International news briefs
Tiananmen protests 1976 and 1989
HONG KONG — About two dozen activists held a protest march on April 5 to commemorate the heroic demonstration by tens of thousands of Chinese in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, 23 years ago to condemn the dictatorial rule of Mao Zedong and his fellow bureaucrats — the Gang of Four. The 1976 action was bloodily suppressed.
The police tried to block the protesters from laying a wreath outside the New China News Agency, leading to a scuffle. The Internationale was sung, along with another song which originated in the democracy movement in Tiananmen in 1989. A minute's silence was observed to remember those killed in those protests. Clenched fists were held high while they shouted: "The June 4 massacre mustn't be forgotten, rehabilitate the 1989 democracy movement" and "End the one-party dictatorship, power to the people".
Meanwhile, an international petition campaign to press Beijing to reject the characterisation of the 1989 protests as counter-revolutionary will be launched on April 10 in Hong Kong, Vancouver and San Francisco. The campaign is an initiative of the June 4 Tenth Anniversary Committee and the Tiananmen Generation Association. Visit <http://www.June4.org> or e-mail <sanching@June4.org>.
NZ gives more power to intelligence service
Legislation giving Security Intelligence Service (SIS) agents the power to break into premises, including private homes, was passed by the NZ parliament on March 25. Backed by the National and Labour parties, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Amendment Bill was passed 99 votes to 20.
The government introduced the bill after the NZ Court of Appeal ruled that SIS agents had acted illegally in July 1996 when they broke into the Christchurch home of anti-free trade activist (and Green Left Weekly contributor) Aziz Choudry. The government, and the SIS, had believed the agents already had that right under previous legislation.
The NZ Alliance and New Zealand First voted against the bill.