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Tiananmen massacre photo slips into China paper

Fiel image of Tiananmen massacre. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 25, 2008
A leading state-run Chinese newspaper has published a photo of victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, breaking a long-standing order for China's media to avoid the highly sensitive issue.

The photo, showing bloodied victims being rushed away on bicycles, was published in the Beijing News on Thursday as part of the interview of Liu Xiangcheng, a photographer who had documented changes in China over 30 years.

It is simply captioned 'The Wounded' in the paper.

The image is well-known among China watchers, can be widely viewed on Google images with a caption saying it depicts victims of the Tiananmen massacre.

The images on the Internet have Liu's name alongside the caption, as well as the agency he used to work for.

Hundreds and possibly thousands of people died on June 4, 1989, when the army moved in to clear out student-led demonstrators who had occupied Tiananmen square for weeks, demanding democracy and an end to official corruption.

The massacre remains one of the most taboo subjects in China, where the official line is that authorities put down the "political disturbance" to safeguard economic and social stability.

AFP contacted several people at the Beijing News, all of whom refused to comment or denied any knowledge of the photo. The online version of the interview and photos was not on the paper's website on Friday.

In June last year, three editors of the Chengdu Evening News, a newspaper in southwest China, were sacked after a clerk allowed a tribute to the victims of the massacre to slip into its classified ads section.

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