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China Escalates Persecution before 25th Anniversary of June Fourth

May 8, 2014

Human Rights in China has learned that Chinese authorities are preventing Ding Zilin (丁子霖), a key member of the Tiananmen Mothers, and her husband from returning to Beijing until after June 4, the 25th anniversary of the violent government crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement.

According to sources, state security personnel told the Beijing-based Ding Zilin and her husband, Jiang Peikun (培坤), who had spent the past several weeks in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, that they would not be allowed to travel back to Beijing on May 7, as they had originally planned, but may do so on June 5.

On the night of June 3, 1989, Ding and Jiang’s son, Jiang Jielian (蒋捷连), then 17 and a high school student, was shot in the back and killed by government troops. In previous years around June 4, the couple held private memorial services either at their home or at Muxidi, where their son was killed. This will be the first year that they are not allowed to be in Beijing.

Ding and Jiang’s soft detention occurred just one day after the criminal detention of five individuals in Beijing: lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志強), who is charged with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事); Hu Shigen (胡石根), former political prisoner and lecturer at Beijing Language and Culture University; Xu Youyu (徐友渔), researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Liu Di (刘荻), writer; and Hao Jian (郝建), professor at Beijing Film Academy. All were among the attendees of a “2014 June Fourth Seminar” on May 3. In addition, Gao Yu (高瑜), a prominent journalist whose disappearance since April 24 was widely believed to be connected to the upcoming anniversary of June Fourth, has been criminally detained on suspicion of leaking state secrets.

For decades, the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of survivors and family members of victims of June Fourth, have pressed for official accountability for the military actions against unarmed civilians as well as compensation to survivors and victims’ families.

Chinese authorities have never revealed the facts of the military action 25 years ago, or even made public the number and names of those killed. Instead, the nation has been subjected to an enforced amnesia on the incident.

“The relentless efforts by the Chinese authorities to silence discussion of June Fourth and even prevent people from remembering their loved ones only underscore the significance of the demands for accountability and justice,” said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China.

“Twenty-five years of official impunity is enough—it is high time for the Chinese authorities themselves to face the truth, assume responsibility for their actions, and begin the healing process for the nation. A continued failure to respond to the legitimate demands of its citizens will only strengthen the growing citizen resistance to ongoing and widespread rights violations and abuses.”

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