06/01/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing offering money to victims’ family to “forget” Tiananmen

The ‘Mothers of Tiananmen’ refuse the offer, demanding instead the “whole truth” about the massacre, “not money”. Next Saturday is the 22nd anniversary of the carnage.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government could compensate the families of the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. In an open letter discussing the issue, the ‘Mothers of Tiananmen’, an organisation that brings together relatives of the victims of the 4 June 1989 massacre ordered by then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. The leader of the group, Ding Zilin, rejected the offer, saying, “We want the truth, not money.”

The letter, which was signed by 127 people, noted that the relatives of one of the victims were approached twice in February by government officials in order to discuss compensation. During the meeting, the officials refused to discuss anything but compensation.

A “member of the Beijing Public Security Bureau approached the family of one of the victims to express his ‘concern’, stating that he was there as an individual and not as an official representative of any government office,” one of the Mothers  said. “He did not want to talk about truth or accountability [for the massacre]—only how much money would be needed to ‘resolve’ the June 4 issue,” she said.

Chinese authorities have neither denied nor confirmed the allegation. The open letter, which the group releases every year, is designed to get the authorities to tell the truth about their crackdown. It was posted on the group’s own website an on that of some NGOs.

“If the authorities merely want to settle June 4 matter with money, and to do it under the table, what kind of results will this produce?”

“The murder of our family members was an act by the government, and any proposal to address this tragedy with money is an insult to our loved ones and an offense to our group,” Ding Zilin said.

The letter also mentioned the pro-democracy movement that began in North Africa and reached China in February, where it was met with government repression and the imprisonment of dissidents and demonstrators.

In Hong Kong, more than a thousand people took to the streets last Sunday to remember the victims of Tiananmen.

Between April and June 1989, a million young people, workers and farmers took over Tiananmen Square, calling for democracy and an end to corruption.

On the night of 3 and 4 June, Chinese military moved in with tanks, firing at protesters in order to free the square that had been occupied for months.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of young people were killed, some crushed by the tanks, in the streets near the square.

For the Communist party, the movement was a counterrevolutionary uprising even though it was non-violent.

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