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Monday, June 05, 2006 

Ding Zilin's Letter to Hong Kong Compatriots

This year, I didn't have the time to listen nor to watch Ding Zilin's letter to Hong Kong compatriots at the June Fourth Candle Vigil in Victoria Park. Even though it is more or less predictable as what her pleas might be, I still tried to find time to read her statement. And I must say what she said is fair enough and I thought these are the most touching parts:

"The Tiananmen Mothers group is not a political organization nor is it an interest group. She is a victims group made up of fresh blood and tears, a group with a shared destiny and a shared demand. Her ultimate demand is "redress June 4th". That is to give the 89' Tiananmen movement and "June 4th" sad case a reassessment in accordance with facts. On questions such as apologies and compensations, we shall borrow and emulate the successful model that the Taiwan's opposition used in resolving the "228" historical legacy.

We, the "Tiananmen Mothers" group, and Hong Kong compatriots' hearts are joint together. You are always paying attention to our destiny and we are also always paying attention to your destiny. Enabling residents of the two places to fully enjoy freedom, democracy, human rights are our common belief. About the controversies on the Basic Law, direct elections in Hong Kong, media and press freedom, these are all linked to Hong Kong's future destiny and welfare. On these issues, we will, as have always been in the past, stand on the same side as Hong Kong compatriots, and will not standby idle because our power is weak."

RConversations also has a very touching post yesterday about Ding Zilin and many others who shared her fate.

"Imagine if one of your loved ones died violently 17 years ago. Imagine what it would be like if the government didn't acknowledge he or she had died - and thus erased that person's existence. Imagine not being allowed to mourn in public. Imagine plainclothes policemen standing guard outside your home to prevent foreign journalists from talking to you. Imagine being sent out of town on an all expenses paid "vacation," courtesy of the Public Security Bureau every year around this time.

That's the life of Ding Zilin and probably thousands of other people. We don't know exactly how many because there is still no certain death toll - but human rights groups believe the number is in the thousands based on the number of bodies in hospitals and morgues after the event. Professor Ding, whose 17-year old son, Jiang Jielian was shot near Tiananmen square, is now the head of the Tiananmen Mothers Group: a group of brave people who are gathering information and evidence about the victims and how they died. One day they hope to be able to hold their government to account for what was done. They want the Chinese government to acknowledge the facts of what happened."

More about the demands of the Tiananmen Mothers Group:

"The six specific issues include: Desisting in all monitoring and restrictions on the freedom of the surviving victims and their families; Allowing families to observe commemoration of their loved ones without impediment; Desisting in interference with humanitarian aid from inside and outside of China to the victims and their families; The provision of humanitarian and employment assistance without any political conditions to persons who continue to suffer psychologically or financially from the crackdown; Removing the political and social stigma against victims; and Restoring the rights and physical welfare of those detained, imprisoned, made jobless or otherwise victimized for their participation in the 1989 Democracy Movement." Read the full text here.

Audio clip by Ding Zilin where she talks about her current situation and some of the demands of her group.
"Audio clip of Ding Zilin's statement.

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Here we go again, do you know why you are throwing around that "thousands" figure?

I'd like to offer couple more reference in addition to PBS Frontline's "The Tank Man", where it reported the fact Chinese government did investigate this, and release casualty figure of 240 some dead (incidentally in-line with our own NSA intel estimate.)

An article by Gregory Clark on pack journalism:


"the so-called massacre was in fact a mini civil war as irate Beijing citizens sought to stop initially unarmed soldiers sent to remove students who had been demonstrating freely in the square for weeks. When the soldiers finally reached the square there was no massacre."

An article by Columbia Journal Review on passive journalism:


"as far as can be determined from the available evidence, no one died that night in Tiananmen Square.
Hundreds of people, most of them workers and passersby, did die that night, but in a different place and under different circumstances."

[Just for reference, throwing molotov cocktail at riot police is a crime in US.]

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