Tiananmen Square crackdown

Tiananmen Mothers seek negotiated resolution over crackdown

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2006, 12:00am

Relatives of victims of the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square yesterday renewed their calls for authorities to resolve the June 4 incident in an open and legal way.

Days before the 17th anniversary of the crackdown, the Tiananmen Mothers group, representing 126 victims and their family members, urged the government to address the issue through negotiations and dialogue with no pre-conditions.

'Only by resolving the June 4 problem in an open, square and reasonable way, including dealing with the victims and their families, can China have the possibility of peaceful transformation,' the group said in an open letter released by the New York-based group Human Rights in China yesterday.

'To squarely resolve the problem it needs a process and we don't expect all problems to be resolved in the short term. On the principle of resolving the easier [questions] first and the difficult [ones] later, we can temporarily put aside serious disputes such as the assessment of June 4 and first resolve issues relating to the victims' basic rights and their interests.'

The group urged the authorities to stop surveillance and restrictions placed on victims and their families, and allow them to openly mourn their loved ones.

It also called on the government to return a donation of 11,620 German marks (HK$58,800) raised by Chinese students in Germany but frozen since 1998, and provide the families of victims with basic living assistance.

Ding Zilin, 70, a retired professor and one of the group's leaders whose teenage son was killed in the crackdown, said she would not give up her quest, despite her advanced age. 'I'll insist on our pursuit, no matter whether I can see [a resolution] in my lifetime or not,' she said. 'As long as I have breath, I will not give up.'

Zhang Xianling, 69, whose 19-year-old son was shot and killed in the 1989 crackdown, remained optimistic. 'It will be solved because democracy is a worldwide trend,' she said. 'China will get on the democratic track and this issue will be resolved.'

The group has confirmed 186 deaths and more than 70 injured, but said that represented 'a very small portion' of the total.