Chinese Police Clamp Down on Graveside Memorials for Tiananmen Victims
Chinese authorities clamped down on activists commemorating victims of 1989 student-led pro-democracy protests on Tiananmen Square and other petitioners as the nation observed its annual grave-sweeping festival over the weekend.
Members of the Tiananmen Mothers advocacy group, which represents all victims of the crackdown who died or were maimed, told Hong Kong media they were prevented from traveling to the graves of their loved ones ahead of the Qingming holiday, which fell on Friday but is honored throughout the weekend.
Chinese authorities keep relatives of those who died in the 1989 military crackdown around Tiananmen Square under house arrest and close surveillance as the politically sensitive anniversary approaches each year, beginning ahead of the traditional Chinese grave-sweeping festival in April.
Political activists are typically also prevented from holding any kind of public memorial to mark the crackdown, in which the People's Liberation Army (PLA) used machine guns and tanks against unarmed protesters and hunger-striking students.
Tiananmen Mothers member Zhang Xianling said she had managed to evade police surveillance by pretending to "go to the bathroom" and travel together with her husband out to Beijing's Wan'an cemetery where her son Wang Nan is buried.
"After we swept my son's grave, we also bowed in front of the graves of other victims of the June 4 [incident]," she told Hong Kong's Cable TV.
The New Citizens Movement crackdown continues in China with the trials of three more activists. The crackdown by the Communist Party calls into question the viability of a "middle way" to reform Chinese society.
SOURCE: THE TELEGRAPH
Tiananmen in History and Memory
Cross-generational Dialogue Panels with: Former Beijing Bureau Chiefs for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Newsweek, former Wall Street Journal Asia op-ed editor, Professor Wu Guoguang, speechwriter for former premier Zhao Ziyang, Fang Zheng, whose legs were crushed when a tank drove over him on June 4, and other 1989 student leaders and survivors.
Student Paper Panels with: Professors William Kirby, Mark Elliott, Martin Whyte, Arthur Waldron, Paul Cohen, Pei Minxin, Victor Falkenheim, Roderick MacFarquhar.
Student Performance directed by Bex Kwan ’14, with violinist Lynn Chang ’75, who played at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Liu Xiaobo.
Please visit our website for program, participant bios, paper abstracts, and travel information.http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~tiananmen/
By Perry Link
"[T]he 1989 massacre was a turning point. Without it, Deng Xiaoping’s formula for the Chinese people of “money, yes; ideas, no”—a policy that laid the foundation for so much of what we see in China today—would not have wrought its effects. The massacre also laid the foundation of fear—a deep, seldom explicitly mentioned, but accustomed dread—on which the intimidation of the populace has rested ever since."
The June Fourth Massacre in Beijing has had remarkable longevity. What happened in and around Tiananmen Square twenty-five years ago this June not only haunts the memories of people who witnessed the events and of friends and families of the victims, but also persists in the minds of people who stood, and still stand, with the attacking side. Deng Xiaoping, the man who said “go” for the final assault on thousands of Chinese citizens protesting peacefully for democracy, has died. But people who today are inside or allied with the political regime responsible for the killing remain acutely aware of it.
Tiananmen Massacre Presentation