at Beijing cemetery
Relatives of a small number of those killed in the Tiananmen massacre have visited the graves of their loved ones on the 31st anniversary of the bloodshed.

The Tiananmen Mothers group had expressed worries that they would be banned from visiting the graves this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. But in the end they were allowed to go, as long as they registered their ID cards with the authorities.

As in previous years, about a dozen relatives, including the spokeswoman for the group You Weijie, arrived at the Wan’an Cemetery in Beijing on Thursday morning under heavy police guard.

About 40 uniformed and plainclothes police officers were seen observing the group from a distance.

Eight of the hundreds or thousands of protesters killed on June 4, 1989 are buried in the cemetery, alongside five bereaved family members.

Huang Jinping, who lost her husband in the crackdown, read out a memorial speech, saying they would not give up their quest for the truth, their demand for compensation, and for officials responsible for the killings to be held accountable.

Beijing has never provided a full account of the massacre. But rights groups and witnesses say the death toll could have run into the thousands.

The death toll given by officials days after the crackdown was about 300, most of them soldiers, with only 23 students confirmed to have died.