Declaration of the International Academic Conference on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Tiananmen Incident (Joint Alliance and New School for Democracy)
(updated on 13 May 2019)
Thirty years ago, intellectuals, university students and workers in China witnessed the accumulation of political problems including high inflation, bureaucratic speculation activities, abuse of power and corruption. On the occasion of paying respects to the deceased Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang, they raised a series of demands for the nation’s future: education reforms, the sanctioning of corruption, control of inflation, immediate political reforms by the government, protection of freedom of the media, and ultimately the realization of political democracy. The campaign started in mid-April 1989 and continued for months. Unfortunately, this peaceful Tiananmen Pro-democracy Movement’s demands were not met, but were crushed by military violence; from late night on June 3 to early morning on June 4, 1989, armed soldiers were mobilized by Party leaders to fire on unarmed students and civilians, resulting in about ten thousand deaths.
Today, thirty years since the massacre, the official verdict against the martyrs has yet to be reversed; and no democratic reforms have emerged. The families of the martyrs are still closely monitored by the Chinese authorities, and they do not even have the freedom to visit the martyrs’ tombs. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist regime continues to strengthen its control of the people, and its suppression of the demands for democracy and human rights. Corruption and abuse of power among cadres have become all the more serious. Yet we still expect the Chinese leadership to change.
Upon the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Incident, the Communist Party of China intends to promote social stability and develop the economy to secure regime maintenance and support of the people. However, these so-called achievements of economic and social development have been obtained by the sacrifice of the nation’s human rights, democracy and freedom. Undeniably, these trends have been exacerbated in recent years; and the Party regime exploits the strengths of speedy economic development and the powers of science and technology to tighten domestic control and expand its international influence.
The regime has no intention to engage in domestic political and social reforms to improve the people’s rights and welfare; instead expenditure on stability maintenance has been increasing and advanced technology has been exploited to enhance control of the people, further suppress the pro-democracy movement, and violate human rights and religious freedom. Social resources have thus been wasted in this manner.
In Hong Kong, the Chinese authorities have stepped up the crackdown on the local pro-democracy movement, arresting dissidents with less and less restraint, disqualifying candidates in elections, and ignoring the institutional arrangements of the separation of power and checks and balances, Further, they openly refute the effective implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Regarding Taiwan, security threats and economic invasion have been strengthening, propaganda activities and military pressures have been escalating, and Taiwan’s diplomatic space has been shrinking. The international community has been witnessing China’s impressive increases in military expenditure, the modernization of its armed forces, and its failure to fulfill its pledges and observe its international agreements. In violation of its promises in joining the World Trade Organization, China has been stealing the commercial intellectual property rights of foreign innovations and engaging in fraudulent activities.
All of the above reveals that the Party government has been treating the people demanding political reforms in the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong as principal enemies; and well demonstrates its evil nature as a rogue regime. This demonstration has now triggered the resistance of the mainstream international community which begins to impose sanctions, as well as prompted the rise of waves of human-rights campaigns inside China. This resistance shows that the so-called economic achievements in the three decades since the Tiananmen Incident are a facade, and the so-called social stability is now under severe threat.
In response, the New School for Democracy and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, together with all our friends concerned about China’s democratic development, hold this conference in Taipei with various supporting groups. We hope, jointly with our friends everywhere, to offer our ideas on the mission of promoting democracy in China; and through the mourning of the Tiananmen martyrs, to commemorate the spirit of the student movement in 1989, and awaken the concern and commitment to China’s pro-democracy movement among Chinese all over the world.
We hold the position that, in view of the deteriorating domestic and external environment, the Chinese government should immediately change its course. It should abandon the private interests of one single political party, stop the suppression and exploitation of the people, and the crackdown of the pro-democracy movements in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. At the same time, the Party regime should learn from the experiences of democracy in Taiwan and those of the rule of law in Hong Kong, so that China would converge with global civilization, and through reforms emerge as a modern state respected by the international community.
We firmly believe that democracy and liberal reforms in China will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also the entire world. As a major state with 1.4 billion people, “soft power" is the essential element maintaining world peace and promoting the development of the civilization of the entire human race.
Thus, the New School for Democracy and the Joint Alliance, on the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Incident, declare the following demands to the Communist Party of China:
- immediately reverse the verdict on the Tiananmen Incident’s martyrs and participants and offer them apologies and compensation;
- immediately abandon the dictatorship of the Communist Party and promote democratic elections;
- immediately release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience;
- immediately cease pressures and suppression against Taiwan, as well as activities violating the “one country, two systems" model and interferences in Hong Kong’s internal affairs; and
- immediately terminate the suppression of the pro-democracy movement and religious groups in Mainland China, and implement practical protection of people’s freedoms of speech, assembly, religious beliefs and so on as stipulated in the Constitution.
We reiterate, and we hope that the Chinese authorities would understand, that freedom and democracy are the universal values in the development of global civilization. We also pray that Chinese people, through their humility, may secure the acceptance and respect of the international community.
You are invited to co-sign the declaration.