Chinese students mock pro-government rallies


BEIJING, June 2, 1989 (UPI) - The government used charges of foreign involvement to campaign against the student-led democracy movement Friday, staging a rally with anti-American overtones and using the state media to blast ''interfering groups'' from outside China.

The latest volleys to discredit the movement met with derision as 3,000 students, wearing pig masks and swastikas, bicycled through central Beijing in a sarcastic demonstration mocking the last three days of officially orchestrated, pro-government rallies.


At central Tiananmen Square, some 10,000 university students entered the 21st day of an occupation that prompted sympathizers across China last month to stage the largest anti-government demonstrations in almost 40 years of communist rule.

Although the student-led movement had withered in the past week, more than 50,000 people packed the square to cheer a Communist Party member, two university professors and a Taiwanese rock star launching a new hunger strike to protest martial law in Beijing.


''The martial law is an extremely absurd and stupid action that sets a despicable precedent,'' the four said in a statement.

Protest leaders said they would fast in relays, switching every three days until June 20, when the ruling body of China's parliament is to meet. Students hope the nominal legislature will use its constitutional power to remove conservative Premier Li Peng.

Li has been the main target of pro-democracy demonstrators for declaring martial law in parts of Beijing May 20 in a bid to end the Tiananmen Square sit-in, which began with a weeklong student hunger strike, and defuse the nationwide protests it spawned.

Martial law has been treated with widespread contempt since tens of thousands of citizens stopped troops from entering Beijing at makeshift barricades.

But more than 200,000 troops remain encamped in and around Beijing, and have appeared more openly lately in the capital. Squads of helmeted soldiers have been seen taking morning jogs from their base at the main rail station near the square.

The government has also for three days organized rallies in Beijing suburbs to give the appearance of support for Li and the martial law decree.

As many as 10,000 peasants, cadres and children gathered Friday in a stadium in Miyun County, 50 miles northeast of Beijing, for a rally featuring three men in Uncle Sam costumes, their blue capes and top hats emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes.


One held suspended from a rope a black paper heart bearing the name of astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, China's most prominent dissident. Along it were tied pieces of white paper labeled ''American dollars.''

Witnesses said the listless and undemonstrative crowd chanted ''Down with Fang Lizhi.''

State-run television, meanwhile, broadcast excerpts from a sharp commentary to be published Saturday in the official newspaper Beijing Daily.

''This chaos is planned and premeditated by interfering groups from both inside and outside China,'' the commentary charged.

Li has already been quoted by a Hong Kong newspaper as having suggested a probe into possible foreign involvement in the pro-democracy movement.

The government showed continued annoyance with a 30-foot-high statue erected by students at Tiananmen Square and dubbed ''The Spirit of Democracy.'' The party newspaper People's Daily called the statue, which resembles the Statue of Liberty and has attracted curiosity seekers, an ''anarchic action.''

Western diplomats, meanwhile, reported no sign of a resolution in the power struggle among Chinese leaders set off by the weeks of mass protests.

Conservatives behind Li and senior leader Deng Xiaoping are battling with moderates grouped around Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, a reformist who is reportedly to be purged for breaking with other leaders and advocating a softer line toward protesters.


The diplomats said conservatives were delaying an expected meeting of the 175-member party Central Committee on Zhao's future, noting official comments leaking out on Zhao recently have become less harsh.

''You delay Central Committee meetings when you're not sure how they are going to come out,'' a senior analyst told reporters.

In the bicycle procession through the capital, about 3,000 college students mocked the government propaganda blitz, donning swastikas, dunce caps and pig masks and chanting slogans in support of dictatorship.

''Li Peng will pay you 10 yuan ($2.70) to join us,'' yelled one marcher referring to reports the government paid people to take part in pro-martial law rallies.

''Support dictatorship, suppress democracy,'' chanted the students, drawing cheers and laughter from onlookers.

The procession swung past Tiananmen Square to the offices of the government-run Beijing Daily newspaper, where the protesters burned copies of the newspaper.

In eastern Jiangsu Province, hundreds of students entered the second day of a 960-mile march from the provincial capital of Nanjing to Beijing, where they hope to join the protest in Tiananmen Square, an American teacher said by telephone.

The teacher said two American students at Nanjing University who left the city with the marchers were interrogated by authorities for two hours. The two were asked why they were with the procession and whether they were journalists, the teacher said.


The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai could not be reached for confirmation.

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