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Tiananmen protesters fight on the Web

Anniversary of massacre marked with online petition

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The Chinese authorities may have been able to close off Tiananmen Square for "street repairs" on the tenth anniversary of the bloody massacre in Beijing, but they have been unable to stifle support for the pro-democracy movement in cyberspace. Wang Dan, a student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, said his Global Petition Campaign has received over 100,000 signatures. Some 20,000 of these from 120 countries have been gathered by the campaign's Web site. The June4 petition has also received 1000 signatures from mainland China, providing confirmation that news of the human rights campaign has broken through the Chinese information blockade. For in its bid to sweep the memory of the event under the carpet, the Chinese authorities have closed down chat room and Net connections. They have even barred CNN from hotels and apartment buildings. According to a Reuters report, this has been done to allow "maintenance" work to be carried out. "From Andorra to Zimbabwe, we are encouraged by the overwhelming support for the campaign," said Wang in New York where he is attending commemorative events for the 10th anniversary of Tiananmen. "By October 1, we hope to collect enough signatures to send a strong message to the Chinese Government -- that it must take responsibility for the Beijing massacre." Many people who have tried to gather signatures within China were harassed, detained and arrested, said Wang. ®

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