Tiananmen Square crackdown

Impeach Ma Lik, urge Tiananmen victims' families

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2007, 12:00am

Plea to NPC over June 4 claims

Pressure continued to mount yesterday against NPC deputy Ma Lik, with families of those killed in the Tiananmen crackdown calling on the national legislature to impeach him for saying the 1989 incident was 'not a massacre'.

Mr Ma's suggestion that a pig could be thrown in front of a tank to see whether bodies could really be crushed into 'minced meat' has particularly incensed his critics.

In highly controversial comments on Tuesday, Mr Ma, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said people in Hong Kong lacked national identity as many still believed there had been a 'massacre' in Tiananmen Square. 'If bodies could have been burned so easily in Tiananmen Square, there would not have been such a long queue for cremation,' he said, referring to reports in 1989 that bodies were burned to cover up the death toll.

Yesterday, in a strongly worded statement, 127 family members of students and workers killed during the crackdown condemned Mr Ma for his 'malicious humiliation' of the dead, saying he had hurt survivors' feelings.

'Mr Ma's remarks have stirred ... deep anger among families of those killed on June 4. We unanimously believe Ma Lik's assisting to twist and cover up the massacre was a malicious humiliation of the dead and an unrestrained attack on their families,' the statement read. 'These remarks only show the person who made it has absolutely no humanity left in him and has utterly gone under the baseline of being a human being. We cannot stand Mr Ma's comments and we cannot keep silent.'

Mr Ma, who was in Guangzhou, could not be reached for comment.

Led by Ding Zilin, a retired professor in Beijing who lost her 19-year-old son early on June 4, 1989 in Tiananmen Square, the group of 'Tiananmen Mothers' called on the National People's Congress Standing Committee to impeach Mr Ma for making his remarks.Under mainland law, an NPC deputy can lose that status on being impeached.

The statement by the 'Tiananmen Mothers' is just one of many by pro-democracy organisations who have organised petitions condemning Mr Ma, demanded a public apology and offered to clarify the facts for him.

An online petition organised by social work students at the University of Hong Kong has gathered nearly 800 signatures, with many using expletives to criticise Mr Ma. Members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China delivered a letter to Mr Ma's party headquarters, asking him to attend a public forum on May 27.

The 'Tiananmen Mothers' also urged the DAB to issue a public condemnation of Mr Ma. On Wednesday, the party apologised for his 'inappropriate' remarks.

Their statement demanded Mr Ma provide proof that a 'massacre' did not take place in Beijing, and invited him to visit the capital where activists could arrange for survivors and families to present their cases.

In a statement, the Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organisations in Support of the Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China said it regretted Mr Ma's remarks, urged him to withdraw them and make a public apology. It asked the central government to launch an inquiry.

Additional reporting by He Huifeng