[加评论] 页面有问题?请点击打印板-》打印版                  [推荐此文给朋友]


     (博讯 boxun.com)

     China's Tiananmen Paranoia
     June 2, 2006
     Asian Wall Street Journal
     BEIJING -- In the run up to Sunday's 17th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, Chinese authorities have been experimenting with a new strategy to try to quell continuing public anger over the bloody events of June 4: appeasement.
     The relatives of Zhou Guocong, a 15-year-old protester beaten to death by police in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu in the nationwide crackdown that followed the massacre, recently became the first relatives of a Tiananmen victim to be compensated for their loss. Given the extreme sensitivity of the issue, it's inconceivable that this 70,000 yuan ($8,720) payout, officially described as a "hardship" allowance, wasn't authorized at the highest levels of the Chinese government.
     If this attempt to buy off the family of one victim -- his mother had to renounce any right to take legal action over Zhou's death in return for the payment -- works, we can expect the government to extend the same strategy to families of other June 4 victims. Paltry payments, in exchange for silence. That's consistent with what the Chinese leadership officially describes as its policy of building a "harmonious society," but which in reality simply means using a combination of force and economic benefits to suppress any sign of dissent.
     Ever since the Tiananmen massacre, successive Chinese leaders have lived in a permanent state of paranoia and continue to treat even peaceful political groups as serious threats to their rule. This paranoia is worst at times such as this, in the immediate lead up to the anniversary of the massacre, when relatives of the victims are forbidden openly to pay tribute to the dead, dissidents are put under house arrest, and the Chinese media and Web sites are warned against making any mention of June 4.
     As a former university teacher who sat side by side with hundreds of students in Tiananmen Square before tanks rolled in, I have personally experienced this paranoia. Since the massacre, I have been detained three times by Chinese authorities -- for a total of six years -- for supporting the protesters and speaking out against human-rights abuses. After my release, I still have to endure a different kind of prison. In 2005, I spent half the year under house arrest. Even today, my activities in Beijing are closely monitored by police, along with my phone calls and emails. Even my wife is followed every time she leaves our home.
     Meanwhile, the government continues to follow a lopsided strategy of pursuing economic growth without making any movement toward political reform, hoping that providing more material comfort to its citizens will be enough to buy their silent acquiescence in its continuing repression. However, growing economic prosperity has only enhanced the desire of ordinary Chinese to be given political freedom, as well. Although China has not experienced any more protests on the same scale as Tiananmen, there have been scattered grassroots protests against the government's refusal to reverse its official verdict that the 1989 demonstrations constituted a "counter revolutionary rebellion." June 4-related activist groups such as the Tiananmen Mothers, a high-profile group of those who lost their loved ones during the crackdown, have become a thorn in the Chinese leadership's side. And pro-democracy activists inside China continually cite public dissatisfaction with the massacre in their campaign against Communist rule.
     June 4 remains a lightning rod for all manner of grievances in China, and the leadership seems to realize it is an issue they cannot avoid for much longer. That's why they have begun experimenting with ways of settling the issue that have a minimum of political repercussions. Zhou's case shows every sign of being a trial balloon in this respect. It offers the advantage of being a low-profile incident, far from Beijing, and not representative of the majority of the Tiananmen-related deaths, which occurred at the hands of soldiers, rather than the police. Although his mother, Tang Deying, has spent the past 17 years fighting for justice, she is not affiliated with the Tiananmen Mothers.
     Such paltry payouts will not satisfy most of the Chinese public, let alone other victims' families. Truth cannot be bought with money, nor compensation substituted for justice. There's no way the Zhou family can be said to have received justice when the government has not publicized the truth surrounding their son's death, or offered any kind of apology.
     Any genuine attempt to resolve the June 4 issue will have to go much further. A good first step would be for the government to engage in a dialogue on equal terms with representatives of the victims' families, and launch an independent investigation to reveal the truth regarding June 4. In addition, the government needs to openly acknowledge its mistakes, redress its official verdict on the 1989 protests, apologize to the victims and the people of China, pay proper compensation to the victims and their families, and bring criminal charges against the perpetrators.
     That's far more than the Chinese government can be expected to do on its own initiative anytime soon. However I still hope it can be slowly forced in this direction by China's growing civil society. The outcry over the beating to death of university student Sun Zhigang in a Guangzhou detention center in 2003 offers an encouraging example of what public pressure in China can now sometimes achieve. Sun was detained by Chinese police under a widely abused system that formerly allowed government officials to detain almost anyone for any reason. Once reports of his death leaked out and spread around the country on the Internet, pressure from angry citizens forced the government to finally scrap this system.
     That's an example of a new and increasingly powerful grassroots phenomenon in China, online activists using the Internet as a force for exposing human-rights abuses. I have personal experience of this since, despite the constant threat of persecution and being watched over by police, I can use email and the Internet to have articles such as this published overseas.
     Hopefully the Internet can play a similar role in publicizing the payout to Zhou's family and putting pressure on the government to finally resolve the June 4 issue. Now would be an opportune moment to do so. Most of the senior leaders who orchestrated the killings have either died or are out of power. None of the current senior leaders has any connections with the massacre. Even former Premier Li Peng, one of the perpetrators of Tiananmen massacre, has been repeatedly reported to be writing a book, in an attempt to clear his name.
     That offers cause for encouragement that it is only a matter of time before today's leaders realize that reversing the official verdict on the 1989 protests, and dealing with the perpetrators of the June 4 massacre, is the best way for the country to move forward.
     Mr. Liu is a Chinese dissident and literary critic living in Beijing. (博讯记者:蔡楚) (博讯 boxun.com)
  • 刘晓波:六四的赔偿正义—六四十七年祭(图)
  • 刘晓波:抗议济南市警方对孙文广教授的非法传讯
  • 刘晓波:樱花的中国劫难(图)
  • 吴钊燮vs刘晓波对谈
  • 刘晓波:末日的贪婪和疯狂—有感于郭飞雄被殴事件
  • 刘晓波:没有记忆 没有历史 没有未来—为北京“文学与记忆”研讨会而作
  • 刘晓波:明亮的冰点和阴暗的官权—读李大同公开信有感
  • 著名异见作家刘晓波和天安门母亲丁子霖准祭赵紫阳
  • 刘晓波:唯色的信仰和中共的无神(旧文重发)
  • 丁子霖、刘晓波等:关于广东汕尾市东洲血案的声明(开放签名)
  • 刘晓波等公开信追究番禺官员责任
  • 《二进灵堂,我代刘晓波、张伟国痛悼紫阳》(修订稿)(图)
  • 刘晓波:中共的独裁爱国主义
  • 刘晓波:李敖在清华为“盛世”高歌
  • 陈奎德:筚路蓝缕 以启山林—刘晓波《未来的自由中国在民间》序
  • 刘晓波:李敖在清华为“盛世”高歌
  • 刘晓波:李敖不过是统战玩具
  • 刘晓波:中国媒体中的美国飓风
  • 刘晓波:李熬在北大如何摸老虎屁股?
  • 刘晓波: 三岁李思怡之死拷问灵魂
  • 刘晓波:为了饭碗和公正--简评大庆辽阳等地的工潮
  • 吕柏林: 农民有福利吗?──为刘晓波的“农民福利说”注脚
  • 刘晓波:六四暗夜中的百合花——六四十七周年祭
  • 博讯特稿-太黑了:杀人无罪 维权有罪/刘晓波
  • 刘晓波:惠及公益和未来的不朽
  • 刘晓波:从杨天水重刑到禁言文革
  • 刘晓波:毛泽东的红卫兵也爱金条
  • 刘晓波:以由衷的谦卑向遇罗克致意—纪念文革四十周年(图)
  • 刘晓波:文革从来没有结束
  • 刘晓波:被上帝驯服的恺撒 被信仰征服权力—狱中读书笔记
  • 刘晓波:毛泽东的传统与反传统/博讯特稿
  • 刘晓波:涨价听证会就是合法抢劫会
  • 刘晓波:禁言文革浩劫是另一场浩劫
  • 刘晓波:制度性的“为富不仁”
  • 刘晓波:独裁崛起对世界民主化的负面效应
  • 刘晓波:如何对待权贵私有化的“制度性原罪”/博讯特稿
  • 刘晓波:无视私有产权的五四传统—以胡适为例
  • 刘晓波:谁是公共资产流失的首要祸魁
  • 刘晓波:我的人身自由在十几分钟内被剥夺—写在劳改基金会主办“苏联的古拉格和中国的劳改”国际研讨会即将召开之际
  • 刘晓波:关于自由的论证
  • 刘晓波:西雅图的笑脸和华盛顿的板脸(图)


    All rights reserved
    声明:博讯由编辑、义务留学生、学者维护,如有版权问题,请联系我们。另外,欢迎其他媒体 转载博讯文章,为尊重作者的辛勤劳动以及所承担风险,尊重博讯广大义务人士的奉献,请转载时注明来源和作者。