Press Release — HRF to China: Allow Families to Mourn the Massacred Students of Tiananmen


Human Rights Foundation (HRF) calls on the Chinese government to end the impunity of Chinese officials involved in the killing of prodemocracy activists during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. HRF also calls on the government to stop harassing the families and friends of the deceased students. June 4 marks 27 years since the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on peaceful student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

“For decades, China’s dictatorial regime has avoided responsibility for the mass murder of these young, peaceful student protesters. The Communist Party has tried to erase the massacre from its history by omitting the event from history books and ignoring international calls for justice,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “We will not cease in our calls to end the impunity of perpetrators and for an official accounting of the victims,” he added.

In the spring of 1989, 1.2 million protesters gathered in the iconic public square to call for democratic reforms in China. The Chinese government, then led by Li Peng, sanctioned martial law. On June 3 and 4, troops and tanks rolled through the square, killing from 400 to 3,000 protesters. The exact number of casualties remains unknown due to a lack of reliable reporting and an official account of the killings. The June 4 massacre continues to be referred to as “political turmoil” in official briefings.

The Chinese government has failed to acknowledge the massacre, issue an apology or even allow for an independent investigation around the historic crackdown. Family members of those who were killed at the protests have not been allowed to mourn their loved ones at Tiananmen Square. According to news reports, dozens of activists were placed under house arrest last week for planning events to remember the massacred students.

“The Tiananmen Square Massacre showed the post-Mao communist regime’s continued determination to kill large numbers of Chinese people to suppress dissent,” said Halvorssen. “HRF will continue to support those who long for freedom and democracy in the world’s most populous dictatorship,” he concluded.

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Read this release in Chinese here.