Introduction to Tiananmen Mothers
The Tiananmen Mothers are a group of families of the dead and injured of the June 4th massacre. In the early 1990s, some June 4th victims’ families come together to gather information in order to expose the government’s lies. Early members included: Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling, You Weijie, Liu Tianyuan, Zhou Shu Zhuang, Li Xuewen, Zhu Zhi brother, Xu Jue, Ma Xueqin, Huang Jinping, Yuan Shumin, Liuxiu Chen, Yin Min, and Lu Yubao.
In May 1995, families of June 4th victims sent a letter to the National People’s Congress, seeking a re-investigation of the June 4th incident, to publically announce the findings and give an account to the relatives of the deceased. There were 27 signatories, with the number increasing every year afterwards, when they sent a similar letter. It stood at 127 signatories in 2008.
In 2000, the families of the June 4th victims were officially named the Tiananmen Mothers group, and their five-point demands are as follows:
1. The families of the victims have the right to publicly mourn relatives who died in the June 4th massacre;
2. The families of the victims have the right to accept humanitarian aid from all sources;
3. Stop the persecution of the disabled victims and families of the deceased of the June 4th massacre;
4. Release all political prisoners still imprisoned for the June 4th incident;
5. Publically release the truth about June 4th and hold the culprits responsible for the massacre.
Currently, 35 of the Tiananmen Mothers have passed away uncleared of the injustice done to their loved ones. The Tiananmen Mothers who are still living are mostly elderly people in their seventies or eighties. Their greatest wish is to live long enough to be able to seek justice for their children. However, in their quest for justice, they have become a persecuted group. Many members of the group are monitored, followed, harassed, and persecuted: some of them were even forced to leave Beijing during the Olympic Games or placed under police custody; many in the movement and the disabled have lost breadwinners or been deprived of the right to social security and live a miserable life; even Jiang Peikun, Professor Ding Zilin’s husband who is over 70 suffered a stroke due to the security measures. Even commemorating at the graveside can only be carried out under police surveillance. On the eve of the fifteenth anniversary of June 4th, two Tiananmen Mothers, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping, were unjustly detained because they received gifts of shirts from overseas, and another of the mothers, Ding Zilin was put under residential surveillance.
The Alliance condemns the Chinese government for its ruthless suppression of the Tiananmen Mothers! In addition, we also hope that you will support the Tiananmen Mothers campaign, represented by their slogan “tell the truth, refuse to forget, seek justice, and call on conscience!”
“Speak Out the Truth” ── Documentary on the June 4th Movement
The Tiananmen Mothers have endured harassment, surveillance, adversity and physical and mental suffering in order to reveal the truth. Through much hardship they have found information on 202 of the dead, and have written detailed records and identified all of them by name. All were innocent citizens and students. In October last year, You Weijie, Guo Liying, Zhang Yanqiu, Wu Lihong, and Yi Min from June 4th victims’ families in three batches went to visit 20 families outside Beijing, inner Mongolia in the northeast, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Guangxi in the south, Sichuan and Chongqing in the west, Henan and Hubei in the centre, and Anhui and Jiangsu in the east to gather irrefutable evidence into articles and videos. They insist on a just resolution for June 4th incident in their lifetimes.
The Alliance pays tribute to the brave and resolute Tiananmen Mothers.
The June 4th Museum movie room will play the video ‘True Accounts of Interviews’ in which blood and tears are condensed into words chapter by chapter, and where the Tiananmen Mothers, in the high pressure environment under which they live, dedicate their testimonies to relatives who are no longer with us.
1. Testimony of You Weijie ── widow of June 4th victim Yang Minghu
- I was shocked by the blood spilled on June 4th; I deeply resent that this method of brutal tyranny was used by the government to deal with its own citizens.
- I hope the government will face the crimes it has committed against their own country, and I hope the government can face it, correct it, give an explanation to us and to the families of the June 4th victims.
- I hope that our country and our government re-evaluate this matter, so that our country can truly build a democratic country, and not engage in “laying down the law”; one should listen to opinions from all sides, because each of us from all walks of law has our own views on nation-building. Repression is when you cannot express your own opinions.
- If the government can address this matter, we can truly become a prosperous and powerful nation and follow the track of the law rather than by what a few people say; everyone should be able to decide their own fate.
- Because each of us has the right to life, we cannot be killed in the streets for no reason without any explanation.
- We all love our country, but our government does not let us put forward a wide range of views for the country; in fact, if we are able to express our opinions, I believe that our country will be even better than it is now.
2. Testimony of Zhang Xianling—— Mother of June 4th victim Wang Nan
I think that sooner or later the truth will win out.
As a government, it has the responsibility to come and talk to us, and we hope that the government will speak to us to solve this problem.
We are against violence, but we insist on fighting, and we must persist till the end to obtain justice so we can to redress the grievances for our grandchildren, and for all the victims.
3. Testimony of Zhang Yanqiu – widow of June 4th victim Wang Zhiying
I think the dead cannot really die in vain. I feel it is extremely unfair that so many years have passed and today we have no way to talk about it.
4. Testimony of Zhang Zhenxia —— patriotic mother of June 4th
- Where are human rights in China? Do we not have those rights? Our sons are dead, so what? What do you have to say to say what will follow this? It’s impossible! You are such a big country, such a big China, such a big Chinese Communist Party; you killed my son, so why don’t you keep apologizing? Why not allow people to say something? I am not afraid. Is that not it?
- The central government must rehear the June 4th cases, give fair answers and provide rational arguments.
5. Testimony of Ding Zilin – Mother of June 4th victim Jiang Jielian
- The pain of losing still torments me from time to time. A feeling like a kind of living death has never left me. I know I’m not a strong mother, I’m not that strong, and I would not say use the rhetoric that I am engaged in human rights activities. Discover fairness on the way to seek justice. Myself, I can walk strongly, or able to find a way to keep on living.
- In the shock at loss of my son, in the Communist Party’s persecution against me, in seeking the family of the victims and what they have experienced made me recognize the true face of the Communist Party, and that this is an evil system.
- I want to say from the perspective of justice, the Communist Party is intolerable, but I will not give up.
- But I’m not very strong, I can say that I have been able to find the strength to continue living, but it is still very painful to live, because there is no substitute for losing my son.
- This grief, this bereavement, has not been reduced by the passage of time; it has brought me closer and closer to the end of life, and becomes even heavier.
Group members Zhang Yanqiu and Yin Min visited five families in Dalian, Fengcheng, Baotou and Kanawha. Every family has changed a lot in twenty-five years. Although life has improved, the bodies of victim’s families are deteriorating. Some could not stand the trauma and suffered premature death; others are seriously ill and bedridden. Although the five families’ situation is different, all of their lives are difficult. Four families out of the five are childless elderly people and two are middle-aged widows. The human tragedy of 25 years ago falls on the heads of these people.
The June 4th movement courageously tells the truth to the world, in the hope the problems of June 4th will be solved, the relatives of the dead can seek justice. Unfortunately, the Chinese government has turned a blind eye to the human tragedy created by the massacre of 25 years ago. But history cannot be concealed for the past is not like smoke, for justice remains in people’s hearts. This movement issues a strong appeal: that China will designate June 4th as a national day of mourning in accordance with international practice.
Words of the Tiananmen Mothers
- As long as maternal love exists, there will be Tiananmen mothers. (Ding Zilin)
- I came to realize that this is not personal revenge for the killing of my son; this is our national tragedy, a national disgrace. It is not only a personal decision, but rather the problem of the system. (Zhang Xianling)
- I know that I am not alone, because hundreds of thousands of our compatriots have stood up with me have I increased courage and strength to live on. (Yi Min)
- History is written by the people, the world of the merits and demerits must return to its right side. (You Xiaozong)
The Tiananmen Mothers Campaign consists of a group and individuals coming together to pursue justice, democracy and freedom for the purpose of solidarity with the mainland families of the June 4th victims seeking justice.
The Tiananmen Mothers Campaign urges the Chinese government to stop the ruthless suppression of the Tiananmen Mothers and hope that in their lifetime that they can seek justice for their loved ones.
Justice belongs to everyone:
On the night of June 3, 1989, the Chinese government ordered the massacre of students who sought democracy and opposed corruption; there were numerous casualties. The bloody crackdown did not end with the termination of gunfire.
A quarter of a century later, a group of families of the victims got together to seek justice, refusing to forget, to collect and record of evidences of offences committed in the year of June 4th, and to tell the world the truth; the group also has been urging dialogue with the government, repeatedly petitioning the National People’s Congress, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate seeking investigation into the events, hoping to seek justice through legal channels, but the Chinese government still refuses to accept their petitions.
This group of bereaved families endures harassment and surveillance. Life is hard, full of physical and mental suffering, but still they insist on fighting for a just resolution of the June 4th Incident.
Support for the movement, do not about revenge but they do not want the pain of the tragedy to increase. The anti-corruption issues that the students raised still have not been resolved, but twenty years it is even more and more serious, toxic milk, polluted water, shabby construction and so on, directly threatens our lives and those of the next generation.
Truth Compensation Accountability
Speak the truth. Never forget. Seek justice. Call on conscience.
Who can stay out of this?
“For our own, eventually be able to see what is no longer important, but we will go on the road already taken, in order for the living, but also for the dead.”
Ding Zilin, Jiang Peikun
“When we face the atrocities before our eyes, absolutely do not want to close our eyes; when we look back at past atrocities, we absolutely do not want to erase them from the memory. The history of human resistance against power is the history of memory against forgetting history. ...... Once forgotten, evil will be repeated. Hopefully the careworn and suffering Chinese people can remember that.” Jiang Peikun
“My son died for China’s future; I’m also only living for China’s future. I hope there is no more killing and no more innocent people lying dead in the streets in our disaster-ridden land. This is why I want to bind up their wounds, dry their tears, to search for the victims and their relatives one by one and in searching process, a pile, make public to the world a matter covered with blood and tears.” Ding Zilin