At the beginning of the new year, Citizen Power Initiatives for China (CPIFC) officially initiated three activities to commemorate the 1989 Democracy Movement and the Tiananmen Massacre, inherit the heroic legacy, pass on the “flame” of struggle, and promote the 6·4 spirit, seek truth, hold those responsible accountable, and lay the foundation for transitional justice.
I. The “Tank Man” Statue
CPIFC has officially entrusted Thomas Marsh, an artist who made the world’s first memorial statue of the victims of Communism, to mold a statue of the Tiananmen Tank Man. This still-unidentified young Chinese man, who single-handedly blocked the path of a column of People’s Liberation Army’s tanks that were rolling down Chang’an Avenue near Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. His heroic act has become a permanent symbol of the 1989 Democracy Movement, fully embodying the courage of defying brute forces and the spirit of peaceful protest. Over the past 30 years, Tiananmen Tank Man has inspired many countries and communities in the world to fight for freedom and human rights. They have created their own Tank Man moments and images in their respective struggles. People may have forgotten or even do not know the 1989 Democracy Movement and the June 4th Massacre, but everyone knows the Tank Man. Time magazine therefore named the Tank Man one of the most important figures of the 20th century.
However, the CCP’s censorship has caused collective amnesia among Chinese people. Many young people do not know the Tank Man and do not understand his heroic act.
In order to carry forward the spirit of the Tank Man and to commemorate him and the entire 6·4 generation he represented, we set up a statue for the Tank Man, fully affirming his historic value and allowing him to live on forever.
The design of the Tank Man statue has been completed. It is a sculpture composed of life-size bronze statues and two-dimensional tank images and is scheduled to be unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.
CPIFC hopes to use various platforms to raise funds for the “Tank Man” statue project by means of crowdfunding, and at the same time, create a new opportunity to mobilize citizens by revisiting this historic event. In this way, more people will know the heroic act of the Tank Man.
II. Tiananmen Archive Project – 1989 Democracy Movement / Tiananmen Massacre
It’s been 30 years since the 1989 Democracy Movement and the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre took place, but so far, there has not been an archive that comprehensively and systematically collects and sorts out the relevant documents, materials and testimony evidence that meet the professional criteria for archive establishment and management. A number of victims and witnesses have passed away; many perpetrators have died, or their bad reputation has been rebuilt; and a lot of valuable documentary items have been lost. Therefore, CPIFC’s Archive Project of 1989 Democracy Movement and the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre aims to fill this gap, and professionally collect and archive historical documentary items. The primary purposes of this project include:
1. Create an online archive platform for the 1989 Democracy Movement and the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre;2. Collect and archive important historical documents and records about the 1989 Democracy Movement and the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre, and seek the truth of the June 4th Massacre, including accurate information on the victims and perpetrators;3. Nominate the documentary heritage to be inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW), including the audiovisual documents and records of the Tank Man;4. Prepare evidence that meets legal requirements for the solution of the June 4th Massacre and the transitional justice.
We believe that the collection and preservation of this heritage has huge historic, cultural, social significance and crucial political value for past, present and future generations. This project will also be critical to the process of transitional justice and national reconciliation, prerequisites for China’s democratic transition. We also believe that China cannot move forward without rectifying the wrongdoing of the Tiananmen Massacre, re-evaluating the 1989 Democracy Movement and holding those responsible accountable.
In addition, we believe this project has a good chance of success. The most comparable cases are the inscription of the Gwangju Uprising on UNESCO’s MoW and the inscription of the South American military governments’ serious violations of human rights archives on UNESCO’s MoW. Once the inscription is successful, it will be the best commemoration for the 1989 Democracy Movement and the Tiananmen Massacre.
Our project team is composed of scholars and experts, archive professionals, human rights activists, IT experts and volunteers who study the 1989 Democracy Movement and June 4th Tiananmen Massacre at home and abroad. The archive platform is scheduled to be accessible online on the eve of the 30th anniversary.
CPIFC welcomes more volunteers to participate in this project.
III. Civic Criminal Court of Tiananmen Massacre
In the face of the brutality of dictators, human rights activists, non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations are often helpless about their atrocities. However, civil society organizations around the world have begun to set up more and more civil courts, civic courts, and simulated courts to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international law and due process of law. Undoubtedly, the civic court will face many challenges and the legal effects and enforcement of its judgments will encounter difficulties, but as a powerful tool against human rights violations, its judgments will be of great value to the courts established for transitional justice in the future and will have a moral condemnation and shocking effect on convicted criminals.
Based on the above considerations, CPIFC has decided to invite domestic and international renowned jurists and lawyers serving as judges, prosecutors, plaintiffs’ lawyers and defendants’ defense lawyers to establish the Civic Criminal Court of Tiananmen Massacre in accordance with the procedures of the International Court of Justice and international human rights law, in particular, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Those Chinese officials and PLA officers and soldiers who participated in the Tiananmen Massacre committed crimes against humanity, including the massacre of innocent civilians, false imprisonment in violation of the basic rules of international law or other serious deprivation of personal liberty, torture, enforced disappearance, deliberately-caused pain or other crimes of the same nature, such as inhumane acts that caused significant suffering or serious harm to the human body or physical and mental health. This Civic Criminal Court aims to bring these criminals to trial. The defendants shall be judged according to law through legal procedures such as hearing, evidence collection, debate, and defense.
CPIFC urges human rights activists and non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations to participate in the above activities to commemorate the great 1989 Democracy Movement and to keep the 6·4 spirit in our hearts!