Two Chinese activists who in 2016 sold liquor commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown have been given suspended jail sentences.

Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court found Fu Hailu (符海陆) and Zhang Juanyong (张隽勇) guilty of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” (寻衅滋事), a catch-all phrase used by the Chinese Communist regime to crack down on activists and dissidents.

(Image by 张瑜 via Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday (April 1) Fu was sentenced to a three-year jail term suspended for five years, while on Tuesday Zhang was handed a three-year jail term suspended for four years.

Fu Hailu and Zhang Juanyong were arrested in 2016 alongside Luo Fuyu (罗富誉) and Chen Bing (陈兵) and charged with “crimes of incitement to overthrow state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪).

Their arrest came after they sold online bottles of baijiu, a popular Chinese liquor, to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The actvists gave their liquor the name Ba Jiu Liu Si, which literally means eight nine six four, a reference to June 4th 1989, the date of the crackdown.

The bottles had labels featuring the image of a man in front of a tank, reminiscent of the famous “tank man”, and the sentence: “China, Beijing, Never Forget, Never Give up” (中国 – 北京 – 永不忘记, 永不放弃).

To this day the Chinese Communist regime regards the Tiananmen Square massacre as a taboo topic that cannot be publicly discussed.

The trials of the two other defendants are scheduled for later this week.

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