Decades after China’s brutal crackdown on protesters at Tiananmen Square, the victims’ families are still demanding the country’s leaders acknowledge the truth about the massacre.
Relatives joined by the “Mothers of Tiananmen’’ network demanded “truth, compensation and accountability’’ in an open letter published by Human Rights in China, HRIC, to mark the anniversary on Friday.
Part of the letter read: “Almost 32 years later, we still don’t see any official attempt at unsealing and disclosing information about the bloodshed, and the killing in June 1989 remains a taboo for the government.’’
On June 4, 1989, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army quashed a peaceful protest on the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, leaving at least a few hundred people dead.
Hundreds of thousands of people had demonstrated for weeks in a call for democracy and freedom and to protest corruption.
In Tiananmen Square, students went on hunger strike while a power struggle paralyzed the Chinese leadership.
Reformist party leader Zhao Ziyang was sympathetic to the students, but in the end the hardliners and strongman leader Deng Xiaoping prevailed and called in the troops.
The exact numbers of deaths are still not known. Thousands were injured and detained.
On Friday, the only reminder of the date was tightened security around Tiananmen Square since public commemoration of the anniversary has been banned in China.
The families had sought a dialogue with the government and as a first step wanted the names of the dead published.
The Chinese leadership, however, has never responded to the families’ appeals.