Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 13:59 UK

Flowers laid for Tiananmen Square

Woman laying flowers at Chinese Embassy in London
There are reports of continued suppression of dissenters

Survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre have laid flowers outside the Chinese Embassy in London to mark the 20th anniversary of the bloodshed.

The demonstration was to remember those killed when Chinese troops crushed a pro-democracy protest on 4 June 1989.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International called on the Chinese to hold an inquiry into what happened.

But there are reports of a new crackdown in China to silence dissent and stop any commemorations there.

The exact number of deaths from the massacre is disputed, but hundreds and possibly thousands of people were killed as the tanks of the People's Liberation Army spent two days dispersing unarmed demonstrators.

'Brutal violence'

One of the survivors laying flowers was Shao Jiang, 42. He was jailed for 18 months for his involvement in the protest, then re-arrested and placed under house arrest before escaping China in 1997.

"Twenty years ago was a terrible day. The soldiers were shooting people on the street and on the pavement, the gunmen used brutal violence," he said.

"I managed to get away from the square and got back to my university, where everybody wanted to know who had died and what had happened to their classmates.

"Four of my classmates were killed, people I was close to."

They aimed at him and shot him, a bullet went through his head
Ze Xia

Ze Xia, 53, of Cricklewood, north west London, was at the Chinese Embassy to commemorate her cousin Nan Wang, 19, who was shot dead by the troops.

"He was in the street holding a camera," she said.

"However, on that day, there was an order from the very top that there should be no filming or pictures allowed.

"They aimed at him and shot him, a bullet went through his head."

She said her cousin's family in China still faced persecution.

"His mother and father planned yesterday to go to the site where my cousin was shot, but they were not allowed to go out.

"People kept coming to their house to stop them leaving. Last night they had 10 policemen outside their house stopping them going out."

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "Hundreds of people were slaughtered, there are still people in prison 20 years later for peacefully demonstrating for their rights.

"We call on the Chinese Government to have an inquiry into what happened, to tell the world what happened, how many people were slaughtered, and to release those people still held."

A massive police presence has ringed Tiananmen Square on the day of the anniversary as the government continued an overwhelming drive to prevent dissent and block commemorations.

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