Dr. Yang Jianli’s Remarksat Tiananmen Candlelight Vigil hosted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
We gather tonight once again as one family to remember our brothers and sisters who lost their lives during the Tiananmen Square Massacre 32 years ago. We come from different backgrounds and our individual stories are unique, but we share the same calling and commitment.
Thirty-two years have passed. Despite the passage of time, this page of history has yet to be turned, because justice has never been served. On the contrary, the Chinese government continues to commit atrocity after atrocity, largely with impunity.
The same regime that slaughtered students in the streets of Beijing is now engaged in countless other acts of oppression. Its victims include Hongkongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongolians Christians Falun Gong practitioners, as well as independent intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, private entrepreneurs and human rights activists.
Today, under the tyrannical CCP regime, human rights violations are at an all-time high. Even in my darkest moment on the morning of June 4th, 1989, when I witnessed tanks rolling over students on Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue, I never would have imagined that the CCP’s tyrannical oppression would continue unabated some three decades later.
As survivors, we commemorate the Tiananmen Massacre not only as a memorial for the victims, but, more importantly, as recognition of the continued struggle. In the face of the world’s most powerful dictatorship, fighting for freedom and justice is like the Tank Man standing in front of a convoy of tanks—it takes unparalleled courage and sacrifice.
This is the time for us to test our underlying values and beliefs, to reconnect what we say we believe with what we do. It is deeper than getting together and brighter than the candles we are holding. Justice must be served—this is our calling and our commitment.
As American writer E.B. White once wrote:
“As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread, and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.”
Tonight, we hold a vigil. Tomorrow morning, we will wind our clocks and begin another day in our fight for freedom and justice.