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Tiananmen Mothers Call for Release of Donated Funds

February 27, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received an open letter from the Tiananmen Mothers calling on the Chinese authorities to release humanitarian donations that have been frozen in an account for eight years.

The Tiananmen Mothers, a group of 126 family members of those killed or injured during the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in June 1989, released their open letter on February 28, the eve of the latest session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing.

In the open letter, the Tiananmen Mothers refer to an incident in 1998 in which Beijing’s Public Security Bureau (PSB), on the grounds of “investigational requirements,” froze an account in the Bank of China containing DM11,620 in funds donated for the humanitarian assistance of family members of June 4th victims. In its official notification, the PSB gave no explanation of the nature of the investigation, nor has anyone been accused of any crime in connection with the funds.

In spite of protests by the Tiananmen Mothers and the international community at the time, the funds have remained frozen and inaccessible to the intended beneficiaries. Likewise, the Chinese authorities have declined to respond to the Tiananmen Mothers’ repeated requests for dialogue to resolve issues remaining over June 4th, including a full accounting of those killed and wounded, appropriate compensation to the victims and their families, and a determination of which officials were responsible for the crackdown.

In this latest open letter, the Tiananmen Mothers accuse the Chinese authorities of inhumanely depriving the families of victims of the donated funds, and ask NPC and CPPCC delegates to take an interest in the matter and press for the account to be unfrozen. The full text of the open letter is appended to the Chinese version of this press release.

HRIC strongly supports Ding Zilin and the Tiananmen Mothers in their request for the release of the frozen funds. In October 1998, around the same time that the Chinese authorities froze the Tiananmen Mother’s funds, China became a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the NPC has yet to ratify.
HRIC joins with the Tiananmen Mothers in urging NPC delegates to exercise their right and responsibility to monitor official abuse of process in the freezing of the funds and to implement fair and transparent processes for regulating civil society organizations in strengthening rule of law. As the PRC authorities have repeatedly represented to the international community, the NPC should also ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without further delay.