Coalition Statement on June Fourth 六四32週年聯合聲明
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 pro-democracy movement and the June Fourth massacre. We honour the memory of all those who rallied for democracy in 1989, many of whom were murdered or jailed. As always, we stand firmly with Tiananmen Mothers, supporting their demands for truth, accountability, and justice for victims.
The largest June Fourth commemoration vigil used to take place in Hong Kong. However, since 2020 the Hong Kong government has used the pretext of the pandemic to crack down on public commemoration of the events. There are concerns that future commemorations may be banned. We have also seen the adoption of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which has led to the imprisonment of more than a hundred outstanding political activists. Dozens of citizens who participated in the June Fourth vigil last year have been charged, four of whom have been sentenced to up to 10 months in prison. Many Hong Kongers will continue to face trials for participating in peaceful assembly. A trial of leading democracy activists on charges of ‘subversion’ under the National Security Law is in progress as we write. They include leading trade unionists, Carol Ng and Winnie Yu, who face possible long prison sentences. We stand in solidarity with them.
In the Uyghur region, the Chinese state is imposing brutal repression and committing atrocities. Two independent legal analyses have found that these amount to crimes against humanity and genocide, which have been formally recognised by multiple governments. Up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples have been interned in concentration camps, along with nearly one million children taken from their families and interned in supposed ‘boarding schools’. Over half a million are subject to forced labour from which both Chinese and Western companies profit. State policies targeting Uyghur women, including mass forced contraception and sterilisation, have caused the sharpest drop in births anywhere in the world since 1950. These atrocities, along with forced cultural and linguistic assimilation, are a calculated attempt to destroy the Uyghur nation.
Forced Sinicization is also taking place in other so-called autonomous regions under Xi Jinping’s ‘cultural nationalist’ policies. Southern Mongolians are being deprived of the right to learn in their mother tongue as the Chinese language is made the medium of instruction in schools. This has led to large-scale public protests and subsequent crackdown. In addition to the cultural genocide, Tibetans are facing a campaign of heavy repression leading Freedom House to list Tibet as the second least-free place in the world, alongside Syria, in its annual ranking on political rights and civil liberties. Long-term plundering of Tibetan land and mineral resources has caused large-scale environmental damage on the Tibetan Plateau, affecting hundreds of millions of people in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
We call on the UK government to recognise its duty to offer safe haven to all people fleeing repression and violence. The narrow BNO (British National Overseas) scheme offers safety only to Hong Kongers, and among them, only those fortunate enough to have particular documents and the ability to pay exorbitant fees. The UK government must drop its current plans to further restrict asylum rights as these will severely impact people fleeing religious and political persecution such as that experienced across China. Instead, the UK must offer safety, security and equality to all asylum seekers.
We campaign for Magnitsky sanctions on those in the Chinese leadership involved in gross human rights abuses, and for action against all companies, including British businesses, that are complicit in the repression in the Uyghur Region, Tibet, Hong Kong and other territories ruled by the PRC.
Democracy and civil liberties that students and workers fought for in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago are yet to be won in China. Neither are these fundamental values and human rights invulnerable to erosion in democratic countries. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us a lesson: the world is small and we are all connected. No one is free until everyone is free. The rights to freedom of assembly and protest that we have enjoyed in the UK will remain a privilege until people in other parts of the world can all enjoy the same rights, and here too we must fight against increasing limitations on these rights. Liberty and equality are intertwined. National self-determination is closely connected to international struggles. Emancipation can only be achieved by forming solidarity with oppressed peoples all over the world.
Chinese Solidarity Campaign
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