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14th anniversary: An open letter to the new Chinese leadership

June 4, 2003

May 29, 2003

Mr. Hu Jinta, President

Mr. Wen Jiabao, State Council Premier

Mr. Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress,

Mr. Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,

Your Excellencies:

This year marks the 14th anniversary of the tragedy of June Fourth. As people injured in the massacre and family members of those who died, in the name of June Fourth Victims Dialogue Group for all these years we have been asking for a direct and sincere dialogue with your predecessors. We have hoping for a kind and sincere response on this matter, yet so far we have not received any reply at all. We are very sad and greatly disappointed.

We are now in the first year of government by new leaders. We hope a good new start can be made. We strongly believe that, one day, wrongs done in this historical episode can be rectified and reviewed with justice. Any attempt to play down the incident or delay a solution of the problem will not work, nor will it heal the profound wounds of our people, of our country. We therefore urge the new leaders of the government, of the country, in view of the current situation, to think over and examine this seriously, and then to take the wise and bold step of initiating a review of the June Fourth events.

Over the last 14 years, we said again and again that the movement that took place in Tiananmen Square and in Beijing was a movement in favor of democracy and opposing corruption that involved peaceful demonstrations by students and city residents. It was certainly not a “riot” as the government has claimed. Yet, the government deployed tens of thousands of armed troops to suppress those unarmed demonstrators and civilians. Evidently, using such bloody and brutal means while claiming to “ensure the stability of the state and the smooth progress of reform” will never been seen as a fair price to be paid for progress and modernization. On the contrary, it can only be considered an inhumane and brutal act.

We think it is time for the new leaders to go beyond this obstacle and take steps to close the case of the June Fourth incident. We, being the victims and families of victims, know very well that there has been too much blood shed and hate as our people have experienced many disasters, hence, every opportunity to bring the cycle of such tragic history to an end should be grasped wholeheartedly. We would be delighted if the new leaders make use of the opportunity of handling the disaster caused by the deadly disease SARS to do good to the country, awakening people’s consciences and developing social morality and justice, in order to turn a people filled with hate, distrust and ignorance of human values into a people with more rational and humane hearts. Taking such action would be the only effective way of preventing such a disaster from ever happening again. The most important and immediate step to take in this effort is to review the June Fourth incident and provide reasonable and just solutions to it.

Therefore, in the name of June Fourth Victims Dialogue Group, we urge you to establish a dialogue between the government and ourselves, to discuss the following demands:

1. An investigatory committee consisting of recognized and respected representatives from all sectors of society should be set up to investigate the June Fourth incident independently and justly. The findings and results of the investigation should be made public. The names and numbers of the dead, the injured and the disappeared should be revealed.

2. The government agencies concerned should give an account of the dead, injured and the disappeared to the victims or their families. If the disappeared are dead, their remains should be returned to their families. If the remains have been destroyed, their families should be given a proper account of what happened and why.

3. The National People’s Congress should enact legislation to provide redress for the victims and their families, including awarding them appropriate compensation.

4. In accordance with the law, the procuratorate concerned should initiate an investigation into the June Fourth incident so that the perpetrators of the crimes committed may be held legally accountable.

As the 14th anniversary of the June Fourth incident approaches, we look forward to a sincere response from you. We will be glad to engage in substantive and serious discussions with the government on the above demands and we hope that you will make arrangements for this dialogue at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely yours,

June Fourth Victims Dialogue Group members:

Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling, Zhou Shuzhuang, Li Xuewen, Xu Jue, You Weijie, Du Dongyu, Zhao Tingjie, Guo Liying , Yin Min, Zhang Yanqiu, Huang Jinping, Kuang Diqing, Yang Dayong, Zhang Shushen, Feng Youxiang, Wu Dingfu, Sun Chengkang, Fang Zheng, Qi Zhiyong

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