June 3 - Twenty-two years after China's infamous Tiananmen Square crackdown, not much progress on political dissidents. Julie Noce reports.
EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL It's an iconic picture, a non-violent protester attempting to block Chinese military in the 1989 Tianamen Square incident. June 4th marks the 22nd anniversary of the bloody crackdown that brought international attention to China's questionable human rights record. When asked about China's current stance on political dissent, the government offers its standard response. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON HONG LEI SAYING: "At present, Chinese citizens enjoy the best human rights status in the history of China and a wide range of political rights. Meanwhile, citizens should abide by the Chinese constitution and other regulations and carry out their legal rights within the framework of the law." But reality tells a different story. Inspired by the "Jasmine Revolution" across the Arab world, calls for similar protests in February were thwarted early and often. Last year's Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is currently in jail serving an 11-year sentence for subversion. And controversial artist Ai Weiwei has been detained since April -- he's being investigated for economic crimes. Twenty two years after Tianamen, China's pro-democracy movement still exists, but only on the fringe of society. Off the mainland in Hong Kong, a group of students are recreating the '89 hunger strikes and plan to go without food until the anniversary. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STUDENT TAKING PART IN HUNGER STRIKE SAMUEL LI SAYING: "We want to remind Hong Kong people they should not forget the June 4th massacre and they should come out to speak their voice and to press the Chinese government to change their political structure." But also this year, the 90th anniversary of the founding of China's Communist party. So, in a year of international upheaval and sensitive anniversaries, the voice of political dissent that was hushed 22 years ago will likely remain quiet today. Julie Noce, Reuters