Washington students, leaders protest "Beijing massacre"


WASHINGTON, June 10, 1989 (UPI) - Protesters were joined by city lawmakers Saturday in a demonstration condemning the China government's military attack last weekend on pro-democracy students in Beijing.

The demonstrators, estimated by police to number up to 3,000, were shouting anti-communist slogans and waving American flags. They called for freedom and democracy in China and denounced its government for the killing of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of students and civilians.


''Down with Li Peng,'' shouted Lichien Chen, the former chairman of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, an umbrella group for more than 25 organizations, and a coordinator of the protest.

''Down with murder,'' Chen bellowed into a microphone, raising his fist with each declaration. ''Down with communism. Long live freedom. Long live democracy.''

The pro-democracy demonstration was the second to occur in Washington in the past week. The number of demonstrators was variously estimated from several hundred to the police estimate late Sunday of 3,000, from Chinese and Chinese-American students to senior citizens and young professionals.

William Mak, the self-proclaimed mayor of Washington's Chinatown and president of the association, brought several demonstrators to tears as he spoke of the bloodshed in Tiananmen Square.

''We are asking for support for the students who sacrificed their lives for democracy in our homeland,'' Mak told the protesters, who gathered along the city's Dupont Circle and later marched to the Chinese Embassy under sunny skies.


''I appeal to the governments of the world, and especially the United States government, to bring about more effective measures against the barbaric rulers of China,'' Mak shouted. ''We will give our full support to the Chinese people's fight for freedom and democracy.''

Several Asian organizations set up donation boxes and officials said the funds would go toward families of slain protesters. Other groups and individuals brought flowers and wore arm bands to memorialize the dead.

City Councilman David Clarke, shouting to the protesters, said a resolution was introduced last week directing Mayor Marion Barry to suspend the ''sister-city relationship'' the district has with Beijing.

Clarke also said he will introduce an amendment Tuesday requesting the mayor to drape black cloth around the friendship pillars in Chinatown as a symbolic show of support.

''If he doesn't do it,'' Clarke said, ''I will.''

The protesters, carrying signs that read, ''Stop the bloodshed'' and ''Chinese Hitler: Li Peng,'' later marched to the Chinese Embassy where local leaders dedicated a replica of the Statue of Liberty to the slain students in Beijing.

Some of the demonstrators placed flowers at the foot of the statue, while others waved American flags and banners.

Angeli Hsu, who was born in Taiwan and now lives in Germantown, Md., said she has tried for weeks to reach her parents and relatives living in Beijing, but with no success.


''I can't get through on the phone,'' said Hsu, 36. ''I try to call them just about every night and every day. I've sent cables and express mail but I don't know if they got it.''

Barry, who made a surprise appearance at the rally, called for a ''return to balance'' in Beijing and likened his experience as a civil rights protester to the oppression of China's pro-democracy movement.

''I'm here to show solidarity with the People's Republic of China ... and to demonstrate my quest for freedom of sppech ... and democratization of their government,'' he said.

''As a product of the civil rights movement, I know how it feels ... to be (hit) with guns and clubs but not killed,'' he said. ''We're together. Democracy now. Stop the murders.''

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