Nonviolent Action around the World – 5 June 2009 (Part 1)

June 5, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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TIANANMEN – 20 YEARS LATER


China: Tiananmen – the legacy of 1989
By: Li Datong, openDemocracy, June 4, 2009
The fourth day of June – written as “6.4” in Chinese – never used to have any special significance. But in the last twenty years, since the events that culminated in the early hours of 4 June 1989 in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, it has acquired particular import. For the authorities it stands for resistance and turmoil; for the people it represents the democracy movement, and also suppression and slaughter.
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China blocks any commemoration of Tiananmen crackdown
By: Truthout, June 4, 2009
China blanketed Tiananmen Square with police and security forces on Thursday, blocking any attempt to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the deadly crackdown on mass democracy protests. The government again defended the decision to put down the demonstrations, which left hundreds and perhaps thousands dead, and firmly dismissed a US demand for a public accounting of the events of June 3-4, 1989.
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China: Echoes of solidarity 20 Years after Tiananmen
By: Stephen Zunes, Common Dreams, June 4, 2009
Twenty years ago today, I was at Camp Thoreau in New York’s Catskill Mountains. I had come down from Ithaca to join this annual gathering of politically-conscious folk musicians for a weekend of workshops, jam sessions and performances. As we were clearing our dishes from dinner, I came upon the kitchen volunteers huddled around the radio listening to incoming reports of the massacre then unfolding in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
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Chinese websites mark Tiananmen Square anniversary with veiled protest
By: Bobbie Johnson, The Guardian, June 4, 2009
Chinese internet users are rebelling against an internet crackdown brought in on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Twenty years after the pro-democracy protests in Beijing, a number of websites appear to be making a veiled protest at state censorship by referring to the date sarcastically as “Chinese Internet Maintenance Day.”
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One of Tiananmen’s ‘most wanted’ returns to China
By: Miranda Leitsinger, CNN, June 4, 2009
Xiong Yan was at the forefront of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. As a student leader, he rallied other youths to attend a memorial for a reform-minded leader that snowballed into the political movement, he joined an ensuing hunger strike, participated in student negotiations with the Chinese leadership and spent 19 months in prison after being named by authorities as one of the government’s “most wanted” for his activities.
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China: The heroic mums and dads of Beijing
By: John Gittings, The Guardian, June 4, 2009
The defiance of the protesting students in Tiananmen Square is remembered 20 years on, but the heroism of many ordinary citizens of Beijing who came out on to the streets and sought to prevent the bloodshed should not be forgotten. Arriving at night in Beijing after martial law had been declared, I found the road from the airport barred by citizens’ checkpoints, staffed by local residents – their purpose to stop the army moving in to the city centre. they were rallying now to prevent the army from attacking the people.
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China: Tiananmen 20th anniversary brings new repression
By: Christopher Bodeen, Washington Post, June 4, 2009
China aggressively deterred dissent in the capital on Thursday’s 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square. But tens of thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mourn the hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators killed. The central government ignored calls from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and even Taiwan’s China-friendly president for Beijing to face up to the 1989 violence.
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In China, liberty has many faces
By: Jill Drew, Washington Post, June 4, 2009
“Freedom” is a tricky word, malleable for some, immutable for others. Many in China today are exploring new freedoms, bolstered by the nation’s two decades of strong economic growth.
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China: Tiananmen in anniversary lockdown
By: BBC News, June 4, 2009
Chinese police have ringed Tiananmen Square, to prevent people marking the 20th anniversary of the massacre. The clampdown came as China angrily rejected calls for a review of the 1989 crackdown in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of people were killed. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Beijing to examine the “darker events of its past.”
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China: Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil is enormous and somber
By: NY Times, June 4, 2009
Throngs of men, women and children gathered at a park here on Thursday evening for an enormous, somber candlelight vigil to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings. The organizers said that 150,000 people joined the vigil, tying the record set by the first anniversary vigil in 1990 and dwarfing every vigil held since then. The police estimated the crowd at 62,800, their largest estimate for any vigil except in 1990, which they put at 80,000.
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China’s government ‘running to stay in one place’
By: RFE/RL, June 4, 2009
Scenes from China horrified the world 20 years ago when the government’s killing of Tiananmen Square protesters provided an object lesson in Chairman Mao’s adage “all political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” But since then, China has also amazed the world with its degree of economic progress and stability. Does that make China an authoritarian success story, or a country highly uncertain of its future?
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China: Police detain and harass activists on eve of Tiananmen anniversary
By: Chinese Human Rights Defenders, June 4, 2009
CHRD has documented the cases of sixty-five activists who have been subjected to harassment from officials in order to prevent them from organizing or taking part in activities commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre.  These individuals have been taken into police custody, had their movements restricted, been forced to leave their homes, or otherwise threatened or monitored by police.
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India: Burmese and Tibetans mark Tiananmen Square anniversary
By: Salai Pi Pi, Mizzima, June 4, 2009
Burmese and Tibetan activists in New Delhi on Thursday staged a joint demonstration to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, also known as the June 4 movement. About a hundred Burmese and Tibetan activists shouted slogans such as ‘Long Live Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi!’ and ‘China – respect democracy and human rights!’ while marching the streets in Janta Manta Park in India’s capital city.
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China: 20 years after Tiananmen, government still stifling debate
By: International Freedom of Expression eXchange, June 3, 2009
Tomorrow (4 June) marks the 20-year anniversary of the massacre of unarmed civilians in Tiananmen Square, but in China, the day is expected to pass like any other. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are condemning China’s sweeping Internet censorship and crackdowns on free speech that makes it extremely difficult – and dangerous – for Chinese people to commemorate the victims.
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China’s Tiananmen moment: The party rules
By: Kerry Brown, openDemocracy, June 3, 2009
Zhao Ziyang was the general-secretary of the Chinese Communist Party when the student demonstrations in Beijing that reached their tragic denoument on the night of 3-4 June 1989 took place. He was the most senior figure to lose his position as a result of the events, being placed under house arrest until his death in 2005.But fortunately for history – if perhaps less so for the party – Zhao managed to record on cassette-tapes over thirty hours’ testimony of the heady weeks leading up to 4 June 1989.
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Clinton presses China over Tiananmen
By: Truthout, June 3, 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged China to publicly account for those killed in the suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests 20 years ago. Mrs Clinton said China should release those still held over the protests and stop harassing those who took part. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people died in the crackdown and open discussion of the events remains taboo.
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After Tiananmen and prison, a comfortable but uneasy life in the new China
By: Michael Wines, NY Times, June 3, 2009
When Liu Suli was released from a Beijing prison in 1991, having served 20 months for his role in the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, he pledged to abide by what he called “the three noes.” He would grant no interviews about the protests. He would write no articles. He would accept no donations from sympathizers. But this week, as the 20th anniversary of the democracy movement’s violent end drew near, Mr. Liu relented.
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China’s new rebels
By: NY Times, June 2, 2009
In the spring of 1989, thousands of students from China’s elite universities occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing for weeks to protest government corruption and demand democracy. We asked several dissidents – some in China and some in exile – as well as scholars of Chinese politics what forms of dissent are alive in China now? How has the government adapted its response to the people’s demands?
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China rounds up dissidents, blocks Twitter
By: LA Times, June 2, 2009
Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen Square this week, Chinese authorities have rounded up dissidents and shipped them out of town. Now, they’ve even shut down Twitter. Along with their ususal methods of muzzling dissent, the authorities extended their efforts today to silence social networking sites that might foster discussion of any commemoration of the events of June 3-4, 1989.
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AFRICA

Nigeria’s democracy like a growing child
By: Victor Emeruwa, Africa News, June 4, 2009
“Nigeria’s young democracy requires more hard work, dedication and sincere leadership to make it survive,” said Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State in an event to mark the celebration of the 10th anniversary of uninterrupted civil rule in Nigeria. Powell who was a guest speaker at the event held in Abuja said credible, corruption free and fare election is at the center of Nigeria’s democratic success. “If your democracy is not people centered then you have not yet started practicing democracy,” he said.
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Zimbabwe: Three MDC activists forcibly taken from home
By: Patricia Mpofu, ZimOnline, June 4, 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC T) party says three of its activists, who were abducted by state security agents last year in Banket, were on Tuesday this week forcibly taken from their homes by state security agents. In a statement to the media on Wednesday, the MDC T named the three activists as Terry Musona, Lloyd Tarumbwa and Fani Tembo.
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Zimbabwe: Journalists challenge government over accreditation
By: Patricia Mpofu, ZimOnline, June 4, 2009
Four Zimbabwean journalists have launched a court bid to block a ministerial order requiring reporters to be accredited to cover a regional summit taking place in the country, in a case certain to expose divisions within the country’s unity government. In an urgent application filed Wednesday, freelance journalists want the High Court to declare the order illegal because the Media and Information Commission no longer exists at law.
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DRC: Government, rebels murder rights campaigners
By: Joe Bavier, Reuters, June 3, 2009
A top United Nations official on Wednesday accused police, soldiers, intelligence agents and rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo of killing, attacking, and threatening local human rights campaigners. Despite 2006 elections meant to usher in a new era of democracy and the rule of law, Margaret Sakeggya, the U.N. special reporter on the sitation of human rights defenders, said rights activists remain targets of abuse.
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Zimbabwe: Violent induction for police recruits
By: Amanda Atwood, Kubatana, June 2, 2009
This shocking 2-minute video shows police officers beating the new recruits at a Zimbabwe police depot. One by one, recruits come up to a small group of policemen, lie in a push-up type position and are beaten on the buttocks with sticks. They are then dragged off to lie down on their stomachs off to the side, or are kicked out of the way.
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Kenya: Do bloggers hold the key to the future of investigative journalism?
By: Ndesanjo Macha, Global Voices, June 1, 2009
As fewer and fewer newspapers commit enough resources, time and manpower to produce in-depth investigative reports, many citizen media enthusiasts seem to suggest that citizen journalists can step in to fill the gap. Do citizen journalists hold the key to the future of in-depth investigative journalism? Perhaps.
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Zimbabwe: Silencing silence and resisting repression
By: Tendai Marima, Kubatana, May 28, 2009
In 2006 Zimbabwe’s literary scene showed signs of life, alive and well. At the conferences and book releases I attended in 2006 and 2007, critics certainly seemed to have been appeased. Zimbabwe was slowly returning to the scene as an important literary voice and it is here in the diaspora that it was speculated more stories on contemporary Zimbabwe would emerge. Enter Brian Chikwava and Petina Gappah.
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Zimbabwe: MDC must choose their battles wisely
By: Denford Madenyika, The Zimbabwe Telegraph, May 21, 2009
The Zimbabwe political circus reminds me of my first escape from the daily struggles of subsistence rural farming to my first encounter with urban poverty. As I reflect today, I see all the characteristics of itinerant beggars manifesting themselves in ZANU PF. They act stupid, weakened and like they have lost all their zeal yet they are capable of striking back at every opportune time.
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AMERICAS

Guatemala’s ‘Twitter revolution’
By: Marisol LeBron, North American Congress on Latin America, June 3, 2009
The political crisis currently unfolding in Guatemala reads like the script of a Hollywood summer blockbuster. The Economist even quipped that it was like something out of Gabriel García Márquez’s novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold. But this is far from magical realism; in fact, it was the virtual reality of interactive networking websites – collectively labeled by some “Web 2.0” – that may have brought a presidency to its knees.
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US: Google censors article on censorship
By: Fred Burks, National Intelligence Examiner, June 3, 2009
Google for the first time has censored one of my Examiner.com articles on its main search engine. Most intriguing is that this case of censorship originates in a very inspiring news event. My censored article, published on examiner.com one week ago today, told about the wonderfully refreshing story of Stanford professor Ronald Levy being the first ever Jewish recipient of the Arab equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.
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Guatemala’s ‘Twitter revolution’
By: Marisol LeBron, North American Congress on Latin America, June 3, 2009
The political crisis currently unfolding in Guatemala reads like the script of a Hollywood summer blockbuster. The Economist even quipped that it was like something out of Gabriel García Márquez’s novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold. But this is far from magical realism; in fact, it was the virtual reality of interactive networking websites – collectively labeled by some “Web 2.0” – that may have brought a presidency to its knees.
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Mexico: Indigenous rape victims fight military impunity
By: Diego Cevallos, IPS, May 29, 2009
The aberrations of Mexican justice were clearly visible in the cases of rape and torture allegedly committed by soldiers in 2002 against two indigenous women, Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo. But their experiences are not exceptional in rural areas of the southern state of Guerrero.
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