The Uyghur American Association honors the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre
by The Uyghur American Association
The Uyghur American Association (UAA) expresses unequivocal support for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989. UAA calls upon the Chinese government to embrace democratic reforms and respect the rights of all Chinese citizens. Until the Chinese government provides a full and fair account of the events of June 4, there will be no foundation for the pursuit of freedom and democracy in China today.
"Xi Jinping and the new leadership of China need to wake up to the fact that without a public acknowledgement of the Chinese Communist Party's responsibility for the killing of innocent students and workers on Tiananmen Square in June 1989, the Chinese government will never find genuine stability in the nation over which they rule. This also applies to the brutality it has shown to Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs who have also fallen victim to the guns of the Chinese authorities," said UAA President Alim Seyoff in a statement from Washington, DC. "Heavy censorship in the media and online of terms associated with government suppression of legitimate protests in China can never whitewash the truth behind the events on June 4, 1989 in Beijing, February 5, 1997 in Ghulja, July 5, 2009 in Urumchi, in May 2011 in Southern Mongolia and March 2008 in Lhasa."
In the build up to the June 4 anniversary in 2013, the Chinese government placed tight restrictions on any online reference to the massacre. Reporting in the Christian Science Monitor, Beijing Bureau Chief, Peter Ford noted: "Indeed 'today' was one of the banned words on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. If you searched for it, you were told that 'according to relevant laws, regulations, and policies, the results cannot be shown'…Since the government ruled the demonstrations 'counter-revolutionary' no Chinese language newspaper has ever recalled them, no Chinese leader has ever referred to them, and citizens are not allowed to remember them."
In the immediate aftermath of unrest in Urumchi on July 5, 2009, Chinese government authorities initiated the world's longest-running Internet blackout throughout East Turkestan, which, together with the blockage of international phone calls and cell phone text messages, effectively prevented information from leaving the area. This has left the world with scant information about the unrest besides the Chinese government version.
In a statement dated May 31, 2013 regarding the Tiananmen Massacre, the U.S. State Department said: "The 24th anniversary of the violent suppression of demonstrations in Tiananmen Square on June 4 prompts the United States to remember this tragic loss of innocent lives. We renew our call for the Chinese Government to end harassment of those who participated in the protests and fully account for those killed, detained, or missing."
UAA urges the entire international community to continue its support for democratic reform, respect for human rights and government accountability in China symbolized by the sacrifice of the Tiananmen protestors. Chinese government suppression of its citizens' human rights must not be airbrushed from history either through expediency or the passage of time.The preamble to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." This statement on the universality of human rights applies as much to the authoritarian governments of 2013 as it did to the community of nations post-World War Two.