It was June 4, 1989, when the army moved into the Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing from all roads leading to it and attacked the student-led protest with, what many critics and activists say, disproportionate might. Officially, few more than 200 died; unofficially, according to researchers, over 3,000 perished.
China’s 600 million-plus smartphone-wielding internet users have no access to information about the protests that grabbed headlines world over in 1989, and will likely to do it again this year, as all mention of the events have been methodically removed.
The tightening of security in Beijing for June 4 this year was preceded by dozens of arrests of rights activists. “Dozens of activists have been detained, placed under house arrest or questioned by police in recent weeks for attempting to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protesters and civilians who were killed or injured in the crackdown,” Amnesty International, an international rights body, said in a statement.
Activists say it is clear by the crackdown preceding the Tiananmen anniversary that President Xi Jinping will not tolerate any incident or event that could even scratch the Communist Party of China’s image.