Wednesday, 29 May 2013

June 4 Anniversary Stirs Up Insecurities

We are dismayed to read the Chinese authorities are too scared to allow one of the Tiananmen Mothers to go to Hong Kong this week for a pipa competition.

Zhang Xianling's son died in the June 4 bloody crackdown and she and her husband were advised not to come here even though they were supposed to have arrived yesterday and then left on Saturday, days before the annual candlelight vigil. They had invited Zhang's husband to come as an adviser for the competition.

However, last week police visited the couple's home and told them not to come to Hong Kong without giving an explicit explanation.

"I don't understand why the police are afraid of our visit to Hong Kong," said Zhang, 76. "I have already told them I do not plan to go to the vigil. This is so shameful. The police only told us not to go to Hong Kong because the city was chaotic recently. They did not explain clearly what meant... this is clearly [infringing] our rights," she said.

Then on Monday Zhang received a call from the competition organizer, the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, who told the couple not to come to Hong Kong.

"The organizer said that June 4 is coming and we should not go [to Hong Kong] during this sensitive time," Zhang said.

A report says Zhang's friends told her the foundation was under pressure from the mainland authorities over the couple's impending visit to the city.

These outrageous bullying tactics only reveal the deep insecurities of the Chinese government. The elderly couple was coming to Hong Kong for four days and leaving well before the 24th anniversary of June 4. What is the problem with that? And what trouble can a 76-year-old woman cause?

In any event Zhang is hopeful things will change.

"I hope to come one day but that will be after we can commemorate the crackdown freely here [in Beijing] first," she said.

That day will mark the anniversary of her son Wang Nan's death, who was killed while taking photographs on Changan Avenue during the crackdown. He was 19 years old.

Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and vigil organizer, said Zhang recently donated the helmet her son wore that night that has a bullet hole through it.

He believes that may explain why the mainland authorities pressured the foundation to cancel the couple's trip to Hong Kong.

These people -- mothers and fathers who lost their children on June 4 -- have done nothing wrong. And yet China refuses to let them -- or anyone else -- remember their brood.

We will stand in silence and remember Wang Nan and all the other victims that night. We promise they will not be forgotten.

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