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June 4th Poems Banned in China

Poems written by exiled Tiananmen student leaders

By Rong Yi
VOA News
Apr 30, 2007

LOS ANGELES—The June 4th Poems , a collection of works by 215 exiled overseas Tiananmen Student leaders, including Wang Dan, is scheduled to be published in May. Recently, several Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official websites have reported intensified efforts to confiscate pirated copies of book that have already begun to surface.

One of the authors, Wang Dan said,"I think our book being banned indicates that our work makes the CCP feel threatened. The book is a shock to the CCP, and this encourages us. Everyone living in China knows that the more a book is forbidden, the more interest people have in it. It's like the CCP is doing free advertising for us. Of course, we condemn what they're doing, but I don't think they'll achieve their objectives. It's more like dropping a brick to their own feet than anything else."

Reciting Poems To Commemorate June 4th

Although the book is banned in China, a number of commemorative recitation activities are expected to be held this year. Jiang Pinchao, one of the editors and authors, said, "The poems are expected to be recited at Hong Kong's June 4th commemorative activity. The Taiwan Democracy Foundation is also going to hold an activity at which Lin Huanzhang, a famous poet in Taiwan, is expected to recite his works included in the book."

According to Jiang, the book is 436 pages long, with a collection of 385 poems, three of which were composed by Wang Dan. Some of the other authors include Zhang Boli, Bei Dao, Yu Guangzhong, Liu Xiaobo and Lin Huanzhang.

Anhui Province Took The Lead In Confiscation

The first report of the June 4th Poems being confiscated was published in February. The News and Publication Bureau and the Copyright Bureau in Huainan City, AnHui Province posted a report of detailing the confiscation the June 4th Poems on their website. The article was later removed from the website, and the website itself is currently down.

Tibet and Chongqing Released Reports of Confiscation

CCP official websites of Shannan District of China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Jiulongpo District of Chongqing Municipality, have carried reports that copies of the book have been confiscated by local governments under instructions from higher authorities.

On January 31st, a Tibetan website posted a report entitled "Shannan District carries out inspection in culture market before the Chinese New Year." It said that the department in charge of confiscating the June 4th Poems dispatched 39 persons and 17 vehicles in total.

The official website of Jiulongpo District in Chongqing City posted a report on March 29. The report said that in the first quarter of 2007, for the purpose of maintaining political and cultural safety during the holidays and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences, the Jiulongpo District Business Bureau dispatched a total of 822 persons and 113 vehicles to clean out politically illegal publications and software such as the June 4th Poems .

The June 4th Poems Committee of Editors has 16 members, among which are Jiang Pinchao, Wang Dan, Zhang Boli, Chen Pokong, Yu Yingshi, Wang Juntao and FuXiqiu. The committee posted the call for input last June on the Internet, which lasted until December. It's possible that the drafts may have been leaked during the editing and negotiating process, which would explain how private copies have been able to emerge in China before publication.