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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Chinese Premier Defends 1989 Crackdown

Yahoo! News:

Tiananmen "China's premier on Sunday defended the government's deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, calling the student-led demonstrations a 'very serious political disturbance' that had to be put down.

In a rare, nationally televised news conference, Wen Jiabao cited China's economic advances since then as evidence the government made the right choice. "

"What hung in the balance was the future of our party and our country," Wen said. "We successfully stabilized the situation of reform and opening up and the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics."

"At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, China faced a very serious political disturbance," Wen said.

This stunning and out of character reference to the events of Tiananmen Square is believed to be as a response to a much circulated letter from a world renowned Beijing doctor asking for the State to re-evaluate it's role in the 1989 massacre of Chinese students in Tiananmen Square.

It also seems to be part of a certain 'glasnost" that appears to be slowly entering the system of Chinese domestic politics and foreign affairs.

Of late there has been much "mea culpa" coming out of Beijing. Not too much but a lot more than usual. The Government has openly admitted many problems with the "system" and pledged to rectify them

The recently completed National People's Congress was very much "sold" as a people orientated affair where changes to the Constitution, such as the enshrinement of Human Rights principals and the granting of Private Property ownership rights, have apparently signaled a major directional change for the Chinese socialist system and one of no doubt considerable historical import.

Hopefully we are witnessing something incredible occurring in China. Having said that I would not suggest we hold our breath to see immediate results of these changes.

We perhaps have witnessed a ship's captain giving the order to change direction, we have not as yet seen the coxswain turn the tiller or the mighty ship give to.