Video: Tiananmen Square, 20 years later

updated 6/3/2009 3:58:19 PM ET 2009-06-03T19:58:19

The second most-wanted student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests says he has been denied entry to the southern Chinese territory of Macau, a day before the 20th anniversary of China's crackdown.

Wu'er Kaixi told The Associated Press by phone that he traveled to Macau from Taipei to turn himself in to authorities, but immigration officials asked him to take a return flight, which he refused. He said the officials didn't immediately remove him by force.

"I'm just waiting. I'm guessing they're waiting for instructions from their superiors," Wu'er said.

"If they disagree with my behavior, they can arrest me. I can accept that," he said. "But I won't let them deport me."

Macau government information officer Elena Au said she didn't have immediate information on Wu'er's case.

Wu'er said in a statement that he wants to turn himself in to the Chinese government so he can see his parents — who haven't been allowed to visit him in Taiwan — and believes he did nothing wrong.

"My turning myself in should not be interpreted as my admission that my behavior 20 years ago in illegal and wrong. I want to reassert here the Chinese government bears complete and undeniable moral, political and legal responsibility for the tragedy that happened in China in 1989," Wu'er wrote.

Crackdown still taboo in China
Beijing likely wants to keep Wu'er away to avoid a public spectacle on the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, which remains a taboo topic on the mainland.

The Chinese government still considers the student protests a "counterrevolutionary" riot. Chinese officials have also rounded up dissidents and stepped up security at Tiananmen Square ahead of the anniversary Thursday.

Video: Hong Kong marks Tiananmen anniversary Wu'er said separately in a statement issued through a friend that if he was allowed in, he planned to turn himself in at the Chinese government's liaison office in Macau on Thursday, which would draw intense media coverage.

One of the best known leaders from the Tiananmen student movement, Wu'er rose to fame as a pajama-clad hunger striker haranguing then-Chinese premier Li Peng at a televised meeting during the protests in Beijing.

Named No. 2 on the Chinese government's list of 21 wanted student leaders after the military crushed the protests, killing at least hundreds, he escaped and has lived in exile in the self-ruled island of Taiwan, where he has worked as a businessman and political commentator.

"I hope, 20 years later, the Chinese government can set a new position on the historical problem of the 'June 4 massacre,' admit its guilt and apologize to the Chinese people," Wu'er said.

More on Tiananmen Square   |  China

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