On June 4 1989 around 500 Chinese students began a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, their demands for greater democracy were formalized in a statement which included the following words:
“This country is our country,
These people are our people,
This government is our government,
If we do not cry out, who will?”
If we do not act, who will?
Sentiments which would find some sympathy amongst Tibetans, who struggle against China’s violent and illegal occupation for their nation’s independence. A little reported aspect of the democracy protests that occupied Tiananmen Square in June 1989 was a previous event which proved inspirational to some Chinese students. In response to the imposition of Martial Law in Lhasa, during March that year, some Beijing-based Tibetan students openly protested, an protest which drew considerable attention from the emerging Chinese Democracy Movement. It was an act of immense courage and defiance against communist Chinese occupation.
Tragically, the popular uprising to liberalize China was to culminate in state-violence and bloodshed as communist Chinese forces slaughtered unarmed civilians in Beijing during that momentous month, followed by a witch-hunt against what the communist authorities described as “counter-revolutionary hooligans”. Arbitrary arrests, torture, long prison sentences, and forced labor was targeted at those who had dared to speak of democratic freedoms for China.
Today the Chinese regime continues to persecute survivors, victims’ relatives, and any voice of dissent that challenges the ‘official version’ of events.
To mark this important date, and as a vital reminder of ongoing abuses and oppression waged by the communist Chinese authorities, we recommend the following video ‘The Tiananmen Legacy
This documentary should be compulsory viewing for George Bush Senior, who as US President, just twenty fours after the massacre at Tiananmen, reportedly dispatched Lawrence Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft to Beijing to assure the communist regime that, despite its decision to suspend high level contacts with China, and the US Administration’s condemnation, it was to be business as usual.
The sacrifices made by the Chinese pro-Democracy students at Tiananmen Square should serve as a singular reminder that despite ephemeral economic progress, and limited social moderation, China remains a highly repressive, totalitarian state. Its abuse of human, cultural, political and religious rights, and ongoing oppression inside Tibet and East Turkestan demonstrate its disregard of international agreements on human rights, little has changed since freedom dared to announce herself in Tiananmen Square.