25 years of impunity and repression since the Tiananmen massacre

04/06/2014
Press release
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Tiananmen Square. May 14th 1989. Second day of the students’ hunger strike

Paris, 4 June 2014 - Twenty-five years since the violent military crackdown against the peaceful student protest in Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989, the victims of the massacre and their families are still deprived of truth, justice, and reparation, as no one has been held accountable. Those who speak out today against this impunity are also targeted by the state, often losing their jobs, their freedom, and even their lives. The Chinese government’s ongoing militarization of Tibet also shows that there has been no fundamental change in the way the authorities respond to peaceful protests and demands for reform by citizens since 1989 when martial law was imposed in Lhasa for over a year. FIDH and its member organization International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) denounce this increasing repression of human rights defenders by the government of China.

On this anniversary of such a sad day in history, we regretfully note that the human rights violations that led people to peacefully assemble on Tiananmen Square in 1989 have only worsened over the past twenty-five years, stated Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH. A lack of democracy, attacks on freedom of expression and association, and the repression of ethnic and religious minorities are still a reality in China, and those speaking out against these crimes are targeted more aggressively than ever.

Today, China is increasingly attempting to silence, through criminal detention and other methods of control, anyone who speaks out for justice and democracy. In just these past two months leading up to the June 4th anniversary, at least 91 individuals, including human rights defenders, were harassed or disappeared. Yet those seeking human rights for all Chinese citizens refuse to be silenced. Brave activists and journalists are jailed daily for questioning or shedding light on the repressive regime, yet they continue to speak out. Groups such as the “Tiananmen Mothers,” despite continued threats and persecution by the state, continue to call for accountability and justice. In light of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, FIDH’s member organization Human Rights in China (HRIC) compiled a series of videos by the Tianenmen Mothers about the victims of the massacre and their families’ struggles thereafter. The videos can be found here.

Tiananmen Mothers Speak out: The Story of Liu Hongtao

Our organizations stand in solidarity with the relatives of the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown who continue to demand truth, justice and reparation, undeterred by a quarter century of state silence and reprisals, declared Rosemarie Trajano, Vice President of FIDH. FIDH will continue to advocate on their behalf and on behalf of every peaceful human rights defender imprisoned or silenced for speaking out against injustice.

It is also the responsibility of the international community to push the Chinese authorities to respect international human rights norms. In response to the violence of June 4th 1989, the European Union imposed an arms embargo on China that remains in place today, despite the objections of the Chinese government. It is essential that any debate on a possible lifting of the embargo is preceded by verifiable steps by the Chinese government toward human rights improvements in mainland China and Tibet. To lift the embargo without such changes in Chinese policy and practice would dishonor the memory of the victims of the Tienanmen massacre and all those who continue to suffer repression in China and Tibet.

We call on the Chinese authorities to free all prisoners of conscience immediately, and to allow all Chinese and Tibetan citizens to enjoy the freedom of expression and assembly that they have been denied for far too long.

See : A Brief Chronology of the 1989 Democracy Movement and Crackdown in Beijing

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