Speech of Ms. You Weijie, a Member of the TianAnMen Mothers, at IFCSS 2015 June 4 Memorial Service
May 30, 2015
Dear friends from the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in the US (IFCSS), who have come here to attend the Memorial Service in commemoration of the 26th anniversary of the June 4 massacre in Beijing,
On behalf of the current working team of TianAnMen Mothers I would like to express our thanks to our predecessors, who are the mothers and fathers in the commune of TianAnMen Mothers. In the past 26 years, they have defied the power of a dictatorship and continued a hard fight with solidarity and without giving ground. They have set an example for those of us who lost husbands or wives in the same tragic event and who are also members of this victim family commune.
But age erodes health and they are in their 70's and 80's. In spirit they are as strong as before but in health they are no longer what they used to be. It is only fit for the torch to pass from their generation to us who are still in our 60's to continue our common fight.
I want to share with you some of my thoughts.
Recently I read an open letter by some Chinese students studying abroad who were born in the 1980's and 1990's. The open letter was intended for their schoolmates still inside China.
The letter reads, " We are a group of Chinese students studying abroad and we were born in the 1980s and 1990s. On June 4, 26 years ago, a group of college students, just as young as we are, just as promising and upbeat as we are today, with their love and loyalty for our nation, died under the guns of the people's army on the streets of Beijing. This section of history has been mostly shielded from us or has been deliberately miscast with the consequence that our generation in China knows little or nothing about what happened on that bloody day. We are now outside of the wall and have access to the photos, videos, and uncensored news of the past. We can listen to the survivors' stories and still feel the weight of the aftermath of that event a quarter of a century later. The more we know, the more important we feel about the responsibilities we have for the knowledge we gain."
I am glad to see the rise of these people born in 1980's and 1990's. They share the same love and loyalty to our nation. When they learn the truth about the June 4 event they are shocked and start to contemplate. They start to question the Communist Party in power whether it is still legitimate to govern without admitting to have committed the massacre. In their words, forgetting that past is disloyal to history.
As a member of the TianAnMen Mothers I feel deeply the suffering of every mother and every father when they recall how their innocent children were killed 26 years ago. They cherish all the belongings and blood clothes left by their sons and daughters. Those were the hurts difficult to heal. Without that massacre in the capital city of Beijing, their children would be in their 40's and active in various parts of the society and be part of the backbone of China.
June 4 was an atrocity many eyewitnesses cannot get over. Wherever they go they will not forget that day when terror was in the air, blood and bullets were flying, and innocent lives fell onto the streets. For this atrocity many journalists and attorneys were put into prison. Recently Gao Yu, a journalist in her 70's, was sentenced for 7 years. Pu Zhiqiang, an attorney who hosted a June 4 event mini-conference in his own home was arrested for disturbing social order. Yu Shiwen, an attorney who held a June 4 Memorial service on the Yellow River dam in Zhao Ziyang's hometown, Hua County in Henan province, is still in jail. Chen Yunfei, originally a student in Beijing Agriculture University, was arrested on April 5 of this year for helping the June 4 victims in Chengdu of Sichuan province to commemorate other victims' deaths.
Every citizen has the right to commemorate the victims in the June 4 massacre in 1989. Such commemoration is no crime! The massacre did not only cause the suffering of the victims' families but also the suffering of the nation. Killing innocent for consolidation of power is a misery for the nation.
Dear friends of IFCSS and all friends here you have the same emotional outrage for the June 4 atrocity. Many of you were students at that time who participated in this student movement and witnessed the massacre that shocked the world. In the past 26 years because of this outrage, you share with us the suffering, and every year you hold a memorial service in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. Some of you have even gotten onto the black list by the Chinese government and are forbidden to return to the land you were born in. In order to let the people in the world who love peace and respect life learn more about the truth on June 4, you have done a great deal of work and hold events of different kinds related to June 4. Your concern and support to us for 26 years and has encouraged us to continue our fight for our three basic goals: investigating the truth of June 4, penalizing the villains, and compensating the suffering. As Dr. Lu Wenhe told me, IFCSS came into being when the June 4 event was not resolved and as the Tiananmen Mothers were formed. As long as the June 4 event is unresolved and TianAnMen Mothers are still standing, IFCSS will be with us.
Thank you, IFCSS friends.
Thank you, all friends attending today's Memorial service.