Skip to content Skip to navigation

Li Peng should address June 4 Massacre; Tiananmen mothers' petition endorsed by 20,000 worldwide

August 30, 2000

Upon Li Peng's visit to New York, Human Rights in China (HRIC) amplifies the basic demands of the Tiananmen Mothers, urging accountability for the June 4, 1989 massacre.

The Tiananmen Mothers, a network of courageous family members who lost loved ones in the 1989 tragedy, have made repeated requests for dialogue with the Chinese government and for a proper investigation of the Beijing bloodshed. But their appeals have been met with silence and constant, escalated persecution from Chinese authorities.

Li Peng is in New York to attend the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, a meeting organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in cooperation with the United Nations.

"According to the IPU, the express purpose of the conference is to reaffirm adherence to the UN Charter and to make the voice of the peoples heard," said Xiao Qiang, HRIC's executive director. "The Tiananmen Mothers have spoken. It's time that their demands are heard. It's time that Li Peng is held accountable for his role in the June 4 massacre."

Li Peng, the current chairman of China's National People's Congress, declared martial law in Beijing on May 20, 1989, which precipitated the June 4 massacre. At the time, Li Peng was China's Premier and a member of the Politburo. Li Peng should have sought to halt the egregious abuses of human rights that occurred when the troops began their assault on Beijing on June 3 with tanks and machine guns. But he failed to do so. Troops continued firing on unarmed civilians for several days. Some days after the massacre, Li Peng also congratulated the troops for their actions in imposing martial law. Thus Li Peng is responsible for what happened, having both ordered and endorsed it.

Citing the IPU's stated goals of fostering international cooperation and peace and contributing to the defense and promotion of human rights - an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development, HRIC calls on delegates to the conference to utilize this opportunity for open dialogue. In a letter sent last week to parliamentarians from around the world attending the meeting, HRIC asked delegates to raise the concerns of the Tiananmen Mothers with the Chinese delegation led by Li Peng, and to pass on to them the Tiananmen Mothers'Petition and its supporting signatures. (See attached.)

A rallying call to Demand Accountability and Support the Tiananmen Mothers, the petition delineates the Mothers'demands for: the right to mourn peacefully in public; the right to accept humanitarian aid; an end to the persecution of June Fourth victims; the release of all people still suffering in prison for their role in the 1989 protests; and a full, public accounting for the June Fourth Massacre.

Launched on June 4, 2000, the 11th anniversary of the massacre, the petition was circulated internationally to individuals and groups, across the grass-roots and up to policy-making levels. The petition is also available on-line at, a new Web site initiated by Human Rights in China to enlist virtual volunteers to promote the Tiananmen Mothers'cause and to empower netizens to take immediate action for human rights, breaking through boundaries inside and outside China.

The petition has garnered the support of 20,000 world citizens from over 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia, spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and Africa.

Noted signatories comprised of parliamentarians from the EU, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the US; Nobel laureates including H H the Dalai Lama, Jose Ramos-Horta and Adolfo Perez Esquivel; writers including Arthur Miller, Michael Ondaatje, Susan Sontag and Lois Wheeler Snow; actors and musicians including Vanessa Redgrave, Sigourney Weaver and Sting; activists like Kerry Kennedy-Cuomo, Gloria Steinam and Wang Dan; and top sinologists.

64 nongovernmental organizations endorsed the petition to show solidarity with the Tiananmen Mothers including Human Rights in China, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the PEN American Center, the RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, the Tibetan Women's Association, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the Mothers and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.

"The overwhelming support shown for the Tiananmen Mothers'Petition is testimony to the strength of the global trend to end impunity. The people of the world have granted resounding affirmation of the Tiananmen Mothers' pleas: The Chinese government must acknowledge that the 1989 massacre was a crime against the Chinese people as a first step towards justice, national reconciliation, and true stability," said Xiao Qiang. "This is the only starting point for a long-overdue political reform that is an absolute necessity if China is to begin the 21st century as a truly great nation and a responsible member of the international community. Tiananmen and its spirit belong to the world. Addressing the demands of the Tiananmen Mothers will not only be a milestone towards establishing democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in China, it will be a global victory for human peace and justice."



Signatures to the Tiananmen Mothers' Petition (as of August 30th)

I support the Tiananmen Mothers' demands for:

  • The right to mourn peacefully in public;
  • The right to accept humanitarian aid from organizations and individuals inside and outside China;
  • No more persecution of June Fourth victims, including those injured in the massacre and the families of the dead;
  • The release of all people still suffering in prison for their role in the 1989 protests; and
  • A full, public accounting for the June Fourth Massacre, ending impunity for the perpetrators of this crime.


20,000 citizens of the world


Amnesty International, Asia-Pacific Regional Office
Amnesty International, France
Amnesty International, International Secretariat
Amnesty International, Norway
Amnesty International, USA
Asia Monitor Resource Center, Hong Kong
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Association for the Advancement of Feminism
Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, India
China Hong Kong Association for the Promotion of Democracy
China Labour Bulletin, Hong Kong
China Lamplight Action, Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union
Church Workers Association, Hong Kong
Coalition for International Justice
Commission for Involuntary Disappearances and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Indonesia
Center for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Children's Defense Fund
Democratic Forum, Hong Kong
Democratic Party, Hong Kong
Democratic Party Women's Affairs Committee, Hong Kong
Digital Freedom Network (DFN)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND), Philippines
Forefront, USA
The Frontier, Hong Kong
Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Argentina
Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China
Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People?s Livelihood
Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students
Hong Kong Federation of Students
Hong Kong Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union
Hong Kong Women's Christian Council
Hong Kong Women Workers' Association
Human Rights in China
Human Rights Watch
Humanist Committee on Human Rights, the Netherlands
International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), France
J.K. Human Rights Movement, Pakistan
Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese
Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees (FEDEFAM)
Lau Shan-ching Community Service Centre, Hong Kong
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, Argentina
National Committee of Women for a Democratic Iran
National Organization for Women, USA
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, France
PEN American Center
RAWA, Afghanistan
The Relatives Committee of May 1992 Heroes, Thailand
RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, USA
Society for Community Organization, Hong Kong
St. Bonaventure Church Social Concern Group, Hong Kong
St. Mary's Parish Social Concern Group, Hong Kong Tibetan Women's Association
University of Hong Kong Student Union
Union for Democratic Development
Macau Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organizations in Support of the Patriotic & Democratic Movement in China
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, France
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), France
Organization of the Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared, Sri Lanka


Michel Rocard, former Premier


Members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council that completed its session in June 2000 (14 total)

(a new LegCo will be returned by elections on September 10)

Cheung Man-kwong
Ho Chun-yan
Cyd Ho Sau-lan
Lau Chin-shek
Emily Lau Wai-hing
Lee Cheuk-yan
Martin Lee Chu-ming
Lee Wing-tat
Leung Yiu-chung
Christine Loh Kung-wai
Sin Chung-kai
Szeto Wah
James To Kun-sun
Yeung Sum


Macau Legislative Council Member
Ng Kwok-cheung


Taiwan Legislative Yuan Members:
Chian Hsi-k?ai
Chu Hui-liang
Huang Chao-shun
Hsu T?ian-tsai
Lai Chin-lin
Li Wen-chong
Shi Ming-Te
Tian Tsair-hus


Bi-Khim Hsiao, presidential advisor, Taiwan
Hsu Hsin-liang, presidential advisor, Taiwan; President, The Rising People Foundation
Maysing Yang, Vice Chairman Research and Planning Board, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan


US House of Representatives:
William Delahunt
Lloyd Doggett
Anna Eshoo
Lane Evans
Michael Forbes
Sam Gejdenson
Virgil Goode
Luis Gutierrez
Ron Klink
Dennis Kucinich
Tom Lantos
Barbara Lee
Bill McCollum
James McGovern
Cynthia McKinney
Nancy Pelosi
John Edward Porter
Bobby Rush
Bernard Sanders
Pete Stark
Mark Udall
Frank Wolf

US Senate:
Susan Collins
Richard Durbin
Jesse Helms
Herb Kohl
Bob Smith
Paul Wellstone

Winston Lord, former US ambassador to China

Nobel laureates:
HH the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Tibet
Jose Ramos-Horta, V-P, National Council of Timorese Resistance; Nobel Peace Prize laureate, East Timor
Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Argentina
John C. Polanyi, Nobel laureate for chemistry
Roger Guillemin, Nobel laureate
Dr. Ferid Murad, Nobel laureate
Prof. Nicholaas Bloembergen, Nobel laureate
Paul Berg, Nobel laureate

Artists and writers:

Bei Dao, poet
Eve Ensler, playwright
Ge Yang, former chief editor of New Observer
Amy Irving, actor
Bianca Jagger
Bette Bao Lord, writer
Arthur Miller, writer
Sue Miller, writer
Michael Ondaatje, writer, Booker Prize winner
Amos Oz, writer
Rosie Perez, actor
Vanessa Redgrave, actor
Lois Wheeler Snow, writer
Liu Binyan, journalist
Susan Sontag, writer
Sting, musician
Trudie Styler, filmmaker
Tsung Su, columnist
Sigourney Weaver, actor
Wang Yu, poet
Zhang Weiguo, former Beijing bureau chief, World Economic Herald


Wan Azizah, National Justice Party, Malaysia
Nina Bang-Jensen, Executive Director, Coalition for International Justice, USA
Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, USA
Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children?s Defense Fund, USA
Adrian Karatnycky, President Freedom House, USA
Cheuk Kwan, Toronto Association for Democracy in China, Canada
Irena Lasota, Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe, USA
Ayo Obe, Civil Liberties Union, Nigeria
Gloria Steinam, feminist
Tong Yi, student democracy leader
Wang Dan, student democracy leader
Zhang Erping, Falun Gong spokesman, China


Anita Chan, Contemporary China Centre, Australia National University
Marie Holzman, sinologist, France
Fang Lizhi, University of Arizona
Andrew Nathan, Columbia University
Yash Ghai, Hong Kong University, HK
Pierre Hohenberg, Deputy Provost for Science and Technology, Yale University
Perry Link, Princeton University
Orville Schell, Dean, School of Journalism, UC Berkeley
James Seymour, Columbia University
Lawrence Shepp, Rutgers University, member National Academy of Science, Cmte of Concerned Scientists
Anne Thurston, political scientist
Peter Van Ness, Contemporary China Centre, Australian National University