On the 22nd Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre:

The Souls of those Killed during June Fourth Shall Not Be Defiled; Their Families Shall Not be Dishonored

The Tiananmen Mothers

May 31, 2011

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

This year, we approach the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Democracy Movement at a time when the fight for democracy, freedom, and human rights in North Africa and the Middle East is spreading like wildfire. As relatives of those killed in the 1989 movement, our memories are still fresh and our pain is unbearable when we look back at the tragic outcome of that unparalleled disaster.

We have always firmly believed that everything that happened during the June Fourth crackdown is engraved in the people’s hearts; the Chinese people, especially Beijingers, cannot forget the events of June Fourth. They cannot forget the men and women who were shot and crushed to death by the Chinese army troops. The June Fourth Massacre will not be forgotten, even though it has been downplayed and blocked among the people in China. It shall forever exist in people’s hearts. It has been indelibly etched into history.

On that frightful night of June 3, 1989, the Chinese army troops, protected by the darkness of night and following the way opened for them by tanks and armored vehicles, moved toward Tiananmen Square from all directions, strafing and chasing people to kill them as they advanced. Wherever they went, students and civilians suffered heavy casualties. When the student demonstrators withdrew orderly and peacefully from Tiananmen Square in the early morning of June 4, the army tanks pursued them from behind and crushed them, killing and seriously injuring more than a dozen students right there. Even on June 6, the government had not stopped their military action. That day, on Fuxingmenwai Street alone, three people were killed and three were critically injured; the youngest of the injured was only 13 years old. In an instant, the sky fell and the earth sank in the whole city of Beijing. Wailing and sobbing were heard everywhere. In an instant, young faces and handsome bodies, one after another, were turned to dust and vanished from the land where they had lived. 

So far, we have spent 22 years and have documented 203 victims of June Fourth. There are still many victims we have not found, or whose relatives of whom we have no information.

Among the 203 known victims, some were beaten to death when protesting against the army’s use of violence against civilians; some were shot while rescuing the wounded or carrying the dead; some were chased by martial law troops into residential alleys and streets and killed; some were shot right in their own homes by stray bullets of the martial law troops; and some were shot and killed while taking photographs at the scene. Our repeated investigation and verification show that not a single one of the victims committed any violent act. They were all peaceful demonstrators and citizens.

We have the names, genders, ages, work units, and occupations of most of these victims. We have the home addresses, school names, and grade levels of all the students. They died tragically and majestically. We cannot help but sink into despair every time we think of them.

Let us who still live — your parents, your husbands and wives, your brothers and sisters, your sons and daughters — weep for you and mourn your passing! Let those who are middle-aged, but especially those who are young, stand in silent tribute and pay you their respect!

An old saying goes, “There is no avoiding the sins committed by the heavens, nor can man escape from paying for the sins he commits.” The June Fourth massacre was by no means a casual act, but an act with the highest level decision makers and direct executors. Some have since died, others still live. The sins they committed cannot escape scrutiny under law. As creditors of this huge historic debt, we all understand the unshakeable law: “It is right and proper to repay a debt owed.”

We have been steadfast in our difficult struggle over the past twenty some-odd years to restore the damaged reputations of the dead and to comfort the souls that have yet to find peace. We have written many times to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, asking them to give an earnest and responsible account of the killing of the innocent victims during June Fourth. We also urged the Standing Committee to change their attitude of indifference to the will of the people and their willful ignorance of the pleas of the families of the dead, and to open a direct and sincere dialogue about the victims of June Fourth with their families. But we have not received a reply to any of our requests.

In late February 2011, on the eve of the annual “Two Congresses” — the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — a victim’s relatives who are among the Tiananmen Mothers group were contacted by the public security department in their district for so-called private communication and exchange of opinions. Soon after, in early April, the public security personnel had another talk with that family. The visitors did not speak of making the truth public, carrying out judicial investigations, or providing an explanation for the case of each victim. Instead, they only raised the question of how much to pay, emphasizing that this was meant for that individual case and not for the families in the group as a whole.

The Tiananmen Mothers have repeatedly appealed to the government over the past 16 years for dialogue, yet government authorities have ignored us. This year, the silence was finally broken. This should have been welcome. But what in fact does this belated response mean? If the authorities merely want to settle the June Fourth matter with money and to do it under the table, then what kind of results will this produce?

In 1995, we began making three demands to resolve the June Fourth issue: truth, compensation, and accountability. In 2006, in accordance with the circumstances at that time, we added a supplemental resolution: because resolving the June Fourth issue impartially requires a certain process, we can adopt the principle of tackling the simpler problems first. The issues with serious differences in opinion that cannot be readily agreed upon—for example, the true nature of the events of June Fourth—can be temporarily set aside. Instead, we can first settle the issues involving the basic rights and interests of the victims. There are six issues, including removing all surveillance and personal restrictions imposed upon the June Fourth victims and their families; allowing the families of the dead to mourn their loved ones without interference; and the relevant government departments’ providing pure humanitarian assistance to the victims experiencing hardships. This supplemental resolution has a basic principle and a bottom line. The bottom line is this: the souls of those killed during June Fourth shall not be defiled; their families shall not be dishonored. We hereby reiterate today: all matters can be discussed except these two. 

Our door to dialogue with the government has remained open at all times. For any endeavor, it is always the start that is most difficult. As a show of good faith, the government should dispatch or appoint an official body to be responsible for the dialogue, rather than using the public security or state security personnel who monitor and follow us every day to “talk” with us. This is improper and pointless. So as to reflect the inclusive nature of the dialogue, we hope that, rather than individual discussions, the government will seek out many victims’ families—not one, not two, but three, four, or even a dialogue team organized by the victims’ families—for talks. We hope it will not be private communications, but an open dialogue, forthright and aboveboard, with all issues on the table, with no facts concealed or differences covered up, and one that strives to fulfill our responsibilities to the dead and to history. We harbor no illusions that the issues of June Fourth can be resolved in a single step. If there are discussions, then they should be real discussions, to resolve issues point by point, so as to ultimately arrive at a unanimous or basically unanimous conclusion.

Since the start of this year, demonstrations and protests calling for freedom and democracy have erupted in countries across the Middle East and North Africa. The Chinese government has referred to these popular protest movements categorically as “turmoil”; at no point has it mentioned the calls for freedom and democracy. Why? The answer is fear. It is afraid that the situation in the Middle East and North Africa will spread to mainland China, and worried that it will give rise to events similar to the 1989 Democracy Movement.  The authorities have therefore tightened control on civil society and intensified repression, resulting in a serious deterioration of human rights in China; in particular, the situation since February of this year has been the worst since June Fourth. It has been the harshest period since June 4, 1989. Silence has reigned across the country. To our surprise, it was against this grim backdrop that public security agencies have initiated private, individual conversations and dialogues with some of the families of the June Fourth victims. How can this not be strange?




丁子霖 Ding Zilin               张先玲 Zhang Xianling        周淑庄Zhou Shuzhuang

李雪文 Li Xuewen               徐珏 Xu Jue                      尹敏 Yin Min

杜东旭 Du Dongxu             宋秀玲 Song Xiuling                    于清 Yu Qing

郭丽英 Guo Liying              蒋培坤 Jiang Peikun            王范地 Wang Fandi

袁可志 Yuan Kezhi             赵廷杰 Zhao Tingjie           吴定富 Wu Dingfu

钱普泰 Qian Putai               孙承康 Sun Chengkang       尤维洁 You Weijie

黄金平 Huang Jinping         贺田凤 He Tianfeng            孟淑英 Meng Shuying

袁淑敏 Yuan Shumin          刘梅花 Liu Meihua              谢京花 Xie Jinghua

马雪琴 Ma Xueqin              邝瑞荣 Kuang Ruirong        张艳秋 Zhang Yanqiu

张树森 Zhang Shusen         杨大榕 Yang Darong                    刘秀臣 Liu Xiuchen

沈桂芳 Shen Guifang          谢京荣 Xie Jingrong           孙宁 Sun Ning        

王文华 Wang Wenhua         金贞玉 Jin Zhenyu              要福荣 Yao Furong

孟淑珍 Meng Shuzhen        田淑玲 Tian Shuling           邵秋风 Shao Qiufeng

王桂荣 Wang Guirong         谭汉凤 Tan Hanfeng           孙恒尧 Sun Hengyao

陈梅 Chen Mei                   周燕 Zhou Yan                  李桂英 Li Guiying

徐宝艳 Xu Baoyan              狄孟奇Di Mengqi               杨银山 Yang Yinshan

管卫东 Guan Weidong        高婕 Gao Jie                      索秀女 Suo Xiunü

刘淑琴 Liu Shuqin              王培靖 Wang Peijing                    王双兰 Wang Shuanglan

张振霞 Zhang Zhenxia        祝枝弟 Zhu Zhidi               刘天媛 Liu Tianyuan

潘木治 Pan Muzhi               黄定英 Huang Dingying      何瑞田 He Ruitian

程淑珍 Cheng Shuzhen       轧伟林 Zha Weilin              郝义传 Hao Yichuan

萧昌宜 Xiao Changyi                    任金宝 Ren Jinbao              田维炎 Tian Weiyan

杨志玉 Yang Zhiyu             齐国香 Qi Guoxiang            李显远 Li Xianyuan

张彩凤 Zhang Caifeng        王玉芹 Wang Yuqin            韩淑香 Han Shuxiang

曹长先 Cao Changxian        方政 Fang Zheng               齐志勇 Qi Zhiyong

冯友祥 Feng Youxiang        何兴才 He Xingcai              刘仁安 Liu Renan

熊辉 Xiong Hui                  韩国刚 Han Guogang          石峰 Shi Feng

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 Sun Weizhen

刘保东 Liu Baodong           陆玉宝 Lu Yubao                陆马生 Lu Masheng

齐志英 Qi Zhiying              方桂珍 Fang Guizhen          肖书兰 Xiao Shulan

葛桂荣 Ge Guirong             郑秀村 Zheng Xiucun         王惠蓉 Wang Huirong

邢承礼 Xing Chengli          桂德兰 Gui Delan               王运启 Wang Yunqi

黄雪芬 Huang Xuefen         王琳 Wang Lin                   刘乾 Liu Qian

朱镜蓉 Zhu Jingrong                    金亚喜Jin Yaxi                   周国林 Zhou Guolin

杨子明 Yang Ziming           王争强 Wang Zhengqiang   吴立虹 Wu Lihong

宁书平 Ning Shuping                   郭达显 Guo Daxian             曹云兰 Cao Yunlan

隋立松 Sui Lisong              王广明 Wang Guangming    冯淑兰 Feng Shulan

穆怀兰 Mu Huailan             付媛媛 Fu Yuanyuan                    孙淑芳 Sun Shufang

刘建兰 Liu Jianlan              王连 Wang Lian                 李春山 Li Chunshan

蒋艳琴 Jiang Yanqin           何凤亭 He Fengting            谭淑琴 Tan Shuqin

肖宗友 Xiao Zongyou         乔秀兰 Qiao Xiulan             张桂荣 Zhang Guirong

雷勇 Lei Yong (127 people)


In accordance with suggestions by our friends, we’re also including the following names of our fellow signers from previous years who have passed away so as to respect their wishes:


吴学汉 Wu Xuehan             苏冰娴 Su Bingxian            姚瑞生 Yao Ruisheng

杨世鈺 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    (23 people)