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China defends Xi after Tiananmen Mothers criticise him

Last Updated: Friday, May 31, 2013 - 17:58

Beijing: After relatives of over 100 people killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown accused China`s President Xi Jinping of taking the country "backwards towards Maoist orthodoxy", Beijing on Friday defended its new leadership, saying Chinese people enjoyed extensive rights and freedom.

"China has already reached a clear conclusion on the political turmoil" of the Tiananmen Square protests, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a media briefing.

Hong was replying to a question on Tiananmen Mothers activist group`s criticism of Xi for failing to launch political reforms and moving the country backwards to Moist era.

"We have seen constant development of Chinese economy, building of the democratic and legal system in the 20 plus years," Hong said.

"We can see that the path we have chosen serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. The Chinese people enjoy extensive rights and freedom. The Chinese government and the people will follow through the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics," Hong said.

Highlighting Tiananmen Square crackdown to quell the protests demanding freedom leading to the deaths of hundreds of students, the Tiananmen Mothers activist group has urged the new leadership to open a dialogue and provide a reassessment of the June 4, 1989 pro-democracy movement.

In an open letter released today through New York-based Human Rights in China, the group accused Xi of mixing together the "things that were most unpopular and most in need of repudiation" during the time of former paramount leaders Mao Zedong and his successor Deng Xiaoping.

"This has caused those individuals who originally harboured hopes in him in carrying out political reform to fall into sudden disappointment and despair," the group said.

Xi headed the new leadership structure after the once-in-a-decade-leadership change of the CPC in November last and took over as President and Chief of the military earlier this year.

Expectations were that Xi being the son of Xi Zhongxun, a reformist former vice premier who was persecuted under Mao would initiate political reforms but the government has not shown any opening up, instead even tightened rules on the internet.

The Tiananmen Mothers said they had not seen Xi reflecting upon or "show remorse in the slightest for the sins committed during the three decades of Maoist communism. What we see, precisely, are giant steps backwards towards Maoist orthodoxy," the group said.

China`s government has so far provided no official toll for the repression. Unofficial estimates of the numbers killed range from around 200 to 3,000.


First Published: Friday, May 31, 2013 - 17:58
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