Chen Xitong

Tiananmen judgment 'will never change'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 September, 1997, 12:00am


Related topics

Beijing will never reverse its verdict on the 1989 democracy movement and its suppression, Justice Minister Xiao Yang declared yesterday.

'The party and the people have already arrived at a correct judgment of that incident and there will be no change in that,' he said.

He added that 'correct handling' had ensured the long-term stability of China.

He declined to respond to questions about the alleged petition by ousted party chief Zhao Ziyang calling for a new look at the verdict on the student movement.

He also declined to reveal more details about the upcoming trial of Chen Xitong , former party secretary of Beijing.

Until now, Mr Xiao said, the case had been an internal affair of the party and it was now in the hands of the procuratorial organs.

Chen had squandered public funds and allowed his staff and children to embezzle money for business, he added.

The case has been linked to the Tiananmen Square tragedy because students were protesting against political corruption.

But asked whether the decision to expel Chen undermined the credibility of the 1989 report on the democracy movement, which was used to jail many people as counter-revolutionaries, Mr Xiao said the two were unrelated.

Mr Xiao also dodged questions on citizens' right of assembly and whether it was a crime to demand changing China's political system.

The Justice Minister twice avoided replying to questions regarding the number of executions and capital crimes in China.

There were only a very limited number of executions in China, he said.

Amnesty International recently reported that China executes more prisoners than the rest of the world put together, but although the Chinese media reports thousands of executions a year, it does not wish the total known.

Mr Xiao also gave no hint as to whether the International Committee of the Red Cross would be allowed to visit Chinese prisons, saying that the organisation had asked for too much during talks in 1994.

Asked why families of so many prisoners described terrible jail conditions, he insisted all inmates enjoyed full rights, including medical care, visits and work insurance.