Washington Declaration on the 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre
June 4, 2019
Thirty years ago, the year 1989 marked the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, the 70th anniversary of China’s May Fourth Movement, and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In that year, stormy clouds gathered over the city of Beijing and an unprecedented confrontation between the spirit of freedom and the autocratic regime unfolded. Several million college students and citizens from all walks of life filled the vast Tiananmen Square and tens of millions more demonstrated in several hundred cities across China. Like sparks that quickly ignited a wildfire, a massive spiritual uprising in the form of peaceful petition, which had hitherto not been seen in the entire history of China, began to form. This democratic movement, which originated in Beijing but soon swept the entire country, marked the most significant turning point since the beginning of China’s civilization. It was the prelude to the disintegration of the Soviet Empire, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the removal of the Iron Curtain that had confined Eastern European countries for decades. It also led to the end of the Cold War and the beginning of globalization.
After repeated setbacks for the promotion of political and social reform in China’s modern era, a brand new prospect, which was all the brighter, emerged from the horizon.
Despite the overwhelming support for the student protesters among the Chinese people, the octogenarian hardliners within the Communist Party of China (CPC) called in the People’s Liberation Army. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers, armed with tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters, rolled into Beijing from several directions and committed the horrendous massacre that stunned the entire world. In the wake of the atrocity, China’s government-run TV station incessantly broadcasted the most-wanted list of student leaders, tens of thousands of protesters were arrested and imprisoned, and at least several hundred activists were forced into exile.
The light of freedom was brutally put out and the soul of democracy was once more banished from the land of China.
The visit of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, focused the world’s attention on Beijing at a time when the spirit of China’s democracy movement was spreading rapidly across much of the world. Communist regimes in the Baltics, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, and Mongolia collapsed one after another. Eventually, the hammer and sickle that had been flying high over the Kremlin for more than 70 years came down in humiliation. The year 1989 proclaimed that communism is a shackle decorated with flowers and freedom trumps everything else. The peaceful demonstrations in China greatly encouraged the people of the communist countries; condemnation and sanctions from the international community shook the faith of panicking General Secretaries. Communism, both as a fantasy and as an existing social system, ended in a historic bankruptcy worldwide.
The 1989 democracy movement in China sounded the death knell for communism.
In 1989, to pay tribute to the Chinese people, France, the cradle of European Enlightenment, arranged for the Chinese parading squadron to march through the Arc de Triomphe at the head of the country’s 200th National Day Anniversary parade, holding high gigantic signs of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” in Chinese characters. In 2007, Washington DC, witnessed the erection of the Monument to the Victims of Communism, a duplicate of the torch-holding Goddess of Democracy that student protesters put up in Tiananmen Square.
In the wake of the crackdown on June 4th, 1989, the CPC kept a low profile while seeking to join the World Trade Organization in an attempt to reinvigorate the red empire by combining mercantilism and controlled market economy with political totalitarianism and opposition to human rights. As a result, a new and more ambitious communist power, supported by a greedy and arrogant red aristocracy, emerged on the world’s stage.
As is described in an ancient Chinese poem, “Although the grass of the prairie is burned out by a wildfire, it will burst into life again when the spring breeze returns to the land.” Having witnessed the tragic ending of China’s pro-democracy protest, history will welcome the glorious homecoming of the Torch of Freedom and Beacon of Democracy. Today, we, the participants, witnesses, survivors, and international supporters of the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement, solemnly gather in the capital of the free world to reaffirm our allegiance to the noble cause of democracy and freedom and jointly issue this "Washington Declaration on the 30th Anniversary of the June 4th Massacre.”
We pray for the hundreds and possibly thousands of massacre victims who laid down their lives for China’s democracy and freedom.
We pray for “Tiananmen Mothers” whose courage and indomitable spirit are providing unremitting inspiration for the freedom-loving people of China and the world.
We thank the strong and unwavering support from the United States, Europe, Oceania, and free countries in Asia; we are grateful for the solidarity shown by the people of the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries who had undergone the same ordeal under communist regimes before regaining their freedom; and we will never forget the love and brotherhood of our fellow Chinese descendants in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and other parts of the world.
For us, having the opportunity to participate in the 1989 Democracy Movement was the greatest honor and the blessing of a lifetime.
Today, with our hands on our chests, witnessed by the heaven and the earth, we make a pledge that has been taking shape in our minds for 30 years.
We feel called upon to enter into a covenant with our motherland.
We are convinced that once the CPC’s rule is over and the free Sun rises from Tiananmen Square, a brand new China will come forth. This will be a free, democratic, and constitutional republic; a benevolent, courteous, magnanimous, and noble society; an oriental fortress of peace and civilization; a staunch ally standing side by side with the free world to overcome the world’s challenges; and an industrious and indispensable contributor to the conscience and civilization of humanity.
We do wish to enter into a covenant with “the Tiananmen Generation.”
Confucius said: “When a man reaches fifty, he will know his heavenly mandate." Our heavenly mandate is to continue to promote constitutional democracy by drawing lessons and experience from China's century-old transformation into a modern society, to end Marxism-Leninism's conquest of China and the rule by communist totalitarianism, and to establish the world's largest democratic republic that is a combination of traditional Chinese virtues and the universal values of humanity, a republic that is impossible to reverse and undermine.
We do wish to say a few words to today’s college students.
We firmly believe that you are not only our next generation by blood, but also the logical successors of the spirit of the 1989 Democracy Movement. You will shoulder the task of building a free and democratic China. Your awakening will make China a new country. You will be directly involved in the fight to eradicate the last hegemonic empire of tyranny on earth.
We do wish to say a few words to China’s intellectuals.
Without you there would not have been pro-democracy protests. Sadly, today’s Chinese intellectuals have largely lost the courage and sense of responsibility demonstrated by the previous generation 30 years ago. You have been marginalized and now succumb to cynicism. The 19th century Chinese poet Gong Zizhen once said: "When all the intellectuals know shame, the country will never be subject to shame. If the intellectuals do not know shame, then the country should really feel ashamed." We would like to covenant with you to remember and live by these words.
We do wish to say a few words to China’s workers and peasants.
In China you are the largest group of “the insulted and the injured” and find yourselves at the very bottom of the hierarchy established by the CPC. We hope that you will follow the example of the Polish working people to organize China’s “Solidarity” trade union and we will be your faithful allies.
We do wish to say a few words to China’s private entrepreneurs.
You know better than anyone else that you have never enjoyed legal protection and independence. Your assets are the most insecure assets under the sun. The Beijing regime, which aims at "eliminating private ownership," can take away all your assets overnight. Your most sensible choice is to leave the Communist China now and stay away until the establishment of a free, democratic China, which will welcome your return to the motherland.
We do wish to appeal to the military, the police, and others who serve in the communist state security apparatus.
In 1989, seven PLA generals, including Zhang Aiping, Ye Fei, and Xiao Ke, wrote a joint letter to the Central Military Commission of the CPC, which stressed that the military should not fire upon the people and become a tool in a massacre of civilians. Even more remarkable, the commander of the 38th infantry corps, major general Xu Qinxian, and some other military officers refused to carry out the order to fire upon unarmed citizens and set a shining example for fellow PLA officers and soldiers. In contrast, Liu Huaqing, Chi Haotian, Ai Husheng, and other commanders of the Capital Martial Law Forces will be tried at the tribunal of history. We appeal to you not to fire upon the people who nurtured you and, in answering the call of history, turn the muzzles of your guns towards the enemy of the people.
We do have a stern warning for the communist authorities.
You built the country under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and established a Stalinist political system, which led to the enormous loss of innocent lives. You are the worst regime in Chinese history and have brought shame to the Chinese nation. The “June 4th Massacre” was one of the many heinous crimes you committed against China. Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng, Chen Yun, Yang Shangkun, Wang Zhen, Bo Yibo, Yao Yilin, and other 1989 Beijing Massacre perpetrators - dead or alive - shall not be allowed to escape justice.
The Xi Jinping clique is the reincarnation of evil. However, considering that Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang were once leaders within the CPC and that after all we share the same ancestors, we want to warn you that with little time left, you must publicly admit to your crimes to the Chinese people by publishing a self indictment and giving up your illegitimate rule, otherwise Nicolae Ceaușescu shall be your example.
Finally, we want to hold ourselves to the following pledge.
Thirty years ago, inspired by patriotism and idealism, deciding that we "would rather disappoint our parents than not live up to our social responsibility," we dedicated our youth, innocence, blood, and tears to the 1989 Democracy Movement.
All the prices we have paid for freedom, independence, and democracy shall not be in vain; all the setbacks, sufferings, and loss of lives that were imposed upon us shall not be wasted. The sense of responsibility, morality and courage, the spirit of freedom, and the ideal of democracy demonstrated by the 1989 protesters blazed a rough but hopeful trail to freedom for the Chinese people who have been oppressed, exploited, and persecuted. Today, with deep conviction, we pledge to the heavens and the earth that as long as the tyranny and totalitarian rule by the CPC are not over, we will persist in our endeavor and sacrifice without regret. We are willing to work tirelessly like the legendary bird Jingwei to end the tribulations of our people – until the sun of freedom rises over China.
Today, reflecting upon the 1989 crackdown and the CPC’s records of the past thirty years, we cannot but conclude: the CPC has become the most corrupt, most predatory, most reactionary, and most hypocritical ruling clique in human history and China has become the center of dictatorship, barbarianism, and terrorism.
Therefore, we hereby solemnly declare:
The Communist Party of China has become a public enemy of the Chinese people and seriously threatens world peace and civilization.
The legitimacy of the CPC’s rule has been depleted and to end its tyranny is our unwavering goal.
The free spirit and heroic dedication exhibited by the Chinese people in their pursuit of democracy have acquired a universal and historic significance.
Therefore, let us resume, arm in arm, the heaven-mandated journey to fulfill our arduous but glorious mission.
We shall prevail.