PRC polices borders for Tiananmen books

HONG KONG, Reuters

Beijing has told border officers to prevent Hong Kong travelers from smuggling the Chinese language version of “The Tiananmen Papers” into the mainland, local newspapers said on Saturday.

Anyone trying to enter the mainland with one copy of “June 4: The True Story” as it is called in Chinese would have it confiscated, while anyone with two or more copies could face criminal charges, the I-mail and Sing Tao daily newspapers reported.

The Beijing edict also banned all mainland officers — including those who stay overseas for business or political purposes — from buying, reading or spreading the content of the book, the I-mail said.

The book offers what its editors say are detailed minutes of secret meetings between top Chinese Communist Party officials on the pro democracy protests of 1989 in mainland China.

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of unarmed civilians were killed when top communist Chinese leaders sent in troops and tanks to end weeks of protests on June 4, 1989.

Beijing responded to the publication of “The Tiananmen Papers” by saying the editors had fabricated materials and distorted the facts.

The Chinese language version, about three times as long as the English version as it includes more details, was scheduled to hit stores in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States and other major markets on Sunday.

But advanced sales of the book started in Hong Kong on Thursday where its initial run of 10,000 copies were immediately sold out.

It took only a couple of hours for the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in mainland China to sell 100 copies at a makeshift stall in the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay on Saturday, the I-mail said.

The English language version went on sale in January this year.