Rights Group: Soldier who Spoke out on Tiananmen Held བོད་སྐད།

A human rights group says authorities have detained a former Chinese soldier who published a letter on the Internet calling for a reassessment of China's Tiananmen crackdown on June 4, 1989.

The Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch says Zhang Shijun was taken from his home in the northern city of Tengzhou (in Shandong province) early Friday morning.

Zhang recently published an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao in which he called on the party and the government to reconsider its condemnation of the student-led civil rights protests.

Zhang says he was part of a unit that moved into Beijing on April 20,1989, as student protesters occupied Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing.

He says that what he saw the night of June 3-4 troubled him so much that he requested an early discharge from the army. He was later sentenced in the early 1990s for alleged political crimes.

This June 4 will mark 20 years since the military crushed student-led pro-democracy protests around Tiananmen Square killing hundreds.

The Chinese government has never published a full accounting of the Tiananmen Square events, or any official death toll.

The Communist Party called the student protests a counter-revolutionary incident and have yet to change that verdict.