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Amnesty International Demands China Stop ‘Judicial Killing’

August 30, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ Amnesty International said today that it has appealed to the Chinese government to ″stop using judicial killing″ as a way to suppress internal opposition.

The human rights organization said it sent a telex message to Premier Li Peng saying it feared the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing last June reflected an official policy of crushing peaceful opposition at any cost.

Amnesty International did not release a text of its message to Li. However, the organization said it appealed for the release of all ″prisoners of conscience″ and for fair trials for all those facing political charges.

The London-based organization, which opposes capital punishment in all countries, also called for an end to executions.

In a report published today, Amnesty International estimated at least 1,000 people were killed when security forces moved against the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere in Beijing from June 3-9, and that at least 300 more people were killed in Chengdu, southern China.

The government has said at least 200 died during the unrest.

The statement also said, ″There was strong evidence that the authorities had taken a deliberate decision after the army massacres in early June to carry out secret executions, but also to publicize certain death sentences in order to cow political opposition.

″Some (detainees) are reported to have been severely beaten by police or soldiers and it is feared that detainees may still be put under strong pressure - including the use of ill-treatment and torture - to confess to crimes or to denounce others involved in the protests.″

Amnesty International said it expressed concern to Li about a directive reportedly approved by the Communist Party’s central committee in June which specifically directed that the number of persons executed or imprisoned were not to be made public.

The report said Amnesty International had been unable to confirm reports of mass executions.

″The atmosphere of terror following the military crackdown, which has seen a continuing wave of repression, including mass arbitrary arrests, summary trial and executions, has made it impossible for Amnesty International to discover the true death toll,″ the report said.

It asked however that China ″stop using judicial killing as a political tool″ to suppress the opposition.

About 4,000 people have been officially reported arrested. Amnesty said it believes the number is much higher and that many detainees ″may be prisoners of conscience held solely for the non-violent exercise of their fundamental rights.″

In its message to Premier Li, Amnesty said, it inquired specifically about Wang Dan, a 24-year-old Beijing University student who was at the top of a list of wanted student leaders published June 13.

Amnesty cited reports that Wang was badly beaten following his arrest, and included claims by a former policeman that the student leader was executed.

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