25 Years After Tiananmen Square Massacre, Chinese Human Rights Defenders Continue to Fight for Change
Washington, D.C – On the 25th Anniversary of the Chinese government’s mass killings of protestors gathered at Tiananmen Square and elsewhere in the country, Human Rights First praised the brave dissidents and human rights defenders who continue to struggle for human rights in China and urged the United States to raise concern about these cases and other human rights abuses in the country during bilateral meetings.
“Today we honor and remember the fiercely courageous men and women who gave their lives and their freedom in Tiananmen Square and in other parts of China where they peacefully protested for the fundamental rights to which all people are entitled,” said Human Rights First’s President and CEO Elisa Massimino. “Twenty-five years later, brave human rights defenders across China continue to fight for change, often at great risk to themselves. We urge the U.S. embassy in China to defend the right of activists to peacefully and publicly mark today’s Tiananmen anniversary and to call for an end to impunity in the country. The United States must act to make good on its promise to put human rights ‘at the heart of our diplomacy’ with China.”
On this date in 1989, the Chinese government opened fire on thousands of unarmed men and women who were gathered in Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds and wrongfully detaining many others. Twenty-five years after that massacre, the government still refuses to admit wrongdoing in the horrific attacks on innocent civilians or to hold responsible those involved. In the weeks leading up to today’s anniversary, Chinese authorities have targeted dozens of civil society activists in an attempt to quash public recognition and prevent demonstrations calling for the government to account for the abuses of that day. Those targeted that day are remembered in video stories posted by Human Rights in China featuring the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of survivors and family members of victims, who have defied efforts by authorities to prevent them from speaking out.