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Families of Tiananmen massacre victims await justice amid Chinese suppression

ANI | Updated: Apr 13, 2022 10:19 IST

Beijing [China], April 13 (ANI): As Xi Jinping regime in China tries to erase the memories of the Tiananmen massacre through constant suppression and censorship, the victims of the massacre still await justice after over two decades of the tragic incident, writes Sergio Restelli for Inside Over.
On the night of June 3, 1989, China's military crackdown on students protesting for democratic reforms in various major cities across China led to a massacre of reportedly thousands of unarmed citizens on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, revealing the brutality of the country on its own people.
The issue is still taboo in China where the families of the victims seeking to commemorate the occasion are harassed by the authorities. The victims of the massacre are still awaiting justice as the accountability for the tragedy was never fixed.
In a bid to expose the "state-led terror and suffocation", the families of victims gather at Tiananmen Square every year. "It feels that there's no end in sight. We are all at ages where death can happen any day, and we'd like to see the truth revealed and justice upheld while we are still alive," Restelli quoted Yin Min, mother of a 19-year old boy killed in the 1989 massacre, as saying.
However, justice remains far-fetched amid China's crackdown on the families of the victims. In fact, the Chinese authorities detained, questioned, and arrested the families of the victims and social activists who were planning to mark the anniversary of the massacre. These suppression tactics have seen a surge since Xi Jinping took the reins of China in 2013, writes Restelli.

On the 30th anniversary of the massacre in 2019, families and activists were kept under surveillance to stop them from demonstrating for justice. According to Chinese rights activist Hu Jia, the state security police followed her everywhere, even during a trek to remote mountains. Moreover, families of the victims were followed and their telephones were monitored in order to prevent them from marking the anniversary or speaking to journalists.
Further, the members of a group named 'Tiananmen Mothers' were placed under house arrest ahead of the 1989 movement's anniversary. "I asked them what date they would be leaving on, and they said they didn't know... Human rights violations are so common in China," said Zhang Xianling, who lost her son in the massacre.
In a letter published in 2016, as many as 131 'Tiananmen Mothers' recounted their ordeal while seeking justice as they said that they were subjected to constant harassment, intimidation, and even false accusations by the Chinese security agencies. "For us, family members of the victims' families, it has been 27 years of state terror and suffocation. All these actions undoubtedly desecrate the souls of those who perished in the crackdown and insult the honour of the living," writes Restelli quoting the letter.
Moreover, in 2019, the Beijing government also cracked down on the protestors in Hong Kong, where the people would freely commemorate the Tiananmen tragedy until two years ago. This crackdown started with witch-hunts of those who participated in the rallies commemorating the massacre, following which, eight activists were sentenced to up to 14 months in jail.
According to Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, the crackdown has been a part of Jinping's "China Dream" that wants everyone to forget about the Tiananmen killings. "But suppressing the truth has only fuelled demands for justice and accountability," she added.
Citing the statement of Yaqiu Wang, senior researcher on China at Human Rights Watch, Restelli writes that the state-sponsored abuses in China have been emboldened because the Beijing government never paid a price at home or abroad for the Tiananmen Massacre.
Moreover, the families of the 1989 tragedy said that the Chinese government pretended that the Tiananmen genocide never happened. "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 'Tiananmen Mothers' slamming the communist government for the "unscrupulous slaughter" of its own citizens. (ANI)