(TibetanReview.net, Jun04, 2018) – While it continues to remain a crime in China to display by any means any knowledge about the Tiananmen Square massacre by the People’s Liberation Army of hundreds to more than a thousand entirely peaceful democracy protesters on Jun 4, 1989, families of the victims remain determined not to let the memory die. And so, as its 29th anniversary approached, they have again urged the country’s top leader, President Xi Jinping this time as in the past six years, to acknowledge their suffering and “re-evaluate the June Fourth massacre”.
In an open letter to Xi dated “the eve of 2018 June 4th”, the Tiananmen Mothers, an association of parents who lost children in the violence, has said: “each year when we would commemorate our loved ones, we are all monitored, put under surveillance, or forced to travel”.
The letter, released May 31 by the non-profit Human Rights in China, was further quoted as saying: “No one from the successive governments over the past 29 years has ever asked after us, and not one word of apology has been spoken from anyone, as if the massacre that shocked the world never happened.”
The massacre had led to global outrage, with many Western governments imposing sanctions and arms embargo on China. It also conceivably played a role in Tibet’s exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1989.
“The 1989 June Fourth bloody massacre is a crime the state committed against the people. Therefore, it is necessary to re-evaluate the June Fourth massacre,” the letter was further quoted as saying, calling for “truth, compensation, and accountability” from the government.
China branded the democracy protests a “counter-revolutionary rebellion” and rewarded as heroes those who led the massacre of their own peacefully protesting people.
The massacre was preceded by the replacement of Mr Zhao Ziyang, who sought to reach out to the protesters, by Mr Jiang Zemin as the party General Secretary. Mr Hu Jintao who had carried out a similar bloodbath in Tibet earlier in the same year was designated as his successor with “election” to the Politburo Standing Committee.
Many on mainland China remain unaware of the Tiananmen crackdown, with discussion banned from books, textbooks, movies and censored on social networks.
It is only in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong that the anniversary is openly marked with a famous vigil in Victoria Park on Jun 4 each year.