Tuesday (June 4) marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown when pro-democracy protesters in Beijing were brutally dealt with by the Chinese military.
Rights groups and witnesses say the number of those killed in the violence could run into the thousands. Chinese authorities have never released a full death toll and have banned any public commemoration.
To remember those who lost their lives, an international rights group set up a mock tank in central Paris with a woman in white standing in front of it, an image reminiscent of "Tank Man," the demonstrator who stood in front of a line of tanks driving through Tiananmen.
Philippe Le Corre was a French radio reporter on the square in June 1989 and is now a senior fellow for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the US.
"It's very much Communist party policy to try to erase these events from people's memories," Le Corre said in an interview on Euronews Now.
"The way China has been run, these days it's difficult to discuss things that are very controversial, and Tiananmen as well as the date of June 4th, these terms have been banned from the Chinese Internet."
In a statement released on Tuesday, the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini said it was important to acknowledge the events of 1989. She said she expected due process for those detained then and called for the immediate release of human rights defenders and lawyers connected with Tiananmen.
"The European Union continues to mourn the victims and offers its condolences to their families," a European Commission spokeswoman said.