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Tiananmen Mothers Call for End to Censorship over June 4th Crackdown

February 27, 2007

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received an open letter from Ding
and other members of the Tiananmen Mothers calling on the
Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to remove the June 4th incident from the "off
limits zone" of discussion and reveal the truth about the official crackdown on
unarmed protesters in Tiananmen Square in June 1989.

The open letter,
signed by 128 victims and family members of people killed in the crackdown, has
three parts that include:

  1. A review of the pain and suffering survivors and family members have felt
    over the past 17 years, and a call for the incident to be reevaluated through
    some kind of judicial process. The letter states that the official term "riot"
    is an inadequate attempt to dismiss this "wound of history."

  2. Calls for Chinese officials to remove their ban on three books: Zhao
    Ziyang: Captive Conversations
    , by Zong Fengming; Searching for the
    Victims of June 4th
    , by Ding Zilin; and The Moment of Truth (also
    known as June 4th Journal), by former Chinese Premier Li Peng. All
    these books provide first-hand accounts of the June 4th crackdown and its
    ramifications. The open letter observes, "The appropriate handling of these
    books is a test of whether the era-defining wrongs of June 4th can ever be
    justly resolved, and whether the freedom of expression and of the press
    granted under China's Constitution actually exists," and for that reason
    should be a matter of deep concern to members of the NPC and CPPCC.

  3. A reiteration of three basic demands: a fresh investigation into the
    incident, a public accounting and appropriate restitution, and prosecution of
    those responsible. The Tiananmen Mothers have made these same three demands in
    each of the past 12 years, but have never received a response from the

The open letter concludes, "A just and reasonable
resolution of the June 4th question is an inevitable trend, and is what the
people desire." In order to break the stalemate of the past 17 years since the
crackdown, the Tiananmen Mothers call for the topic of June 4th to be removed
from the "off limits zone" of discussion and for the truth to be revealed,
specifically by NPC delegates "using the legislative processes to discuss, draft
and issue a resolution protecting freedom of expression and the press and
abolishing censorship." The full text of the open letter is appended to the
Chinese version of this press release

HRIC fully supports the calls of
the Tiananmen Mothers for an open discussion and resolution of the June 4th
crackdown. Over the years since the Tiananmen Mothers group was formed, 14
members have passed away without seeing justice for their family members, and
many remaining members of the group are in their 80s and 90s. The refusal to
acknowledge the group's demands contradicts the Chinese government's public
commitment to the rule of law and a "harmonious society." HRIC urges NPC and
CPPCC delegates to seriously consider the open letter and begin moving toward a
comprehensive and transparent assessment of the June 4th