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by Geof Bard
Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 at 5:12 PM
Activism*Human Rights*Global Unity
Originally intending to do a write up commemorating the 400 injured and hundreds jailed and killed by the People's Liberation Army on June 4, 1989, I had the good fortune to interview a group of students from China. To my dismay, their views ranged from complete apathy to nationalistic rationalizations of the regime's actions (it was a long time ago/it was very complicated/those people weren't working). That view sharply contrasts with that of Americans towards, say, Kent State, where four antiwar protesters were shot by National Guardsment.
humanrightsinchina.gif, image/gif, 657x71
During the time I had today to write up a short piece commemorating the massacre at Tienanmen Square I had an opportunity to interview several Chinese citizens attending college at the University of California. To my shock and dismay, they expressed little interest in their own tradition of resistance and seemed only too happy to forget the past.
In marked contrast to contemporary students in Europe,the Middle East,South America, the US, and even other parts of Asia, they were distinctly apathetic. One student who gave her name only as "Wei Wei" even stated that she felt she was "not qualified to have an opinion because [I am] too young."She would not state her age, but appeared to be in her early twenties. I wonder how many would say "I am too old?"
As I ponder that peculiar group interview, I will relay the information from Human Rights In China, a group that I first got involved with in 1990 and stayed with through college. At that time there was vigorous debate over whether or not to allow deferal of human rights in favor of economic development. The latter priority appears to have won, as, over a decade later, China excercises inordinate censorship, even to the extent of roughing up an outspoken Chinese citizen residing in California. The latter allegation was entered into the Congressional Record pursuatnt to the debate on Google/Yahoo collaboration with internet censorship in China.
After an hour, when some of the students left, there appeared to be some loosening of the tight adhesion to the apologia for the regime. But nevertheless, the lamentable bottom line was that this particular group of interviewees had historical amnesia of the first order.
It is intended for wide dissemination so feel free to reproduce it at will.
Media Work / Press Releases And Statements /
HRIC Launches Podcast Interviews for June 4th Anniversary June 02, 2006
HRIC Launches Podcast Interviews for June 4th Anniversary
June 02, 2006
Human Rights in China (HRIC) has launched a podcast series of interviews with participants of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement. The podcasts, which can be downloaded as audio files from HRIC's Web site, include oral histories of the June 4th Tiananmen Square crackdown never previously made public. The interviews also explore the role of the democracy and independent labor movements in addressing challenges facing China.
Seventeen years after the violent crackdown in 1989, the Chinese government has yet to respond to demands for a full investigation and official accountability, compensation for the victims and their families and a reassessment of the crackdown. In the face of official Chinese propaganda and information control, HRIC aims to preserve a historical record as well as to support efforts promoting greater democracy and openness.
Podcasts of Chinese-language interviews with the following June 4th activists are currently available:
* Ding Zilin, spokesperson for the Tiananmen Mothers, whose son was killed during the crackdown.
* Han Dongfang, 1989 labor activist and currently head of China Labour Bulletin in Hong Kong.
* Ma Shaofang, a student at the Beijing Film Academy, one of the organizers of the hunger strike in Tiananmen Square. He was imprisoned for three years on charges of counterrevolutionary incitement.
* Lu Decheng, one of the individuals who splattered paint on the portrait of Mao Zedong that hangs over Tiananmen Square. He was sentenced to 16 years on charges of counterrevolutionary incitement and sabotage. He was recently granted asylum in Canada.
* Cheng Zhen, one of the organizers of the hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, who provides a rare eyewitness account of two deaths in the Square during the early hours of June 4th.
* Chang Jing, vice-president of the Peking University independent student union, who conducted surveys of the wounded and dead in Beijing hospitals following the June 4th crackdown.
* Zhang Bin, who participated in the 1989 protests while employed at a travel agency. He was wounded by dumdum (hollow point) bullets during June 4th.
An English podcast of translated excerpts from a selection of the interviews is also available.
Future podcasts updated throughout the month of June will include interviews with the following individuals:
* Wang Zhixin, a student organizer at the University of Political Science and Law, detained in December 1990 and held for more than two years.
* Zhai Weimin, a student at the Beijing Institute of Economics who was detained in May 1990 while preparing to mark the first anniversary of June 4th.
* Wang Youcai, an organizer at Peking University. He was imprisoned for four years, then sentenced to 11 years in 1998 for helping to organize the China Democracy Party. He was forced into exile in 2004 and is now studying in Chicago.
* Xiong Yan, a graduate student of law at Peking University and a leader of the Students’ Dialogue Group. He was arrested on June 15, 1989 and held for 18 months without due process.
* Zhou Fengsuo, a physics student at Tsinghua University and a member of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation. Zhou was arrested in Xi’an on June 13, 1989 and imprisoned for one year
* Meng Lang, former editor of the Shenzhen University Journal, now a poet living overseas.
* Peng Rong, an organizer at Peking University. He was imprisoned for two years after organizing a commemoration on the first anniversary of June 4th at Peking University.
* Zhou Fengsuo, a physics student at Tsinghua University, and a member of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation. Zhou was arrested in Xi’an on June 13, 1989, and was imprisoned for one year.
* A student from Hong Kong who went to Beijing in 1989 to support the movement.
* A high school student who was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment for his activities during the days of June 3rd and 4th.
* And many others...
HRIC’s Web site will be regularly updated with additional podcast interviews in the coming weeks. For full instructions on subscribing and listening to HRIC’s June 4th podcast series, please visit hrichina.org/public/june4podcasts or http://www.64memo.org.
For further inquiries over the weekend, contact Stacy Mosher at (718) 439-0272 or (347) 276-0919 (New York), or Roseann Rife at (852) 6340-1139 (Hong Kong).
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