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Documentary, Interviews, Interaction Mark VOA Coverage of Tiananmen Square 20th Anniversary

Website features programs, profiles, and testimonials

Washington, D.C., June 3, 2009 – Interviews with anti-government activists, a 30-minute documentary and a comment forum on the Voice of America's (VOA) Chinese website are part of Thursday's coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

VOA interviewed Bao Tong, a former senior Chinese official who was jailed for opposing the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown; Wang Dan, the movement's leader; Ding Zilin, founder of Tiananmen Mothers, representing those who lost loved ones; and Chen Dazheng, mastermind of the rescue action that saved many Tiananmen students.

Besides a documentary, VOA's Mandarin Service ( has created TV profiles of Tiananmen survivors.

Its website has received more than a thousand e-mails, including one from a Mr. Li in Hubei who wrote that "everyone was listening to VOA and it was even being broadcast on the street" during the government's violent crackdown on students in Beijing.

Veteran VOA correspondent Al Pessin, who was in Beijing at the time of Tiananmen, said it was a big surprise to foreign correspondents "that people from other walks of life joined" the students in the protests. He said Tiananmen reversed the idea that he and his colleagues had that the Chinese people were apathetic.

There are disagreements as to how many people were killed at Tiananmen, with estimates ranging from hundreds to thousands.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail