The European Union voiced concern on May 28 over the recent crackdown human rights activists by Communist Party authorities in China before the approaching anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, the military crackdown that took place on June 4, 1989 .
“We are deeply concerned by the recent arrests and detentions of a large number of peaceful human rights defenders, lawyers and intellectuals,” said a statement released on May 28 by the European External Action Service, a run by the EU foreign affairs and security policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Among the arrested and detained are Hu Shigen, a lecturer at Beijing University, Xu Youyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Hao Jian, a professor at the Beijing Film Academy.
Millions of Chinese supported the democracy protests that began in April of 1989, calling for an end to corruption and more democracy. The massacre is commonly called the June Fourth Incident in Chinese, when civilians were gunned down in Beijing by a battalion of the People’s Liberation Army. The event was covered by journalists in Beijing and shocked the world. Communist Party leaders in China still center news and information about the massacre.
Reports compiled by Human Rights in China (HRIC), a Chinese NGO founded in March 1989 by overseas Chinese students and scientists, show scores of arrests and detentions since April this year.
In its recent communication, the EU called on China to abide by universal human rights laws and respect freedoms of conscience, expression, and association, and to release all political detainees.