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A group of students, along with two Chinese refugees, held a gathering in front of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok on Tuesday (4 June) in memory of the 4 June 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square.

The printout of a tank with a sign saying "a tank crushing those who think differently" (Source: Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal)

The student group, calling themselves “Humanity Without Borders”, was led by Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal and Sirin Mungcharoen, both students at Chulalongkorn University. The group placed white flowers in front of a printout of a tank, and observed a moment’s silence in memory of the dead.

The group also called for the Chinese government to end the violence against the Uighur people, and the legal prosecution of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

As well as the student group, two Chinese refugees were at the Chinese Embassy. One man laid himself down in the shape of the number 6 in front of a paper cut-out of the number 4, signifying 4 June, the day of the massacre. He said that he campaigned for democracy 20 years ago and was imprisoned. Another man held up four fingers on one hand and one on the other – also meaning 4/6 or 4 June – and said that he was part of the protest at Tiananmen Square 30 years ago. 

On 4 June 1989, the Chinese government’s suppression of the protest at Tiananmen Square turned into a massacre in which up to a thousand protestors lost their lives. The authorities have subsequently censored any mention of the event. Around the time of each anniversary, the authorities tighten security around Tiananmen Square and take human rights activists out of the city. They also try to block any images or mention of the event online.

In 2018, Radio Free Asia reported that two men in Hunan were arrested for holding signs in remembrance on the Tiananmen massacre on the 29th anniversary of the event. There have also been reports that the mothers of those killed have been surveilled and harassed by police officers. The censorship is reportedly so extreme that 4 people in Sichuan were arrested for creating a brand of liquor whose name translates as “89.6.4”, matching the year, month, and date of the massacre, and transferring money in an amount which matches these four numbers is also prohibited.

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