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ICC NOTE: As many Chinese citizens begin to mark the 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, some have experienced the wrath of the same government who quelled the movement and caused the infamous massacre in 1989. A group of activists marking the anniversary with a prayer session in the privacy of a participants home was arrested by authorities for their actions. Many of those involved in the ceremonies leading up to the June 4 anniversary are participants of the original movement and family members of those who were killed. They have endured heavy surveillance by the government for over 27 years and there seems to be no end in sight as security around them have been beefed up. All eyes will be on China this weekend and whether any form of retaliation or crackdown will incur. Let us remember those who died 27 years ago believing all of humanity have the right to the freedoms in which many take for granted. 

6/2/2016 China (Radio Free Asia) – Police in the Chinese capital have detained at least four people after they met in private to mark the 27th anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy movement, rights groups said.

1989 democracy movement veteran Zhao Changqing, and civil rights activists Zhang Baocheng, Ma Xinli and Xu Caihong were detained in the early hours of Tuesday morning after they held a prayer session at Zhao’s home last weekend for those who died, according to the Weiquanwang and Humanitarian China rights groups.

Some of their relatives confirmed the reports to RFA on Wednesday.

“[Xu Caihong] is in the police station right now under criminal detention … on suspicion of picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” Xu Caihong’s husband He Bin told RFA on Wednesday. “They told me she will be transferred to the Fengtai Detention Center today.”

“They told me she would be locked up for at least 30 days, and that this could be extended,” he said.

Zhang Baocheng’s wife, Liu Juefan confirmed that he too had been taken away by police.

“He is being held under criminal detention in the Fengtai Detention Center,” Liu said. “I told them that they should have given me a formal notification of his detention, and they said it was a matter for the district police department, not the local police station.”

And Ma Xinli’s sister Ma Hongjun said he was being held alongside the other activists.

“The police officer called me to tell me he is in the Fengtai Detention Center, and to have me go over there and take back his keys and his personal effects,” Ma said. “I think they are all being held in the same place.”

Calls to activists Li Meiqing and Liang Taiping, who also attended Saturday’s prayer meeting, rang unanswered on Wednesday.

Tight security

The detentions come amid tight security ahead of the June 4 anniversary, public commemoration of which is banned by the government, which styles the 1989 democracy protests a “counterrevolutionary rebellion.”

More than 150 relatives of those who died or were maimed in the crackdown issued a joint statement on Wednesday hitting out at the government for nearly three decades of surveillance, harassment and suppression as they have pressed for a reappraisal of the 1989 protests, the pursuit of those responsible, and compensation for the victims’ families.

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