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Friday, 11 August, 2000, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Editors sacked over Tiananmen footage
Tiananmen square protests
Footage of the Tiananmen square protests is banned
A Chinese television station has suspended three news editors for broadcasting brief footage from the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The news director of the Zhuhai television station in the southern Guangdong province and two of his editors were transferred to other jobs after showing two seconds of the student pro-democracy uprising.

Tiananmen square protests
The 1989 protesters demanded democracy for China
A Zhuhai television spokesman said the scenes were amongst background images of a report on the opening of a new Macau Television Station.

But the Chinese Government considers the 1989 protests, in which hundreds of protesters died, a taboo subject.

A spokesman for the station, who declined to be named, said the editors were unaware that scenes from Tiananmen Square had been included.

'No bad influence'

According to the spokesman, the editors will continue to be employed by the television station in different capacities.

"Their punishment has already been serious, they only made a work mistake," he said.

The crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests by the Chinese military was seen by television audiences across the world on 4 June 1989.

The Chinese military moved in with tanks and armoured vehicles to re-take the occupied square in central Beijing.

Chinese president Jiang Zemin
Some people say Jiang Zemin wants to keep the media on a firm rein
Macau, which borders Zhuhai, is a former Portuguese colony returned to China last year, and has fewer restrictions on its media as a result of China's "one country, two systems" policy, which allows former colonies greater freedom than the mainland.

But, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the sackings are evidence of a wider attempt by China's propaganda bureau to "strengthen control over news nationwide."

Media 'crackdown'

The propaganda bureau is run by a central Chinese Communist Party body, and keeps a close eye on the government-run state media.

The sackings follow the sanctioning of a popular radio phone-in programme on the Guangdong People's Broadcasting Station, after it allowed a caller to attack alleged government corruption.

In recent months, some leading propaganda officials have urged a crackdown on "western bourgeois" ideas, and have backed the expulsion of liberal intellectuals from leading state universities.

Some observers believe the moves are part of a wider attempt by the Chinese Government to seal the communist credentials of "third-generation" leader Jiang Zemin ahead of the 80th anniversary of the party next year.

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