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Hong Kong Marks Tiananmen Anniversary - 2004-05-30

Thousands of people in Hong Kong have taken to the streets to commemorate the 15th anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square massacre, and to protest Beijing's recent moves to limit their autonomy.

Organizers Sunday said 5,600 people turned out for the annual march through downtown Hong Kong to the main government offices in the city center. Some carried a black coffin as they marched to protest the killings of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of demonstrators by Chinese forces at a democracy rally in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

China has never accounted for the deaths of the demonstrators, many of whom were university students.

Hong Kong, which enjoys more autonomy than mainland China, is one of few places allowed to mark the anniversary. This year held special significance for Hong Kong residents because Beijing recently ruled that they may not hold independent elections for their next leader in 2007.

Also Sunday, China released dissident Li Hai, after he completed a nine-year prison term for gathering information about people jailed after the Tiananmen Square massacre. The activist group Human Rights in China says Mr. Li's family has been warned by police not to allow any so-called "unanticipated events" to occur.

Meanwhile, news reports say other dissidents on the mainland are under house arrest by Chinese authorities in preparation for Friday's anniversary.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.