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    Taiwan's president commemorates Tian'anmen massacre


    Publicly commemorating the victims of 1989 is taboo in China. Criticism comes from neighboring Taiwan. Germany's embassy in Beijing is also making a statement.

    Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te remembered the victims of the 1989 democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, which were bloodily suppressed, and criticized China's handling of them. “A truly respectable country is one that allows its citizens to express their opinions,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. Every political power should have the courage to face the voice of the people, he said.

    35 years ago, on the night of June 3rd to 4th, the People's Liberation Army crushed weeks of peaceful protests against the government and for more democracy in Beijing. Hundreds of people were killed around Tiananmen Square. The subject is taboo in China. The memory of June 4th will not be lost in the stream of history and people will continue to work hard to preserve the memory, Lai wrote.

    Taiwan's China Affairs Administration (MAC) called on China's government to have the courage to acknowledge the historical facts of June 4 and adopt a more open attitude toward other opinions.

    On Tuesday night, the German embassy in Beijing showed a video of flickering candles in several windows on its building – a symbol of remembrance of June 4 that has been known for years. Human rights groups also criticized the commemoration. “The Chinese government has not yet taken responsibility for the human rights violations committed during the military operation,” said Jasna Causevic of the Society for Threatened Peoples.

    China has criticized the interference of other states. “The Chinese government had a clear conclusion early on about the political unrest that occurred at the end of the 1980s,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning on Tuesday, without going into further detail about the events of June 4, 1989. Beijing has always refused to use this as a pretext to attack China and thus interfere in the country's internal affairs.

    In the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong, the police responded to the anniversary with an increased police presence. For a long time, Hong Kong was the only place in China where the victims could be remembered. But for several years now, in conjunction with a tougher crackdown by Beijing, public memorial events on June 4 have been banned there too.

    Security officers patrolled on Tuesday, particularly around Hong Kong's Victoria Park, where a registered candlelight vigil was held annually until 2019. The park's sports fields, where tens of thousands of people often gathered in previous years to commemorate the anniversary, were used for a festival.

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