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Gaddafi slur infuriates HK rights activists

Outrage at Libyan leader's comparisons with Tiananmen Square

Gaddafi slur infuriates HK rights activists
Protestors holding jasmine flowers and banners that say the authority is reporter, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

February 24, 2011

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Hong Kong rights activists have slammed Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi for citing the 1989 Tiananmen incident in Beijing to threaten a crackdown on his people in an attempt to maintain his control. Revolts erupted in Libya as unrest swept through the Arab world. In a speech on state TV February 22, Gaddafi threatened a high-pressure crackdown, citing similar examples in other countries including the Tiananmen Square incident. Lee Cheuk-yan, the new chairman of a Hong Kong alliance in support of patriotic democratic movements of China, said it was outrageous for him to take the 1989 crackdown, which shamed the Chinese, as an example to justify his killing. Lee also regrets seeing that “what other countries learn from China is cracking down on their people.” The alliance was formed in May 1989, when a million local people took to the streets in support of the mass democracy movement in mainland China, which ended with the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing on June 4. Tang Wing-fai, project secretary of the Hong Kong Christian Institute, criticized Gaddafi’s disrespect of life, noting that Gaddafi showed he would not tolerate any challenge. Human rights and democracy in China and other countries have changed much since 1989. “If he still thinks he could stabilize the country through a crackdown, it shows how crazy he is,” Tang said. Lina Chan Lai-na, executive secretary of the Catholic diocese's Justice and Peace Commission, claimed Gaddafi was “rubbing salt in the wounds” of families of those who died in Tiananmen Square. Beijing too should heed the lesson that dictatorship is under threat as shown by the anti-government waves in the Arab world, Chan warned, referring to the Chinese authority’s detention of some 100 mainland rights activists and lawyers since an internet call for a "jasmine revolution" in China, named after the unrest that swept North Africa. The authority suspects the activists were involved in the internet appeal, which called for rallies in 13 major cities in China. Lee joined other rights groups in a protest outside the liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong yesterday, demanding the release of the mainland activists. Meanwhile, another appeal is spreading on the internet to call for another rally next Sunday. HK13424.1642

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