Twenty years ago, in June 1989, the Chinese army killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed civilians in Beijing and other cities during demonstrations for democracy. How much has changed? A multimedia feature by Human Rights Watch examines the impact of and Chinese response to the Tiananmen Square incident, and finds the government continues to “victimize survivors, victims’ families, and others who challenge the official version of events.”
As the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen approaches on Thursday, Chinese authorities have seized dissidents and blocked social networking sites like Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and news websites like The Huffington Post.
“Tiananmen taught the Chinese government that freedom of speech is the core issue that they must control,” says Carroll Bogert of Human Rights Watch in the video.
“Domestic press censorship doesn’t just have consequences for people inside China,” adds Dr. Sophie Richardson, also from HRW. “Because the domestic Chinese press couldn’t write about SARS or melamine scandals or lead-painted toys, we wind up with global public health problems, product safety problems. This matters for everyone, everywhere.”