This Saturday, June 4, 2011, marks the 22nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, where thousands of pro-democracy activists were killed, injured or imprisoned by Chinese authorities. This year’s Tiananmen anniversary comes at a time of greatly increased political repression in China. According to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), “Chinese authorities have launched a broad crackdown against rights defenders, reform advocates, lawyers, petitioners, writers, artists, and Internet bloggers in what international observers have described as one of the harshest crackdowns in years."
Over the last several months, activist groups such as Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) have repeatedly tried to draw attention to this harsh renewal of repression in China. In an article entitled “Missing before Action” in the March issue of Foreign Policy Magazine, a CHRD writer noted that hundreds of Chinese human rights activists, lawyers, and pro-democracy dissidents from across the country have been affected by the crackdown. Police have used “violence, arbitrary detention, "disappearances," and other forms of harassment and intimidation” to put a damper on any nascent protest movement. Other dissidents --or non-dissident citizens walking the streets -- have been picked up for questioning.
Although authorities began tightening the political screws in the period leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it appears that the recent democratic uprisings in the Middle East have given added impetus to this policy.