Statements by world
leaders and elected government officials
United States: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement
calling on the Chinese government to “examine openly the darker events
of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained
or missing.” The US House of Representatives passed a resolution
calling for “full and independent investigations into the Tiananmen
Square crackdown, assisted by the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Chinese President Hu
Jintao urging the release of ten key prisoners of conscience.
Tibet: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s statement pointed out that the
students in 1989 were “speaking out in defense of the Chinese people’s
constitutional rights, in favor of democracy, and taking a stand
against corruption, truly conformed to the underlying beliefs of the
Chinese Communist government,’ and thus “the forthcoming 60th
anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China presents
a great opportunity to review the events of June 4,1989.”
Taiwan: President Ma Ying-jeou’s published statement observed that
“this painful chapter in history must be faced. Pretending it never
happened is not an option.” He noted that over the past decade, China
has “paid greater attention to human rights than before,” and that
“this shows a robust openness and confidence on their part.”
Several Western leaders also commented on the eve of the anniversary.
Edward McMillan-Scott, vice president of the European Parliament,
wrote in an op-ed piece that “Europe's stance toward human-rights
abuses in China has become increasingly spineless.” Also, it was
reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australian Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon paid
tribute to the Tiananmen victims.
Chinese Dissidents, Partners and Civil Society
The Tiananmen Mothers, a group of mothers who lost their children
during the protests, demanded “Truth, Compensation, Accountability” in
their statement. They called for an independent investigation of the
June Fourth events, adoption of a “June Fourth Incident Victim
Compensation Bill,” and prosecution of those responsible.
A group of 28 Chinese pro-democracy groups both in and outside China
issued a joint statement called on the Chinese government to
“acknowledge the Tiananmen Massacre…, release all the political
prisoners, and establish an impartial ‘truth and reconciliation’
committee of citizens.”
In an open letter to China’s leaders, five former June Fourth
political prisoners focused on the problems of unemployment and lack
of pensions that former political prisoners face, emphasizing that “an
individual’s political problems should be separated from economic
problems.” Wu Gaoxing, a co-signer, was detained by authorities
immediately after the letter went public.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders has released “The Legacy of
Tiananmen: 20 years of Oppression, Activism and Hope,” a report that
overviews human rights abuses against Tiananmen protestors and their
families, and includes lists of 195 individuals killed, 57 injured, 15
executed and 905 incarcerated as part of the crackdown.
In Hong Kong, a candle-light vigil organized by the “Hong Kong
Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democracy Movements of China” was
attended by over 150,000 people. Click here to see the “Declaration of
the March to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the June 4th
The Taiwan Association for Human Rights and leading human rights
activists in Taiwan issued a statement decrying the “collective
amnesia” of Taiwanese people and politicians with regard to June
Fourth and the human rights situation in China. They called on all
sectors of Taiwanese society “to support the prosecution of those
responsible for June 4th, and to push for democracy in China”.
Leading international NGOs also drew attention to the Tiananmen
anniversary. Amnesty International called for an inquiry into the
Tiananmen Square crackdown. Reporters sans Frontiers staged a protest
outside the Chinese Embassy in Paris displaying the image of “tank
man” and made a statement about internet censorship in China. Freedom
House also issued a press release denouncing China’s new internet
restrictions two days before June Fourth, such as blocking websites
such as Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail.
On another note, the International Campaign for Tibet published an
analysis of US Congress legislation (known as the 1990 “Tiananmen
Sanctions”) and whether the Chinese government has met these
requirements with regards to protecting human rights in Tibet.