With a few subtle, anonymous gestures in a capital swarming with armed police and camera-carrying security officers, Chinese remembered Tuesday the army killings of pro-democracy protesters two years ago.
No disturbances were reported, and official scrutiny was most evident around Beijing's university district and central Tiananmen Square, which student-led protesters had occupied for several weeks before the 1989 crackdown.A few dozen white paper flowers were scattered on a sidewalk and quickly snatched up by passers-by. White is the color of mourning.
Empty beer bottles were smashed at university dormitories in another unmistakable gesture. The word for little bottle, "xiao ping," sounds like the name of senior leader Deng Xiaoping, who is believed to have ordered the army to open fire on demonstrators in Beijing streets on June 4, 1989.
The demonstrators - sometimes massing in crowds of about 1 million - had flowed in and out of Tiananmen Square, demanding a more accountable government, a free press and an end to corruption. They constructed a tall statue dubbed the "Goddess of Democracy" in the square.
The statue was felled in the army attack, which killed hundreds of unarmed civilians.