a Chinese Gorbachev
And more China Support Network news as
we prepare to commemorate the 20th anniversary
of the Tiananmen Square massacre
The Ghost of Zhao Ziyang, a Chinese Gorbachev
Posthumously, a deceased leader is projecting his presence into this year's observances. Twenty years ago today, former Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang was last seen in public. He was refusing to call out the military to deal with the student-led pro-democracy movement. He was in fact a reformer, and he had just lost a power struggle within the top echelons of the Communist Party. The hardliners such as Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng pushed him out, and on May 19 they were preparing the announcement of martial law. Zhao Ziyang went to Tiananmen Square and spoke to students with a bullhorn. He was apologetic, saying "We have come too late," and he urged the students to end their hunger strike and to care for their own safety.
Zhao Ziyang spent the rest of his life -- sixteen years -- under house arrest. He died in 2005 and that caused the China Support Network to raise its estimate, from 3,000 dead to 3,001 dead in the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Now in 2009, his memoirs are being published. This leads to a new view of the history of the Communist Party at that time. "Prisoner of the State" is the book now being published in English, based on voice narration that was furtively recorded by Zhao onto cassette tapes during his time of house arrest. The publication of these memoirs is being supervised by Bao Tong, who was an aide to Zhao and who spent time in jail after the crackdown. Bao Tong is a famous Chinese dissident himself.
Speaking to the Epoch Times, Bao asserted that Zhao "believed China should adopt a western style parliamentary democracy. I believe this is his most important conclusion."
The publication of Zhao's book has already led to much comment in Western mainstream media, including CNN and the neoconservative Washington Post. In its preface, Harvard Business Review editor in chief Adi Ignatius says, "It is the first time that a leader of Zhao's stature in China has spoken frankly about life at the top. He provides an intimate look at one of the world's most opaque regimes. We learn about the triumphs and failures, the boasts and insecurities, of the man who tried to bring liberal change to China, and who made every effort to stop the Tiananmen Massacre."
He concludes, "Although Zhao now speaks from the grave, his voice has the moral power to make China sit up and listen."
Another Prisoner of the State: Zhou Yongjun
Last week in China, the family of Tiananmen Square student leader Zhou Yongjun received official notification by the government that Zhou is arrested and charged with trumped-up charges. This notice, which the law requires immediately upon arrest, came after the regime held Zhou secretly for seven and a half months.
It was also in the news recently that another leading Chinese dissident, Yang Jianli, was turned back as he attempted to enter China at Hong Kong. Authorities held him for two hours and then put him on a plane back to Taipei, Taiwan. The difference between these two cases is striking. Both are Chinese dissidents, attempting to enter China. In the case of Yang, he wanted to meet with activists based in Hong Kong, to coordinate the movement's observances of Tiananmen Square's 20th anniversary, which is upcoming on June 4, 2009. In the case of Zhou, he wanted to visit his aging and ailing parents. Yang was politely turned back at the point of entry; Zhou was grabbed by authorities, thrown in the slammer, held secretly without charges, and perhaps tortured during seven and a half months. And now, the regime has charged Zhou and threatens to keep him as a political prisoner for the third time.
The difference between these two cases, and the weak response of the U.S. State Department, led to a "Special Comment" by John Kusumi, the founder of the China Support Network. In the Special Comment, he scolds both of the governments -- Beijing and Washington -- who are mishandling the case of Zhou Yongjun. He nominates all U.S. Presidents from the time of Tiananmen Square to the present to be featured on a "Mount Rushmore of Corruption," because the U.S. executive branch never replied to the atrocity of mass murder in Beijing. And, he calls for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign.
Beijing and Washington are "two emperors with no clothes between them," Kusumi asserted. One can read his Special Comment at OpEd News by visiting http://tinyurl.com/p79ugp
During the past week, reports about Zhou Yongjun written by Reuters, the New York Times, AFP, the AP, DPA, and the London Telegraph were picked up and republished in hundreds of news outlets around the world.
Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of June 4
Plans are shaping up for the China Support Network and the Chinese democracy movement to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bloody massacre as occurred in Beijing to stop the Tiananmen Square movement. Every city with a Chinese embassy or consulate is likely to see vigils and protests on June 3 and June 4.
Hong Kong has four upcoming events. The march on May 31 and the vigil on June 4 are likely to be the largest public gatherings among those slated.
• “Reflections on June 4: 20 Years On” Forum (May 24, 2009)
• Public Calls for the Rectification of the June 4 Verdict (May 29 and June 4, 2009)
• Demonstration to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of June 4 (May 31, 2009)
• Candlelight Vigil for the 20th Anniversary of June 4 (June 4, 2009)
Washington DC has three related events.
• A Washington Monument vigil, on Saturday May 30 from 6-9pm (photo exhibit in the first hour, music in the second hour, speeches in the third hour).
• IFCSS, China Support Network, and others hold a vigil at the Victims of Communism Memorial, Wednesday June 3 from 7-10pm.
• Yang Jianli's Initiatives for China holds a rally at the U.S. Capitol in the morning of Thursday June 4.
The Wednesday, June 3 event will include a speech by CSN's John Kusumi, and an appearance by the rock band Light Club, performing rock music that was written for the Chinese democracy cause.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been invited to both the June 3 and June 4 events. She has previously appeared at events organized by both groups.
Related web sites:
Hong Kong www.alliance.org.hk/english
Washington Monument www.remember64.org
China Support Network www.chinasupport.net
Initiatives for China www.initiativesforchina.org
Note that, in recent times, the Initiatives for China website has been inaccessible and reported hacker attacks. The URL is included because it may be fixed by the time you read this.