Date
25 September 2017
US President Barack Obama has used a speech in Poland to make a rare reference to the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. Photo: Reuters
US President Barack Obama has used a speech in Poland to make a rare reference to the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Obama condemns crushing of June 4 protests

US President Barack Obama has made a rare mention of the 25th anniversary of the June 4 incident during a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Apple Daily reported Thursday.

Marking a quarter of a century since the fall of the iron curtain in Eastern Europe, Obama said Wednesday that Poland is a “wonderful story” but “the story of this nation reminds us that freedom is not guaranteed.”

“On the same day 25 years ago that Poles were voting here, tanks were crushing peaceful democracy protests in Tiananmen Square on the other side of the world. The blessings of liberty must be earned and renewed by every generation — including our own,” he said.

The White House also issued a statement urging the Chinese government to take responsibility for the death, imprisonment and disappearance of people in the crackdown.

It said it honored the memories of those who gave their lives in the protest and while it applauds China’s 30 years of social and economic progress, it will continue to call for Beijing to guarantee protection of universal rights and fundamental freedoms.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also called Tuesday for Beijing to reveal the truth of the June 4 incident, prompting the Chinese Foreign Ministry to brand Pillay’s statement as a violent intrusion into China’s internal affairs.

Major Japanese newspaper titles, such as the Yomiuri Shimbun and Nihon Keizai Shimbun, hit out at Beijing and President Xi Jinping for bans on remembrances for those who died on June 4 incident, for interfering with the work of journalists, for monitoring public discussions online, and for raising fears about “the future of Asia’s biggest country”.

In a rare and high-profile stand, Vietnamese media also joined in the attack over the massacre, as well as the Chinese government’s iron grip on censorship, the report said.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

EL/AC/SK

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