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Our Faith and Perseverance Will Never Change: On the 32nd Anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre

June 1, 2021

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

On June 4, 1989, in a time of peace, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, under the leadership and command of the ruling authorities, sent tanks, armored vehicles, and soldiers with live ammunition onto the ten-mile Chang’an Avenue in Beijing. Without restraint or scruples, they shot and crushed unarmed students and citizens, and even destroyed the bodies to cover up their crimes. As a result, some of the victims’ families have heard nothing about their loved ones after they left home, not knowing if they were dead or alive, as if they had vanished from the face of the earth.

This massacre—devoid of humanity and sending shockwaves around the world—was stupefying and unconscionable. On that sleepless night, residents huddled in the streets and alleyways to discuss the escalating situation. Despite hearing gunshots, those good-hearted people still thought the army was merely shooting rubber bullets to scare the people. The students and residents at the scene were equally naive in clutching to their illusions about the government, until people around them started to collapse, their bright-red blood staining the ground. Only then did the crowds start to panic, flounder, weep, and take cover. Still more residents risked their own lives to rescue those who had fallen around them, using all means of transportation available to them—such as flatbed tricycles, carts, and vans—to rush the injured to nearby hospitals as fast as they could.

In the spirit of saving lives and healing wounds, hospital staff poured all they had in them into rescuing those injured. Many hospitals took in more people than they could possibly operate on and were forced to triage the patients for surgeries. Due to the overwhelming number of wounded people, many waited for hours without treatment. Because of the delay, some lost their limbs in otherwise preventable amputations and others their lives. In the face of tragedy, the selflessness and sacrifice of the ordinary residents of Beijing who rushed to rescue others despite their own risks was both laudable and gut-wrenching. Preserving life is the instinct of humanity. In stark contrast was the viciousness and brutality of the authorities who violated the constitution and sent in the army to crack down on the unarmed students and residents.

As to how many people were killed and injured in the end—the government has not uttered a single word for the past 32 years. All Chinese people have been stripped of the right to learn about the tragedy and even forbidden to openly commemorate the dead or hold the ruling Communist Party of China and the government responsible for the bloodbath. The government’s immorality and use of silent contempt to deprive each individual’s right to life have led to the blocking of all information related to the June Fourth massacre. Having grown up in a false sense of prosperous jubilance and enforced glorification of the government, many young people nowadays have no idea of or refuse to believe what happened on June 4, 1989, in the nation’s capital.

Back in 1949, Beijing, a city with a history of more than 3,000 years and had served as the capital of three dynasties, was peacefully liberated by the army without a single shot or cannon fired. Sadly, 40 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the passionately patriotic people of Beijing were slaughtered by the martial law troops, who called themselves the “people’s army,” in a human tragedy of blood and tears.

We, relatives and families of the victims, have experienced the most painful agony in life, and our hearts have known no joy ever since. The middle-aged bereaved parents back then are now gray-haired seniors. They hope to see the law bring fairness and justice in their lifetime—a wish that, once fulfilled, will console their shattered hearts and allow the spirits of their children to rest in peace. And as for the children who lost their fathers or mothers in June Fourth, and traumatized by growing up in incomplete families, allowing the public to learn about the massacre will also bring them solace. However, almost 32 years later, we still don’t see any official attempt at unsealing and disclosing information about the bloodshed, and the killing in June 1989 remains a taboo for the government.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, and a great deal of preparation and propagandistic efforts have been put into the celebration. In mid-April, the government also published a high-profile speech delivered on July 1, 2016 by Chinese President Xi Jinping—who also serves as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission—at a commemoration of the CPC’S 95th founding anniversary. In his speech, Xi demanded that “all Party members shall put the people in the most prominent place in their hearts and adhere to the fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, effectively realizing, protecting, and developing the people’s broadest interests. The people’s support, approval, satisfaction, and affirmation should be regarded as the fundamental standard for the success or failure of all of our work so that the Party may enjoy an inexhaustible source of strength.” “Our greatest threat as the ruling party is corruption. . . . [We must] be in fearful reverence of the people, the Party, and the law and discipline, and use our power with fairness, in accordance with the law, to the benefit of the people, and with integrity, to maintain the unsullied political nature of the incorruptible CPC members.”

In 1989, the social incident that was triggered by the student movement in Beijing and involving the participation of people from all walks of life in many major cities across the country—who used peaceful and rational demonstrations to voice their opposition to bureaucratic profiteering, embezzlement, and corruption to the government—was the most quintessential manifestation of a healthy society. When the public spotted embezzlement and corruption in the CPC’s powerful elite during the Reform and Opening Up, what the government should have done was to assess its performance based on the people’s demands and resolve social conflicts in accordance with the law, rather than seeing protests as turmoil and using the state’s military force to indiscriminately murder innocent people in broad daylight on the streets of Beijing.

We believe it is the unavoidable responsibility of the CPC and the Chinese government to resolve the June Fourth massacre, and redressing the tragedy is the first step to governing the country by law, respecting the people’s own agency, and ensuring their position as the masters of the country. Doing this would let the people CPC members have nothing to hide and seek no personal gain, and that the Party’s conduct is also subject to the supervision of the law. We look forward to the day when the CPC and the Chinese government can sincerely and courageously set the record straight and take up their due responsibility for the anti-human 1989 massacre in accordance with the law and the facts.

We have been calling for a peaceful dialogue with the government since the late 1990s to discuss the June Fourth tragedy and ways to resolve it in accordance with the law. To this end, we have publicly put forward the three demands of “truth, compensation, and accountability” and established a dialogue group. We believe that the truth can be made public by first releasing the names of the dead and then going step by step until the true history of the killing is eventually restored. Compensation should be paid to the relatives of the victims, and those responsible for ordering the shooting should be held legally accountable. We look forward to seeing the CPC and the Chinese government bow down and apologize to the entire nation for this atrocity!

Our group lost two more mothers of victims to illness in 2020, and we have lost 62 bereaved family members thus far. As the years go by, the parents in our group are getting older by the day, and some of the elderly have left us forever. However, our faith and perseverance will never change!


Signers (122):

尤维洁 You WeiJie 郭丽英 Guo Liying 张彦秋 Zhang Yanqiu
吴丽虹 Wu Lihong 尹 敏 Yin Min 祝枝弟 Zhu Zhidi
叶向荣 Ye Xiangrong 丁子霖 Ding Zilin 张先玲 Zhang Xianling
周淑庄 Zhou Shuzhuang 钱普泰 Qian Putai 吴定富 Wu Dingfu
宋秀玲 Song Xiuling 孙承康 Sun Chengkang 于 清 Yu Qing
孙 宁 Sun Ning 黄金平 Huang Jinping 孟淑英 Meng Shuying
袁淑敏 Yuan Shumin 王广明 Wang Guangming 刘梅花 Liu Meihua
谢京花 Xie Jinghua 马雪琴 Ma Xueqin 邝瑞荣 Kuang Ruirong
张树森 Zhang Shusen 杨大榕 Yang Darong 贺田凤 He Tianfeng
刘秀臣 Liu Xiuchen 沈桂芳 Shen Guifang 谢京荣 Xie Jingrong
金贞玉 Jin Zhenyu 要福荣 Yao Furong 孟淑珍 Meng Shuzhen
邵秋风 Shao Qiufeng 谭汉凤 Tan Hanfeng 王文华 Wang Wenhua
陈 梅 Chen Mei 周 燕 Zhou Yan 李桂英 Li Guiying
徐宝艳 Xu Baoyan 狄孟奇 Di Mengqi 王 连 Wang Lian
管卫东 Guan Weidong 刘淑琴 Liu Shuqin 孙珊萍 Sun Shanping
刘天媛 Liu Tianyuan 黄定英 Huang Dingying 熊 辉 Xiong Hui
张彩凤 Zhang Caifeng 何瑞田 He Ruitian 田维炎 Tian Weiyan
杨志玉 Yang Zhiyu 李显远 Li Xianyuan 王玉芹 Wang Yuqin
方 政 Fang Zheng 齐志勇 Qi Zhiyong 冯友祥 Feng Youxiang
何兴才 He Xingcai 刘仁安 Liu Ren'an 齐国香 Qi Guoxiang
韩国刚 Han Guogang 庞梅清 Pang Meiqing 黄 宁 Huang Ning
王伯冬 Wang Bodong 张志强 Zhang Zhiqiang 赵金锁 Zhao Jinsuo
孔维真 Kong Weizhen 刘保东 Liu Baodong 齐志英 Qi Zhiying
方桂珍 Fang Guizhen 雷 勇 Lei Yong 葛桂荣 Ge Guirong
郑秀村 Zheng Xiucun 王惠蓉 Wang Huirong 桂德兰 Gui Delan
王运启 Wang Yunqi 黄雪芬 Huang Xuefen 郭达显 Guo Daxian
王 琳 Wang Lin 刘 乾 Liu Qian 朱镜蓉 Zhu Jingrong
穆怀兰 Mu Huailan 王争强 Wang Zhengqiang 宁书平 Ning Shuping
曹云兰 Cao Yunlan 林武云 Lin Wuyun 冯淑兰 Feng Shulan
付媛媛 Fu Yuanyuan 李春山 Li Chunshan 蒋艳琴 Jiang Yanqin
何凤亭 He Fengting 奚永顺 Xi Yongshun 肖宗友 Xiao Zongyou
乔秀兰 Qiao Xiulan 陆燕京 Lu Yanjing 李浩泉 Li Haoquan
赖运迪 Lai Yundi 周小姣 Zhou Xiaojiao 周运姣 Zhou Yunjiao
陈永邦 Chen Yongbang 刘永亮 Liu Yongliang 张景利 Zhang Jingli
孙海文 Sun Haiwen 王 海 Wang Hai 陆三宝 Lu Sanbao
姚月英 Yao Yueying 任改莲 Ren Gailian 倪世殊 Ni Shishu
杨云龙 Yang Yunlong 崔林森 Cui Linsen 吴卫东 Wu Weidong
贾福泉 Jia Fuquan 王德义 Wang Deyi 朱玉仙 Zhu Yuxian
石 晶 Shi Jing 袁 刃 Yuan Ren 包丽梅 Bao Limei
奚贵君 Xi Guijun 钟俊华 Zhong Junhua 轧爱强 Ya Aiqiang
陈卫东 Chen Weidong 郝 建 Hao Jian  


We are including the names of deceased fellow members to honor their wishes (62):

吴学汉 Wu Xuehan 苏冰娴 Su Bingxian 姚瑞生 Yao Ruisheng
杨世钰 Yang Shiyu 袁长录 Yuan Changlu 周淑珍 Zhou Shuzhen
王国先 Wang Guoxian 包玉田 Bao Yutian 林景培 Lin Jingpei
寇玉生 Kou Yusheng 孟金秀 Meng Jinxiu 张俊生 Zhang Junsheng
吴守琴 Wu Shouqin 周治刚 Zhou Zhigang 孙秀芝 Sun Xiuzhi
罗 让 Luo Rang 严光汉 Yan Guanghan 李贞英 Li Zhenying
邝涤清 Kuang Diqing 段宏炳 Duan Hongbing 刘春林 Liu Chunlin
张耀祖 Zhang Yaozu 李淑娟 Li Shujuan 杨银山 Yang Yinshan
王培靖 Wang Peijing 袁可志 Yuan Kezhi 潘木治 Pan Muzhi
萧昌宜 Xiao Changyi 轧伟林 Ya Weilin 刘建兰 Liu Jianlan
索秀女 Suo Xiunü 杨子明 Yang Ziming 程淑珍 Cheng Shuzhen
杜东旭 Du Dongxu 张桂荣 Zhang Guirong 赵廷杰 Zhao Tingjie
陆马生 Lu Masheng 蒋培坤 Jiang Peikun 任金宝 Ren Jinbao
张淑云 Zhang Shuyun 韩淑香 Han Shuxiang 石 峰 Shi Feng
王桂荣 Wang Guirong 隋立松 Sui Lisong 田淑玲 Tian Shuling
孙淑芳 Sun Shufang 陈永朝 Chen Yongchao 孙恒尧 Sun Hengyao
徐 珏 Xu Jue 王范地 Wang Fandi 李雪文 Li Xuewen
王双兰 Wang Shuanglan 张振霞 Zhang Zhenxia 肖书兰 Xiao Shulan
谭淑琴 Tan Shuqin 高 捷 Gao Jie 金亚喜 Jin Yaxi
邢承礼 Xing Chengli 周国林 Zhou Guolin 郝义传 Hao Yichuan
陆玉宝 Lu Yubao 曹长先 Cao Changxian