Beijing, May 31 (IANS) The massacre of unarmed citizens by soldiers in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, should not be referred to as “suppression”, a Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman told reporters.
June 4 marks 30 years since Chinese troops ended several weeks of protests by firing at civilians, killing hundreds of people, reports CNN.
It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 people were arrested during and after the protests. Several dozen people have been executed for their parts in the demonstrations.
At his monthly briefing on Thursday, spokesman Wu Qian was asked by journalists if the People’s Liberation Army had any comment on the suppression of students 30 years ago.
“I don’t agree with the word ‘suppression’ in your question,” he said. “Over the past 30 years, the process of our reform and development and our stability and achievements have already addressed your question.”
The protests began in mid-April in 1989 following the death of former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang, who had been deposed years earlier and was seen by students as a proponent of greater social freedoms in China.
Over the next seven weeks, protesters occupied Tiananmen Square — a huge public space that faces on to the Forbidden City and the Great Hall of the People.
Eventually, hardliners in the Chinese government cracked down on the protesters, declaring martial law and calling in the military.