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Twenty-three years after Tiananmen, China is still paying

(CPJ/IFEX) - May 31, 2012 - The following is a CPJ Blog post:

By Madeline Earp/CPJ Senior Asia Research Associate

The annual crackdown on commemorations of the June 4 anniversary of the brutal suppression of student-led demonstrations based in Tiananmen Square in 1989 Beijing is under way, according to Agence France-Presse. What's concerning is the number of writers and activists for whom "crackdown" is the new normal.

Two high-profile cases have brought the stresses of constant home surveillance and intimidation into the international media. Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng's flight from his 19-month house arrest has made him a household name, and facilitated his temporary relocation to New York City this week. Bizarrely, the LA Times reported Monday that despite his escape, his village remains under security lockdown, patrolled by plain-clothed security officials and paramilitaries. Artist and documentarian Ai Weiwei, who was held incommunicado for 80 days last year, also faces continual interaction with secret police, according to the U.K. Daily Telegraph. The Canadian Globe and Mail documents the security cameras surrounding the artist's Beijing compound-and reports that Ai is followed whenever he leaves.

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