Relatives of the victims of the massacre write an open letter. "The June 4 tragedy is history now, but this disaster remains unresolved, and its wounds have yet to heal," it says. On the anniversary, members of the group are routinely subjected to checks, house arrest, forced travel in the company of security forces. The regime fears a group of fragile, “sick and elderly people”. At least 51 of them have died without receiving justice.
Beijing (AsiaNews/RFA) – The Mothers of Tiananmen, the group of relatives of the victims of the massacre carried out by the Chinese army on 4 June 1989, have written a letter to President Xi Jinping describing the mass killing as a "crime against humanity". In it they call on the president to pursue those responsible and to compensate the victims.
On the night of 3 and 4 June 1989, China’s “People’s” Liberation Army put an end to the movement of about a million students and workers who had occupied Tiananmen Square for more than a month to demand more democracy and less corruption in the Chinese Communist Party (CPC).
According to the most reliable estimates, between 200 and 2,000 people were shot down or crushed by tanks; tens of thousands were arrested in the following days and convicted as "counter-revolutionaries" because they were attacking the hegemony of the Party.
The Communist Party has always defended its action to crush of a "counter-revolutionary rebellion". Some of its leaders, like Jiang Zemin, have dared to say that the massacre was a minor evil, necessary to bring China to its current level of economic development.
"In the turbulent summer of 1989 … the authorities sent in more than 100,000 fully armed and battle-ready troops to slaughter unarmed students and civilians in a massacre that was supposed to preserve national stability," says the letter of the Mothers of Tiananmen.
"This was a crime against humanity that seriously damaged our reputation as a nation. [. . .] The June 4 tragedy is history now, but this disaster remains unresolved, and its wounds have yet to heal."
For several decades the Mothers of Tiananmen have called for light to be shed on what happened, to have those responsible prosecuted, and to have those maimed and the families of the dead compensated. So far, they have not had any answer.
"During the past 29 years that this government has been in power, not one person has enquired after us, nor has anyone apologised," the letter says. "It's as if this massacre that shocked the whole world never even happened."
Originally, the group was made up of hundreds of parents and relatives. Now most of them are old. Many of them - at least 51 - have died without receiving justice.
Whenever the Tiananmen anniversary comes up, they come under police surveillance, placed under house arrest or given a "holiday", courtesy of the security forces.
"It seems that this hugely powerful dictatorship of the proletariat is afraid of a vulnerable group of sick and elderly people," the letter does on to say.
In a direct address to Xi Jinping, the letter tells him: "As the leader of a major country, you can't not care about the Tiananmen massacre that happened 29 years ago. Surely you must care about the people who were its victims."