Saturday, June 4, 2011


Former soldiers

A source close to People’s Liberation Army Lt. Gen. Xu Qinxian, who served a five-year jail term for refusing to lead his 38th army troops into Beijing on the eve of the crackdown, had been relocated to the northern city of Shijiazhuang in February.

Xu, 75, was told to leave following the publication of an interview with him in Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper in February.

"The next day he was sent to Shijiazhuang. They won't let him live in Beijing," the source said. "They're being very strict."

"He used to spend most of his time in Beijing, but they won't let him come back now."

A second source said they had recently discussed the crackdown with another veteran.

"I ran into one guy and we got talking," the second source said. "We started talking about Tiananmen Square, and then he told me a bit later that he was one of the troops that carried out the crackdown."

"He said it took days to wash the blood off Tiananmen Square ... and that they had kept photos to bear witness to history."

According to the diaries of Zhao's successor, the deeply unpopular hardliner Li Peng, no blood was shed during the move into the Square on the night of June 3.

"Who says no blood was spilled on Tiananmen Square?" the source quoted the retired soldier as saying.

No form of public memorial has ever been held for those who died when the People’s Liberation Army cleared thousands of protesters from the center of the city.

Instead, police regularly clamp down on any form of public protest or discontent at this time of year.

Khmer Voice

Twenty-two years on, Chinese authorities removed from the capital former political and military officials with first-hand knowledge of the 1989 military crackdown on Tiananmen Square protests.

Calls to the Beijing home of Bao Tong, former top Communist Party aide to late ousted premier Zhao Ziyang, went unanswered on Thursday.

Bao, who has been under house arrest since his release from a seven-year jail term in the wake of Zhao's fall, typically writes political essays marking "sensitive" anniversaries in the ruling Party's history, arguing for democratic change.

"I think they probably left the day before yesterday," Bao's Hong Kong-based son, Bao Pu, said on Friday. "There have been arrangements made for them to visit some hot springs."

"My father has always refused this in the past, but this year there have been orders that he must not be allowed to give interviews, not even on the phone," Bao Pu said.

"They will probably be back on June 5 or 6."