Elsie Tu

China's repressive leaders have not learned from massacre

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 June, 2007, 12:00am

I found Elsie Tu's comments on the controversy generated by Ma Lik ('Political parties use Tiananmen tragedy as propaganda ', June 9) disturbing.

She says: 'Ma Lik sets a good example in caring about people.'

If making the suggestion of throwing a pig in front of a tank to see whether human bodies could be crushed into 'minced meat' is what she called 'caring about people', then clearly I do not understand what is meant by 'insulting', 'cold-blooded' and 'insensible'.

Mrs Tu gets it all wrong when she says terminology does not matter. It is common sense that he who controls the language with which an issue is defined controls the debate. That is why the Chinese government and Ma Lik are so desperate to play down the Tiananmen massacre by calling it an 'incident'.

Massacre, by the dictionary definition, is: 'The unnecessary, indiscriminate killing of a large number of human beings or animals, as in barbarous warfare or persecution or for revenge or plunder'. Unnecessary, indiscriminate. The definition is appropriate to describe June 4.

Chinese Lessons, the first-hand account of June 4 by journalist John Pomfret, says that the soldiers began firing into the crowd and hitting people in the stomach and legs.

He describes random gunfire killing a resident on the 14th floor of a building. Massacre or crackdown? I think the answer to that question is very clear.

Mrs Tu talks about the changes in policy since June 4, 1989. However, I wonder what has changed. Arbitrary arrests and torture are just as common as they were then.

For instance, Yu Dongyue jailed for participating in the Tiananmen demonstration, became mentally ill after being beaten and tortured for over a decade in prison.

Numerous defence lawyers, human rights activists, Catholics and Christians of unregistered family churches, have been targets of government harassment.

And some people call that civilised.

Andrew Tay, Causeway Bay