For the first time in 27 years, Tiananmen Mothers’ founder Ding Zilin has not written the annual open letter to the authorities on behalf of victims’ families. This year, the letter bears the signature of 131 people who have suffered “all kinds of hardships” for decades, but who now “have nothing left to fear”. Families still want the truth, accountability, and compensation. Signatories appeal to young people to resist brute force, and react in the name of justice.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Overnight on 3-4 June 1989, China’s People’s Liberation Army ended a movement of about half a million students and workers who had occupied Tiananmen Square for a month to demand more democracy and less corruption in the Chinese Communist Party.
According to the best estimates, anywhere between 200 and 2,000 people were gunned down or crushed by army tanks. Tens of thousands were arrested in the following days and convicted as "counter-revolutionaries" because they had threatened the Party’s hegemony.
Right away, the government began a cover-up, banning everything that could remotely be connected with the event. However, a group of families of victims, the "Tiananmen Mothers," has worked for years to keep the memory alive of their loved ones’ sacrifice.
The group has always asked the same things: the truth about the massacre, charges against the perpetrators, and compensation for the victims. It also wants the Party’s verdict against their children overturned. Here is this year’s open letter, signed by 131 living members of the group.
In September last year, a key member of the Tiananmen Mothers group, Mr. Jiang Peikun, passed away. His death was followed by that of Ms. Zhang Shuyun from Shandong. And in April this year, Ms. Han Shuxiang from Dalian died of illness. To date, 41 members from our group of victims’ family members are deceased. Their final regret was not being able to see justice done and wrong redressed!
Twenty-seven years have passed since the June Fourth Massacre of 1989. For us, family members of the victims’ families, it has been 27 years of white terror and suffocation.
For 27 years, the police have been the ones who have dealt with us. For 27 years, they have also been our frequent visitors at home. Each beginning of the year, from the anniversary of the late premier Mr. Zhao Ziyang’s death, to the Two Congresses, Tomb Sweeping Day, anniversary of June Fourth, to major national events and foreign politicians’ visits—we the victims’ families are eavesdropped and surveilled upon by the police; we are followed or even detained, and our computers searched and confiscated. The police use contemptible means such as making up stories, fabricating facts, issuing threats, etc., against us. All these actions undoubtedly desecrate the souls of those who perished in June Fourth, and insult the honors of the living.
What is worse this year, the police have warned us, is that from April 22 to June 4, visits to Teacher Ding Zilin are being restricted. Those who want to visit her must apply for permission and may visit her only after approval by the Beijing Public Security Bureau, and they may not be accompanied by other victims’ family members.
Teacher Ding Zilin lost two family members last year—what a cruel double blow to an 80-year-old woman. She is physically and mentally exhausted and her state is worrisome. The affection and friendships among us, the victims’ families, have been coalesced by the blood of our family members. Our affection is deep and our friendships are sincere, surpassing those among family members. But even this simple and unadorned affection has been deprived by the police in their detestable perversity and unreasonableness.
For 27 years, we, victims’ families, have rationally maintained our three appeals: truth, accountability, and compensation, in an effort to seek a just resolution to the miscarriage of justice of June Fourth. But the government has ignored us, pretending that the June Fourth Massacre that shocked the whole world never happened in China, and refusing to respond to our appeals, while our fellow countrymen gradually lose the memory of the event.
We must inform the world that this is the current reality of the living conditions of the June Fourth victims' families!
As everyone knows, the June Fourth tragedy resulted from the government’s flagrant mobilizing of the field army to kill peacefully protesting students and citizens. This was unprecedented in the history of China. If the government continues to not face the facts in good faith, and not resolve this problem from a legal perspective, then China will have difficulty preventing this type of tragedy from happening again in the future! Evidence proves that after the suppression of June Fourth the whole country was plagued with corruption from top to bottom, resulting in the current challenges in fighting corruption.
A government that unscrupulously slaughters its own fellow citizens, a government that does not know how to cherish its own fellow citizens, and a government that forgets, conceals, and covers up the truth of historical suffering has no future—it is a government that is continuing to commit crimes!
People need to live with dignity and die with dignity. As the families of victims, more than one-third of our individual lives have been lived under the shadow of our loved ones who were shot dead. But we live with strength and optimism—because we hold the firm belief that we need to struggle, work hard, and persevere. In the 27 years of suffering all kinds of hardships, abuse by the authorities, and intimidation, we have nothing left to fear. We are convinced that the June Fourth tragedy will inevitably reach a fair and just resolution—because the truth is on our side, and we have the vigorous support of the just and kind-hearted people of the whole world. We use our immense maternal love to declare publicly to future generations: do not succumb to brute force, confront all evil forces with courage, and justice will prevail! The June Fourth massacre will forever be etched into the history of the world—no amount of power can rub this out!