Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received an open statement from the Tiananmen Mothers on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the official crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989, setting forth their current position as a rights defenders group, and renewing calls for appropriate compensation and assistance for the victims and their families, a full investigation, and official accountability.
The first portion of the open statement provides a historical review of the crackdown and verification of the numbers of those killed or injured, as compiled by the Tiananmen Mothers, a rights defenders group that has been active for the past 17 years. The Tiananmen Mothers is comprised of those wounded during the crackdown and the families of those who were killed or disappeared. The group has confirmed 186 dead and more than 70 injured in the crackdown, and asserts that this number constitutes a “small percentage” of the actual number of casualties.
The second portion of the open statement asserts the group’s basic tenets of peaceful protest and demands, including an official reassessment of the incident, a process of truth and reconciliation, and lawful compensation to the victims. The group also states its guiding slogans introduced two years ago—“Speak the truth; Never forget; Seek justice; and Call on conscience.”
The third section describes the group’s basic principles and clarifies its current position. In achieving resolution to general political and legal issues, the group proposes resolving six specific issues relating to the basic rights and interests of the victims. In addition to stating its position as a rights defenders group, the Tiananmen Mothers also expressed support for the efforts of individual victims, and set forth two bottom-line principles for the government: “preserving the dignity of the victims” and “refusing to circumvent legal principle through administrative resolution of private deals.”
The six specific issues include: Desisting in all monitoring and restrictions on the freedom of the surviving victims and their families; Allowing families to observe commemoration of their loved ones without impediment; Desisting in interference with humanitarian aid from inside and outside of China to the victims and their families; The provision of humanitarian and employment assistance without any political conditions to persons who continue to suffer psychologically or financially from the crackdown; Removing the political and social stigma against victims; and Restoring the rights and physical welfare of those detained, imprisoned, made jobless or otherwise victimized for their participation in the 1989 Democracy Movement.
HRIC urges the international and Chinese community to support the reasonable and legitimate demands for peaceful and lawful resolution set forth by the Tiananmen Mothers. HRIC calls upon the Chinese government to address the ongoing violation of the rights of the victims and their families and to make public the list of June 4th victims, the numbers and situations of those still in prison, offer compensation and assistance to the families and victims, and conduct a full, fair investigation as called for by the Tiananmen Mothers.
The full text of the open statement is appended to the Chinese version of this press release.