søndag 12. mai 2024

In Retrospect: Yellowbird, the secret operation that helped Chinese dissidents escape Tiananmen

Operation Yellowbird was a British Hong Kong-based operation to help the Chinese dissidents who participated in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 to escape arrest by the Chinese government by facilitating their departure overseas via Hong Kong. Western intelligence agencies such as Britain's Secret Intelligence Service and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were involved in the operation. Other contributors included politicians, celebrities, business people and triad members from Hong Kong—forming the "unlikely" alliance which sustained the operation for most of its duration.

The operation began in late June 1989, following the issuing of an order by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on 13 June 1989 to apprehend the leaders of the Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation who were on the run. The operation continued until 1997. Yellowbird successfully helped more than 400 dissidents, who were smuggled through Hong Kong, and then onwards to Western countries.