HK reporter briefly detained for asking President Hu about Tiananmen

Hu Jintao waves while on a visit to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong journalist was briefly detained Saturday after he asked Chinese President Hu Jintao a question about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, sparking criticism from a media group.

The reporter for the Apple Daily, known for its anti-Beijing stance, asked the question as Hu was touring the site of a future cruise ship terminal on the second day of his visit to the southern Chinese territory.

"President Hu, Hong Kong people want to see justice for June 4. Did you hear that?" journalist Rex Hon shouted repeatedly at Hu from behind the security cordon, referring to the 1989 crackdown, before he was briefly detained by security personnel.

Hu, who is in Hong Kong to mark the 15th anniversary of the former British colony's handover to China, did not answer the question as he waved at reporters.

A minor scuffle later broke out when fellow journalists surrounded a policeman and demanded an explanation about Hon's detention.

The incident prompted criticism from the Hong Kong Journalists Association, which vowed to lodge an official complaint over the incident.

"We protest the police action. The journalist was just doing his job. Asking a question does not pose any security threats," the association's chairwoman Mak Yin-ting told AFP.

"We ask the local police to stop this kind of... mainland policing in Hong Kong," she said.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are believed to have died when the government sent in tanks and soldiers to clear Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3-4, 1989, bringing a violent end to six weeks of pro-democracy protests.

Over two decades later, Beijing still considers the incident a "counter revolutionary rebellion" and has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or consider compensation for those killed.

Hu's three-day schedule in Hong Kong has been kept under wraps, apparently due to security concerns, apart from his attendance at a Saturday's concert and Sunday's inauguration for the city's new leader.

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