Smell the Totalitarianism

The AP reports:

A human rights activist says at least 60 people are still jailed in China for protests by pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989 at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. John Kamm said in a speech in Hong Kong today that between 60 and 100 such protesters remain jailed and he urged China to release them before the Beijing Olympics.

Kamm also says he’s concerned that China has released fewer names of political prisoners since 1989.

There are actually major similarities between the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the Tiananmen Square protests. At first, the Chinese government denied that there had been any violence against the protesters, suggesting instead that the only injuries were suffered by the police. Then news and images began to filter out about the extent and violence of China’s crackdown. Even today, the official accounts of Tiananmen are vastly difference from the account given by the victims.

We’re seeing a similar scenario play out in Tibet. China continues to grossly understate the number of people confirmed killed. Only a fraction of the number that have been arrested or detained around Tibet is being reported by the Chinese government. It’s frightening to think that China continues to hold over 60 political prisoners from the 1989 protests, given that these protests happened with the world watching and those detained are presumably Han Chinese. Imagine what license the CCP may take when it comes to Tibetan monks, nuns, and lay people taken in the dead of night by military forces?

One of the clearest demands of China with regard to their crackdown in Tibet is that they must allow international observers into Tibet to meet with detainees, to monitor their treatment, and to get a full account of how many Tibetan political prisoners are currently being held. Will this happen? Almost certainly not, for what totalitarian government is interested in voluntarily submitting themselves to accountability on the global stage?

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