Document 2 of 13.
Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
May 18, 1999
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 343 words
HEADLINE: Dissidents slam China for
"cynically" allowing anti-NATO protests
DATELINE: BEIJING, May 18
US-based dissidents on Tuesday slammed the Chinese government for
"cynically" allowing angry protests against NATO while forbidding commemoration of those
who died in the bloody crackdown of 1989.
"We ... mourn the tragic deaths of our fellow countrymen and women, who were
killed in the accidental US
bombing attack. But we also mourn the lives of those ... who were mowed down by
tanks in Tiananmen Square," the New York-based
Free China movement said in a statement.
"(We accused) Beijing of cynically using anti-NATO demonstrations to whip up a
new, dangerous wave of nationalism in China," the statement said, denying this meant the movement was unpatriotic.
China's official media used inflammatory and emotive language to encourage
angry protests at the bombing, which killed
three journalists and injured several others.
The government said it would support all
Thousands of people marched to the US and other NATO embassies, shouting
anti-US slogans and hurling rocks, paint and petrol bombs at the embassy and
besieging the ambassador.
After three days, the
government sought to cool popular anger by publishing apologies by NATO leaders
and urging students to return to the classroom to build a stronger China.
"We are challenging the government to permit pro-democracy activists across
China ... to peacefully demonstrate for their fundamental human rights on June
4th," Free China Movement director Timothy Cooper said in the statement.
"That, more than anything else, will gain China the respect it desires before
the world," he said.
The authorities have tightened political control and closed off Tiananmen
Square for repairs ahead of the 10th anniversary of the
crackdown on June 4th.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed when the army suppressed several
weeks of peaceful student-led pro-democracy protests in 1989.
China refers to the bloodshed as
"counter-revolutionary rebellion" or
"political turmoil" and has never given an official estimate of the number who
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