On April 15, 1989, Chinese students and citizens from all over the mainland assembled in front of Tiananmen Square to engage in demonstrations criticizing and seeking accountability from the ruling Chinese Communist Party. While the students and assembled groups varied in their demands and concerns, they were unanimous in their demand for democratization, greater government accountability as well as expansions on the freedom of the press and speech. Instead of meeting and conceding to these demands, the State Council ordered the mass murder of the demonstrators on June 4, 1989, thirty years past to the date today.
To this day, the casualty count of the event varies. While official Chinese government estimates would continue to downplay the statistics, independent witnesses worldwide would in fact place the number between several hundred and close to 1,000 dead—mostly students and workers. The results of this massacre and the political paranoia that rippled throughout society halted any further attempts at democratizing Chinese society, turning it into the totalitarian society it is today. Any oppressive action that the Beijing politburo has taken under the panoptic eye of President Xi Jinping owes its existence since to the events of Tiananmen.
Whether the Chinese government will ever own up to its responsibility or not, the event continues to be a grim and bloody stain on the history of the Chinese Communist Party. Originally a movement forged for the liberation of the Chinese people from Western and Japanese imperialism, it has transmogrified itself in the 20th century into one of the biggest imperialist, capitalist, and human rights-violating power in Asia. They would even rather consign this event to the vagueness of historical amnesia, labelling it the June Fourth Incident (Chinese: 六四事件, liùsì shìjiàn).
The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), together with social movements within the Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa (KALIPUNAN) signed below, remembers this day with reflection, continuing outrage and heartfelt solidarity to the families of its victims (still yet to achieve justice). We take inspiration and recognition of the sacrifices of these Chinese youth, workers and citizens, who chose to hope for a freer and more equal Chinese society—and whose dreams were brutally crushed under heel of a government and party who lost its mandate and priorities.
Furthermore, we express solidarity for a rising generation of awakened Chinese citizens, including those who are in prison and in exile, who know the kind of oppressive society they live in and would continue to risk confronting the heavy-handed state machineries head-on—all in the name of a democratic and less-stratified Chinese society. That our values and aspirations coincide in opposition to a dictatorial government (the very same one that supports the dictatorial and death-dealing regime of the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte) only shows the historical legacy we share and seek to live up to.
Let it be clear: the problem is the authoritarian regime of Xi Jin Ping and his Party that continues to centralize power, enrich their partisans, while keeping its citizens and neighbours under its heel; not the Chinese people.
The Chinese Communist Party would rather we forget those who fell in 1989. But not us; never us. This time, we have to ensure that the international working peoples and social movements will stand behind the Chinese people as they struggle to let not only a hundred, but millions of flowers bloom in China.
Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa (KALIPUNAN)
Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)
Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN)