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  • Documents on Democracy

China

The U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus held a special session in early June commemorating the first anniversary of China's brutal crackdown on prodemocracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. The featured speaker at the session was Chai Ling, a leader of the Beijing University Independent Student Union and a principal coordinator of the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. After leading survivors of the massacre to safety on the morning of 4 June 1989, Chai Ling and her husband Feng Congde went into hiding, They eluded Chinese security forces for the next ten months and then escaped to the West. The following are excerpts from Chai Ling's statement at a press conference prior to her appearance before the Human Rights Caucus:

One year ago yesterday, the killing began in Tiananmen Square. The Massacre ended the peaceful demonstration that had lasted for over fifty days. For fifty days, we peacefully presented to our government our hopes and dreams for China. The government responded with martial law, tear gas, bullets, and tanks.

The major theme of the democracy movement last year was peace. The highest principle of peace is sacrifice. The people in China, indeed all over the world, were inspired by our belief in peace, and our willingness to make sacrifices for peace . . . .

One year ago, when the tanks came into Tiananmen Square, the students were simply sitting there, facing the tanks peacefully. Outside the Square, thousands of people blocked the tanks with their bodies. Their weapons were not guns, but human dignity. But that is the most powerful weapon that people can have. That night, it took four to five hours for the tanks to move one hundred meters forward . . . .

Today we see all over China passive resistance against the government. Since people no longer believe in the government, it has lost its legitimacy. This resistance is very strong among workers and [End Page 138] peasants. In the ten months of hiding, it was the ordinary Chinese people who helped me, sheltered me, fed me, and helped me to escape.

In my journey, I discovered a great number of people were listening to [Voice of America and British Broadcasting Corporation radio programs]. The people of China know the truth. They see the government without its skin. They see the evil, and feel the fear of the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

After the massacre in Tiananmen Square, the government of China can never be the same. During last year's democracy movement, the majority of government officials were sympathetic and supportive of the students and peaceful demonstrators. Now some of them are helping us to escape. These officials are just like us, eager for freedom and democracy.

And the society of China can never be the same. Today the underground resistance organizations are still alive. They are careful and waiting, but alive and determined . . . .

Today as I stand in freedom, under the protection of democratic governments, I plead to the people of the world that you must not forget those who gave up their lives for freedom and democracy. Please listen to the cries of China's prisons and the voices of students, workers, and peasants who are still deprived of basic human rights . . . .

And I say to the governments of the world, do not look at the Chinese people with "old eyes," for the people of China have been emboldened in their quest for freedom. The struggle for justice is deeply felt by the Chinese people. It is not imported from abroad. It is deeply rooted in our own culture and history. It is our political leaders who now resist this idea.

Cameroon

In late February 1990, a group of political activists, including Yondo Black, a prominent member of the Cameroon Bar Association (CBA), were placed in detention by the government for attempting to organize an opposition political party. At a special session of the CBA on 27 March 1990, the association's president, Bernard A. Muna, delivered an address on behalf of the detainees, excerpts from which follow:

Whether we like it or not, there are questions raised by this incident that concern the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, the International Charter of Human...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 138-141
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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