BEIJING - Hundreds of students at Beijing University staged a bold anti-government protest late last night, the anniversary of last year's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.
Shortly after midnight this morning, the crowd of students marched through the campus shouting anti-government slogans despite the pleas of a Communist Party official to return to their dormitories, witnesses said.
About 200 of the students then gathered to listen to speeches calling for democratic reforms and better treatment of intellectuals.
Paramilitary police sealed entry into the suburban-campus district shortly after the demonstrations began.
The protest came exactly one year after army troops shot their way into central Beijing to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in crowds that sought to block their path.
Last night's demonstration began about 10:30 p.m., when students in an undergraduate dormitory began setting off firecrackers and throwing beer bottles out of windows.
Breaking bottles in public is a brazen act of political protest in China, because the Chinese word for ``small bottle'' - ``xiaoping'' - sounds the same as the given name of senior leader Deng Xiaoping.
During last year's demonstrations, protesters sometimes broke bottles to show their dissatisfaction with Deng.
The bottle-throwing then was taken up by many people in the
graduate-student dormitories near the edge of campus. Some students also began singing the ``Internationale.''
This socialist anthem, learned by all Chinese as schoolchildren, calls on slaves to rise up against their oppressors. Students last year, without changing any words, turned it against their rulers as an anthem of the protest movement.
Around midnight, Lin Yanzhi, head of the university's Communist Party organization, was booed by students when he urged them to return to their rooms.
Hundreds of students then marched around campus, shouting slogans against the government, including calls for Premier Li Peng to step down. Li and Deng are the two leaders most widely blamed for ordering army troops to shoot their way into Beijing last year.
About 200 students then gathered in an area where anti-government posters were put up during last year's demonstrations, and where political rallies were sometimes held.
Thousands rally worldwide
More than 100,000 people in Hong Kong and thousands more in cities around the world held demonstrations to remember the hundreds who fell one year ago when Chinese troops crushed the pro-democracy movement.
``We won't forget June 4'' and ``We are not scared,'' read banners carried by demonstrators in Hong Kong who marched several miles yesterday from a downtown park to the local headquarters of China's Xinhua News Agency, the Communist government's de facto embassy. Hong Kong reverts to Chinese rule in 1997.
Rallies also were staged in cities across the United States and in Britain, Czechoslovakia, Canada, France, Taiwan and Japan.