BEIJING — China's police put a net out for 21 pro-democracy student leaders Tuesday while the hard-line winners in the recent government power struggle promised further blows against their opponents.
Early today, state-run television announced the arrest of two of the 21 "counterrevolutionaries." The others are believed to be still in hiding.
The student leaders are accused of "inciting and organizing counterrevolutionary rebellion," television reports said. Photographs and brief descriptions of each student were broadcast in the manner of a most-wanted list.
"Wang Dan. Male. 24 years old. Beijing University history department student. Height: about 173 centimeters. Pointed chin. Thin hair. Cavity in a front tooth. Thin. Wears glasses for nearsightedness. Speaks with a local Beijing accent," ran the first description on the list.
"Wuer Kaixi. Male. Born Feb. 17, 1968. Uighur minority from Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Beijing Teachers University education department student. Height: 174 centimeters. Big eyes. Thick lips. Fair skin. Often wears green military pants," said the next.
2 Most Prominent Leaders
Wang and Wuer were the two most prominent leaders of the pro-democracy protests.
One arrested student, according to the television report, was Zhou Fengsuo, a 22-year-old physics major at Qinghua University. He was detained in the central city of Xian, the report said, and had been turned in by his sister and her husband, who works at an air force academy.
The other person arrested, according to the report, was Xiong Yan, 25, a student in the Beijing University law department. No further details were available.
Premier Li Peng, who issued the order for martial law that culminated with the June 4 massacre of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of citizens as the army shot its way into Beijing, delivered a hard-line speech Tuesday in which he praised the soldiers and said that further steps will be taken "to restore order and strike relentless blows at the counterrevolutionary rebels."
Li also warned foreign countries against criticizing China. His remarks were directed in part at the United States, which has provided refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to China's most prominent pro-democracy activist, astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, and his wife, Li Shuxian. Chinese authorities issued warrants last weekend for their arrest.
"While we are putting down the counterrevolutionary rebellion, a small number of nations . . . have taken the opportunity to spread all kinds of rumors, stir up anti-China sentiments, and put pressure on us," Li declared in his speech, parts of which were broadcast on the evening television news. "We must warn them sternly: The Chinese people . . . will not yield to this kind of pressure."
Politburo Standing Committee member Qiao Shi, who appears to have emerged as acting head of the Communist Party in place of the reformist General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, also appeared on television Tuesday with a warm endorsement of the army's actions.
In a statement implying that further actions against dissent are still to come, Qiao told martial-law troops that "we hope the counterrevolutionary rebellion can be put down quickly and thoroughly in the capital, and that good social order can soon be restored."
Qiao's comments appeared to indicate plans for additional arrests and a further heightening of political controls.
The mood on the streets of Beijing is sullen, with armed troops posted at major intersections. Some people have not yet returned to work following a week of street violence during which martial-law troops sometimes fired at pedestrians virtually at random. But there are no more demonstrations to be suppressed.
The government contends that only about 300 people, most of them soldiers, died during the June 3-4 army move into downtown Beijing. An estimate of 3,000 deaths has circulated widely in diplomatic circles, based partly on a Chinese Red Cross report, later repudiated, that 2,600 had died. Confirmed deaths based on hospital body counts and reports by Western witnesses have been placed at 400 to 700 by various news organizations. The true death toll may never be proven.
The student protesters, who staged pro-democracy demonstrations in central Beijing's Tian An Men Square for seven weeks before the bloody crackdown, had originally been described by the government as misguided but "patriotic." Before the army assault and General Secretary Zhao's fall from power, the government had promised that there would be no retaliation against them.
But Tuesday evening, national television repeatedly broadcast the stark descriptions of student leaders, together with photographs.
"After receiving this arrest warrant, police in every province and region on railways, airlines, highways and border posts must immediately deploy units to arrest them and stop them from escaping the country," the Ministry of Public Security announcement said.