Due to government censorship and suppression, not many people in Mainland China know much about the details of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which occurred on June 4, 1989.
The communist authorities have done their best to quash information about the peaceful protests for political reform that turned deadly when the People’s Liberation Army was sent in to crush it.
And crush it, it did. Over a 1,000 people are believed to have been killed in the crackdown that not only occurred in Beijing, but in many other Chinese cities where there was support for reform and anti-corruption initiatives. In the city of Chengdu, some estimates of those killed were in the hundreds, reports Time.
Part of the communist government’s bid to suppress June 4 has been its callous treatment of The Tiananmen Mothers, an advocacy group who have for years been harassed and monitored by the police.
“For us, family members of the victims’ families, it has been 27 years of white terror and suffocation,” said The Tiananmen Mothers in an open letter translated and posted by Human Rights in China.
Their letter titled “No Amount of Power Can Rub Out June Fourth” details how the family members of those killed on June 4 have been surveilled upon, followed, had their computers taken, and even been detained.
“The police use contemptible means such as making up stories, fabricating facts, issuing threats, etc., against us. All these actions undoubtedly desecrate the souls of those who perished in June Fourth, and insult the honors of the living,” the letter said.
Watch one of The Tiananmen Mothers speak out in this 2015 video from the AP Archive:
The letter also detailed how police restricted visits to 80-year-old Ding Zilin, who is a founder of The Tiananmen Mothers. Her 17-year-old son, Jiang Jielian, was one the first to be killed on the night of June 3-4. She helped form a network of bereaving parents who lost loved ones in the massacre, and from that evolved The Tiananmen Mothers.
“She is physically and mentally exhausted and her state is worrisome. The affection and friendships among us, the victims’ families, have been coalesced by the blood of our family members,” stated the letter about Ding.
The retried philosophy professor has been under house arrest with her husband since 2004.
“For 27 years, we, victims’ families, have rationally maintained our three appeals: truth, accountability, and compensation, in an effort to seek a just resolution to the miscarriage of justice of June Fourth,” said the letter, which went on to state that the communist government has pretended that the massacre never occurred.
The letter said that the government’s killing of peacefully protesting students and citizens was unprecedented in China’s history.
“A government that unscrupulously slaughters its own fellow citizens, a government that does not know how to cherish its own fellow citizens, and a government that forgets, conceals, and covers up the truth of historical suffering has no future — it is a government that is continuing to commit crimes!” said the letter, which was signed by 131 members of the group. A further 41 names of deceased members from the group were also included in the letter.
Watch this China Uncensored episode about the legacy of the Tiananmen Square Massacre: