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.

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… 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:

在“六·四”二十周年之际,我愿意公布这封信,向周围所有朋友提出这样的问题:二十年来的沉默和隐瞒,给我们社会带来的负面影响是什么?给我们民族的精神和道德带来怎样的损害?而我们自己在工作、生活中所受的损失又是什么?我们还打算继续沉默吗?

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?

这个秘密实际上象一种毒素一样毒化着我们身处其中的周围的空气,影响我们全部的生活和精神。当我们选择阻力最小的那些方面释放自己的能量时,实际上我们都被迫参与了隐瞒真相,被迫和某种东西“保持一致”,参与那种权力游戏。如果说十年前那桩流血的罪行不是我们造成的,但十年来我们对此不置一词(尽管有太多可以解释的理由)已经使得我们对这件事负有了某种责任。

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.