60 still jailed in China over 1989 protests

Hong Kong, April 5:

At least 60 people are still jailed in China over 1989 protests that led to a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations centered at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, a human rights activist said today.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong, John Kamm urged China to release the 60 to 100 Tiananmen protesters before the Beijing Summer Olympics in August. “China needs to do something at this point because its international image is really in pretty bad shape,” said Kamm, executive director of the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, which advocates for political prisoners and conducts research on Chinese prisons.

Kamm said a pre-Olympic amnesty would boost China’s image amid the recent international backlash against its crackdown on recent anti-Chinese protests in Tibet.

He named six of the alleged prisoners who purportedly staged protests in different parts of China and were jailed on convictions including hooliganism, arson and “counter revolutionary armed mass rebellion.” Four are serving reduced life sentences, Kamm said.

He said he was concerned that China has released fewer names of political prisoners since 1989. The June 1989 protests at Tiananmen Square led to a military crackdown that killed hundreds of people.