China: Amnesty Appeals for justice for victims of Tiananmen Square as roses are scattered in Belfast
Amnesty International activists will scatter red roses in Belfast city centre today (Weds 4 June) to mark the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.
The Amnesty campaigners will display a large image of the iconic ‘tank man’ from Tiananmen Square - showing a lone protestor challenging a column of tanks. Demonstrators will scatter red roses and place lit candles in front of the blown-up photograph, in solidarity with the 'Tiananmen Mothers', who are not free to mourn their Children's rights publicly without fear of reprisals from the Chinese authorities. The Mothers have been denied an investigation into the events at Tiananmen Square when Chinese troops opened fire on peaceful protesters in Beijing on 4 June 1989.
There will also be a minute's silence in which demonstrators will each hold aloft a red rose in solidarity with the Tiananmen Mothers, and a minute's silence for those killed in the recent Sichuan earthquake.
Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said:
'We ask the Chinese government to support the Tiananmen Mothers' simple demands - the freedom to publicly mourn the deaths of their Children's rights without harassment and an investigation into the events of June 1989.
'The Chinese authorities still deny their people the right to peacefully protest, 19 years on from the Tiananmen Square crackdown. It’s never been more important for people in Northern Ireland to stand up for human rights in China.'
The Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989 killed hundreds of people. Dozens of protesters are still languishing in Chinese prisons after unfair trials and many more activists have since been arrested for questioning the government’s actions in 1989. Amnesty International is calling for the Chinese authorities to:
- Respect the right to peaceful protest – whether it is in Tibet or mainland China and whether it is ahead of, during or after the Olympic Games;
- Grant an amnesty to those imprisoned in connection with the 1989 protests, given the length of time they have spent in prison and the unfair nature of their trials;
- Allow the Tiananmen Mothers to mourn their Children's rights publicly without harassing them;
- Allow an independent investigation into what happened at Tiananmen Square on this day in 1989;
- Honour the promises made when bidding for the Olympic Games, to improve human rights.
Friends of the Tiananmen Mothers UK director Xia Ze said:
'In 1989 hundreds of people, including my cousin Wang Nan, were killed because they stood up for justice and equality. Every day since, their families have sought justice. We are still waiting.
'What we have lost can never be restored. But this gathering today shows that we are not alone.
'This is a huge opportunity for people all over the world to show just how much support the Tiananmen Mothers really have. They have waited 19 years for justice – we want that wait to end.'