Protester Arrested Amid Tight Security on Crackdown Anniversary
BEIJING (AP) _ Police swiftly arrested a lone Chinese worker who unfurled a banner on Tiananmen Square Wednesday amid tight security aimed at preventing observance of the 1989 crackdown on China’s democracy movement.
Police beat and detained a second, unidentified man who may have been Chinese. They also beat up a Japanese TV cameraman and detained at least nine other foreign journalists who were filming or observing the scene.
An ABC News correspondent also was beaten, the network said in New York.
Throughout the day, hundreds of plainclothes police and security agents patrolled the vast stone-paved square in downtown Beijing, which became a focal point of the 1989 protests. Roadblocks were erected around Beijing University and security was increased at most major universities.
Beijing residents, however, passed the day quietly. University students, who were at the center of the democracy movement, said they did not plan to mark the third anniversary of its crushing.
The Chinese army entered Beijing in tanks and armored personnel carriers on the night of June 3, 1989, after being ordered by the ruling Communist Party to put down the mass protests for democratic reform. They retook Tiananmen Square, where the protesters were camped, before dawn on June 4.
The government never released detailed casualty figures, but said about 300 people died, most of them security forces. Unofficial estimates range up to several thousand dead protesters.
The lone protester marking Wednesday’s anniversary of the crackdown was a worker in his 40s, Wang Wanxin. He unfurled a red-and-white banner urging the Communist Party to reconsider its future and the 1989 democracy movement. The banner also demanded compensation for an alleged personal grievance.
Wang was immediately surrounded by dozens of police and whisked away.
Edgar Bauer, a journalist for the German DPA news agency, said he saw a dozen police kicking a second Asian man lying on the square. Details were lacking.
About an hour later, police tackled a cameraman for the Tokyo Broadcasting Station, Atsushi Yamagiwa, who was filming the general scene on the square. They kicked him and led him away, bleeding badly. He was released hours later.
Authorities detained at least seven other foreign journalists. Some were roughed up as they were taken into custody, suffering scrapes and bruises but no serious injuries. All were released after several hours.
Roone Arledge, president of ABC News, said in New York that correspondent Todd Carrell was beaten at the scene and beaten again while being driven to a police station, where he was held three hours.
Late Wednesday, two foreign journalists were detained after leaving the Politics and Law University. It was not known how long they were held.
A professor at Beijing University, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of official punishment, said he advised his students not to publicly mark the anniversary because disturbances would only strengthen the position of China’s hard-liners.
Orthodox Marxists who oppose most economic and political reforms have dominated Chinese policy-making since the 1989 protests. They blamed the protests on Deng Xiaoping’s increased contact with the West and encouragement of private enterprise.
Deng’s faction in the party has been fighting this year to resume free- market reforms.
Deng, however, has stressed that liberalization will be confined to economic matters and threatened to crush any revival of a movement for political change.
Wang informed foreign journalists in advance that he would protest. His grievance with the party dates to 1976, when he claims he was punished for supporting Deng, then in disgrace.
Wang’s name finally was cleared of political crimes in 1990. But he told journalists that speaking out cost him his job in 1988. On his banner, he demanded $1,830 in compensation.
Police set up roadblocks around Beijing University, trying to prevent Western journalists from reaching the campus.
Last year, several students staged a bottle-breaking protest at the university on the anniversary, considered a sign of defiance because Deng’s given name sounds like the Chinese words for ″little bottle.″