It's not just about the money, say Tiananmen Mothers
Authorities must still account for the Tiananmen crackdown and pay proper compensation to victims, according to a campaigner from the Tiananmen Mothers group.
Ding Zilin made the remarks in a statement yesterday after reports said the parents of a teenager whose death was linked to the 1989 military crackdown were offered 'hardship assistance' of 70,000 yuan.
Ms Ding, a retired professor who also lost her son in the crackdown, expressed regret that the family of Zhou Guocong - allegedly beaten to death at a detention centre in Chengdu on June 7, 1989 - had to waive their right to take legal action as a precondition for accepting the payout from local authorities.
'This means that by accepting the 70,000 yuan in two separate instalments over two years, [the victim's mother] Tang Deying will also have to give up the right to pursue the case through the criminal and civil courts,' Ms Ding said.
'[This means] the case of the murder [of a young man] for political reasons will be closed. If the case ends this way, we would feel deeply sorry.'
Ms Ding said that although Zhou, 15, was allegedly beaten to death by police at the detention centre, his death was 'clearly linked to June 4'.
According to a report distributed by activist Huang Qi last week, Ms Tang was offered the money by a district government in Chengdu after petitioning over her son's death for years.
Ms Ding said that although she recognised Ms Tang's case had 'a certain indicative meaning' for other Tiananmen victims, there should be no connection between the authorities' position on the 1989 turmoil and the offer of 'hardship assistance'.
Speaking on behalf of the Tiananmen Mothers group, Ms Ding said there were no indications that the money was being offered by the government as compensation for the boy's death.
'It was clearly stated that the money was offered as 'hardship assistance' to Ms Tang,' she said. 'Therefore, some media reports saying the victim successfully obtained compensation from the government are incorrect.
'For the payment to qualify as compensation for June 4 victims' [families], the government must acknowledge it made mistakes ... or at least admit what it did was wrong.'
Ms Ding repeated three of the Tiananmen Mothers' demands: establish an independent committee to investigate the June 4 crackdown, introduce legislation in the National People's Congress to pay compensation to victims' families, and conduct a judicial investigation into the legal responsibility of those responsible.