Protest at Tiananmen

Recalled 16 Years On

HONG KONG -- Thousands of protesters in Hong Kong raised candles in the air and sang solemn songs Saturday to mark the 16th anniversary of China's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, while security was tightened in Beijing to block any memorials there.

China's Communist Party has eased many of the social controls that spurred the 1989 student-led protests, which ended when soldiers and tanks attacked, killing hundreds of people. But Chinese leaders still crush any activity that they fear might challenge the party's monopoly on power.

In Beijing, Tiananmen Square was open to the public, but extra carloads of police watched tourists on the vast plaza. There was no public mention of the anniversary or any sign of attempts to hold commemorations.

THE AMERICAS

* MEXICO CITY -- A former Mexico City mayor and national tourism secretary was sentenced to 71/2 years in prison for embezzling government funds and was ordered to pay more than $26 million in reparations.

Oscar Espinosa Villarreal became one of the highest-ranking officials in Mexican history to be convicted of criminal wrongdoing. His lawyers said they would appeal.

EUROPE

* MODANE, France -- One truck loaded with tires and another carrying glue caught fire along with four other vehicles inside an Alpine tunnel between France and Italy, killing at least two people, officials said.

* BELFAST -- A reputed Irish Republican Army veteran was arraigned on a murder charge in the knifing of a Catholic man outside a pub, a case that has overshadowed Northern Ireland's peace process.

Terence "Jock" Davison, 49, entered no plea as prosecutors accused him of killing Robert McCartney, who was also clubbed with iron bars in the Jan. 30 attack in Belfast.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

* SINGAPORE -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said China is not a threat to the United States but is building up its military without being threatened by any other country.

He also said at a regional security conference here that the al-Jazeera television network promoted terrorism by airing beheadings and other attacks.

"If anyone here lived in the Middle East and watched a network like al-Jazeera day after day after day, even if you were an American, you would begin to believe that America was bad," Rumsfeld said.

"Quite honestly, I do not get up in the morning and think that America is what's wrong with the world. The people that are going on television chopping off people's heads is what's wrong with the world."

* SYDNEY -- A senior Chinese diplomat in Sydney who abandoned his post and is seeking political asylum in Australia came out of hiding to address a pro-democracy rally. Chen Yonglin, 37, walked out of the mission a week ago. Shadowed by a security guard, he appeared at a rally to commemorate the crackdown at Tiananmen Square in China.

Chen outlined examples of what he said were kidnappings, life imprisonments and executions of dissidents by the Chinese government.

-- From News Services