Speech at the Candlelight Vigil Organized by Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to Commemorate the 34th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre

June 2, 2023

Dear Friends,

As we gather tonight, the flickering candlelight casting a gentle glow upon our somber faces, we mourn the fallen brave young men and women of Tiananmen Square. Thirty-four years ago on that horrific, never-to-be forgotten day as tanks rolled, thousands of young lives were cut short. 

Their dreams were extinguished. Their voices were silenced. 

There is a Chinese saying, “There is no greater sorrow than the gray-haired burying the dark-haired.” 

Today’s remaining Tiananmen Square democracy movement participants have begun to turn gray. As we, the survivors, mourn those courageous young men and women, who sacrificed their lives on Tiananmen Square thirty four years ago, it feels as if the gray-haired were bidding farewell to the dark-haired. 

The sorrow is truly immeasurable. The pain is never gone.

The fallen at Tiananmen Square were the embodiment of hope–a generation that dared to dream of a better China– a China where freedom, democracy, and human rights flourished. They believed in the power of their voices. In their ability to effect change. And in a future that would embrace the ideals they held dear.

Aspirations of now a new generation seeking change and reform are displayed in the White Paper Movement. Just as the students in Tiananmen Square did decades ago, today’s young activists are demanding transparency, accountability, and political freedoms. 

The White Paper Movement echoes the spirit of Tiananmen. It serves as a powerful reminder that the fight for freedom and democracy is ongoing in China, and that the ideals of Tiananmen still resonate deeply within the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. 

We must stand in solidarity with these courageous individuals and support their hopes and aspirations. Their battles are not isolated incidents. They represent a global fight for human rights and human dignity. By joining together to amplify their voices, we can create a world where the ideals of Tiananmen are realized.

May the candles we hold tonight serve as a reminder that the flame of hope must never be extinguished. Let it burn brightly in our hearts as we remember the fallen young men and women of Tiananmen Square and carry their legacy forward.

Thank You.