Peking's ABC of suppression

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PEKING (Reuter) - China's army, which killed hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in 1989, has issued standing orders to deal with any new outbreak of civil unrest that take soldiers step-by-step from issuing warnings to opening fire.

The orders appear to sum up three key lessons the army learnt when it crushed the demonstrations in and around Tiananmen Square: unrest must be stopped at its earliest stage; it should be stopped with the minimum use of force; and the action must take place out of sight of the foreign press. But they do not rule out use of live ammunition. While Tiananmen was a blow to the prestige and morale of the People's Liberation Army, the new orders, obtained from Chinese sources, show that the military will again be the Communist Party's main weapon against any unrest.