CHINA HAS ARRESTED 23 TIANANMEN PAPERS SUSPECTS


2002.05.30
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WASHINGTON--Chinese officials have detained or arrested 23 people in the last year on suspicion of leaking explosive documents related to the June 4, 1989, crackdown, the secretive editor of The Tiananmen Papers writes in an exclusive commentary for Radio Free Asia (RFA). Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former Prime Minister Li Peng have "used their formidable national security network to try to apprehend the compiler of the book--launching a task force headed by public security chief Luo Gan," Zhang Liang, pseudonym of the book�s compiler, writes. "Special agents have made more than 130 trips to the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan to conduct thorough investigations and collect intelligence." "In more than 10 cities and provinces--including Beijing,Tianjin, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hubei, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Hainan, and Sichuan--they conducted surprise searches that appear to be connected to The Tiananmen Papers. Altogether, security officers have arrested or detained 23 people whom they suspect of having been involved in compiling The Tiananmen Papers." Zhang Liang is the pen name of the Chinese civil servant and Communist Party member who secretly compiled documents chronicling the decision by Chinese leaders to use force against their own people in 1989. The Tiananmen Papers, published a year ago and edited in English by noted American sinologists Andrew Nathan and Perry Link, were culled from the minutes of confidential meetings, intelligence reports, and numerous other official sources. Taken together, these materials suggest that the Chinese leadership was profoundly divided over how to handle the mushrooming 1989 protests and that a number of senior officials favored a more measured response. The American editors and publisher of the book maintain that the documents were spirited out of China by party insiders who favor political reform. But Beijing reacted to their publication by banning the book, questioning the authenticity of its source material, and dramatically expanding its "blacklist" of individuals targeted for arrest if they should try to enter China. "The actions of the special task force were highly secretive and well-coordinated," Zhang writes. "Security officers would conduct surprise searches, usually when the particular family member who was under suspicion wasn't at home. Agents searched for and confiscated books, references, photographs, videotapes, audiotapes, address books, business cards, and other items, and sent them directly to the Ministry of Public Security." In his essay, written to mark the 13th anniversary of the Chinese military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, Zhang condemns the continuing house arrest of former party chief Zhao Ziyang--sacked in 1989 for overtly sympathizing with the protesters. He also urged the Nobel committee to award its coveted Prize for Peace to the Tiananmen Mothers. The group comprises women whose children were killed by military gunfire on June 4th, 1989, and who have lobbied consistently for an official reassessment of the violence that rocked China on that day. RFA will broadcast part I of Zhang Liang's essay on Monday, June 3, at 11:05 p.m. Chinese time and again on Tuesday, June 4, at 1:05 a.m. Part II will follow on Tuesday, June 4, at 5:05 a.m. and again at 7:05 a.m. Zhang Liang�s essay will be available in English and Chinese late Friday at www.rfa.org. "The June 4th Tiananmen Square crackdown was a crime committed by the Chinese Communist Party. Economic development can never heal the psychological damage it inflicted on the Chinese people," Zhang Liang writes. "Bypassing June 4th in an effort to achieve political stability, economic development, and prosperity will fail. China's people want redress for June 4th and a transparent political system. China's new leaders must have the confidence, strength, and resolve... to reassess the June 4th, 1989, and start China on the path to democracy." Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcasts news, information, and cultural programming to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia--giving them a voice as well as a means of connecting with the world and with one another. Created by the U.S. Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.

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