The Democracy Movement since 1989

Global Voices translates excerpts of presentations by intellectuals who gathered in Beijing to discuss the past twenty years of the democracy movement, posted by Oiwan Lam. The seminar started with a moment of silence, paying tribute to the Tiananmen Mothers:

During the last mother’s Day weekend on May 10th, a number of intellectuals in Beijing organized a seminar discussing 20 years of the democracy movement in China. This is a very significant event in breaking the long silence among intellectuals on the June 4th student movement, as well as in countering the official position on the incident as a ‘riot.’

The speeches at the conference were published online in the past few days via China in Perspective. An anonymous article on ‘China in Perspective’ gives a detailed account of the discussions in the seminar.

There were about 19 participants in the seminar, including: Xu Youyu (徐友渔), Mo Zhixu (莫之许)、Cui Weiping (崔卫平), Hao Jian (郝建), Xu Xiao (徐晓), Zhou Duo (周舵), Liang Xiaoyan (梁晓燕), Qin Hui (秦晖), Guo Yuhua (郭于华), Li Hai (李海), Liu Zili (刘自立), Qian Liqun (钱理群), Teng Biao (滕彪), Tian Xiaoqing (田晓青), Wang Junxiu (王俊秀), Xu Yinong (许医农), 、Yan Yusheng (殷玉生), Zhang Boshu (张博树) and Zhang Yaojie (张耀杰). The seminar began with 3 minutes silence showing the participants’ respect for the Tiananmen mothers and the victims of the June 4th incident.


… Cui Weiping pointed out that the collective silence on the June 4 Incident has demoralized our society and it is now time to end that silence:


On the 20th anniversary of June 4, I would like to publicize this letter and raise these questions to all my friends: What are the negative impacts we have bought on our society because of our silence in the past 20 years? What harm has such silence done to our national spirit and morality? How has it affected our work and our lives? Can we still keep such a silence?


This secrecy is poisoning the environment and atmosphere around us and affecting our life and spirit. When we choose to moderate our comments to avoid trouble we are actually conspiring in covering up the truth, aligning with the Government and participating in their power game. Even if we did not directly cause the bloody crime 20 years ago, the fact that we have been silent for all these years for whatever reason makes us complicit in the incident.