Tiananmen Square crackdown

'Ma Lik didn't experience the massacre'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2007, 12:00am

DAB chairman Ma Lik's remarks on the 1989 pro-democracy movement, in which he explained why Hong Kong was not ready for universal suffrage, were criticised by witnesses and families of victims killed in the Tiananmen crackdown.

The leader of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said the incident was 'not a massacre' because soldiers did not indiscriminately kill everyone in their path.

Teacher Lai Hung, a Hong Kong student who supported his mainland counterparts in Tiananmen Square at the time, said he would never forget what happened.

'I saw soldiers starting to clear students gathering around the memorial at the centre of the square. When I retreated with the rest of the students towards the universities, gun shots were heard everywhere and I saw people being shot in their bodies and their hands, when soldiers were dispersing students. When we retreated towards the universities, I saw several people run over by tanks. Dead bodies were everywhere.'

Law Yee-ping, a journalist who was near Tiananmen Square on the morning of June 4, said she saw armoured vehicles coming from the western part of the capital via Changan Avenue in the small hours of June 4. She ran towards the vehicles as people shouted 'They fired, they fired'. 'I heard gunshots being fired ... not into the sky. A few bullets passed by my ears. I saw people falling along the way. There may not have been a massacre, but I was very sure they were killing people.'

She added: 'It's important to find out what happened. The only way to do it is to create a good atmosphere for all the witnesses to contribute accounts of what they saw.'

Ding Zilin, an activist whose 19-year-old son was killed in Tiananmen Square and who heads a campaign to vindicate those killed, said witnesses told her that her son was 'left bleeding' from gunshot wounds before he died: 'My son and two other people were hurriedly buried under the flower bed' near Tiananmen.

Zhang Xianling, another mother who lost her son in the crackdown, said: 'Ma Lik didn't experience the massacre in Beijing in person. What right does he have to make indiscreet remarks about it? Killing a lot of people is a massacre, but a single innocent person killed intentionally is also a massacre. It's inhumane killing.'