Police net Ding Zilin in weekend sweep

China Support Network

Police net Ding Zilin in weekend sweep

Chief of the Tiananmen Mothers arrested in a move bound to inflame our cause and movement

China Support Network


March 29, 2004 (CSN) -- The Chinese pro-democracy movement, and human rights community, is inflamed at the weekend series of arrests, a round up that netted Beijing authorities the chief of the Tiananmen Mothers, Ding Zilin. Also over the weekend, Lian Shengde, an ex-Tiananmen Square leader now in exile as Executive Director of the Free China Movement, called for revolution in China.

The action occurs against a backdrop where a pitched battle is being fought in Geneva, Switzerland, where the UN Commission on Human Rights is considering a resolution of censure for China's severe, systemic, and ongoing abuses of the most fundamental human rights of its citizens. The United States has introduced the resolution, and China has mounted an all out lobbying push for its "no action" motion -- the procedural maneuver by which China has escaped censure at previous sessions of the commission.

Also in our backdrop is a seething opposition in Taiwan, that has continued to protest the outcome of the March 20 presidential election in Taiwan. Incumbent President Chen Shui-bian emerged the victor by a very narrow margin. The opposition has demanded a recount, and that matter is both pending and seething. Taiwan has been racked by protests.

Against this backdrop now comes the jaw dropping detention of Ding Zilin and other Tiananmen Mothers. Ding Zilin, who lost her 17 year old son at the Tiananmen massacre of June 4, 1989, is a well known and loved figure to all in this cause who fight for the vindication of that day's dead, such as Ding Zilin's son -- and for the vindication of the living, who put together the Tiananmen uprising.

Reported by Human Rights In China (HRIC), "Ding Zilin was at her home in the outskirts of Wuxi, Jiangsu province on March 28 when shortly after 11 a.m. three police officers took her away without presenting any legal documentation. Five more police officers subsequently arrived, and without presenting a search warrant carried out a thorough search of Ding's home, confiscating a number of letters and other items."

Another arrestee was Zhang Xianling. According to HRIC, "After Zhang was led away, another group of police officers arrived and searched her home, confiscating a number of items, including a batch of T-shirts produced by Hong Kong organizations to commemorate the 15th anniversary of June 4th." To Zhang's husband, police made the remark that "the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign and the Tiananmen Mothers as a group were reactionary organizations through which entities inside and outside of China were conspiring to harm national security and to incite subversion of state power."

Huang Jinping was also arrested. Each of these women lost a loved one in the June 4, 1989 massacre. Observers are speculating about a connection between these arrests and the ongoing action in Geneva, Switzerland. HRIC--

In Hong Kong a video CD was recently released presenting the testimonies of six family members of June 4th victims, including Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping. This video CD has been taken by members of the Hong Kong-based support group, the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign, to Geneva to present to the Commission's Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Some observers believe the intention to present this VCD to the UN was the impetus for the arrests of Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping.

As noted by HRIC, "Over the past 15 years Ding Zilin has become the most prominent spokesperson for victims' families in revealing the truth and demanding justice....their actions and demands for justice have remained peaceful, reasonable and within the law at all times. For the Chinese government to arrest these women for no reason after killing their loved ones just as senselessly is an act of cruelty almost beyond human comprehension."

HRIC is on scene in Geneva, able to request an immediate meeting with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. They are doing that, while calling for the immediate release of the three women and urging the international community to bring "its strongest pressure to bear" on the Chinese government in their cases.

The Wei Jingsheng Foundation and Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition reacted with by saying, in part--

We are very concerned about this new round of suppression in China, of detentions and house arrests, happens right during the UN Human Rights Commission's 60th session. We condemn Chinese government's vicious measures against any opposition, especially these peaceful victims and families of June 4, 1989.

The Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS) put out this statement--

We are shocked to learn that Chinese police has detained three members of Tiananmen Mothers group, Mrs. Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping. The reason given by the Chinese authorities was that their actions posed threat to "national security." Yet our information indicated the three were only peacefully exercise their rights to remember those who were killed in the Tiananmen massacre 15 years ago.

IFCSS strongly condemn this new round of suppression on the family members of June 4th victims by the Chinese government. We demand that Mrs. Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping to be released immediately, and that the Chinese authorities respect and protect freedom and the legal rights of the family members of June 4th victims.

In the spring of 1989, Chinese students gathered at Tiananmen Square to demand freedom and end of government corruptions. On the night of June 3-4, 1989, Chinese army entered the city of Beijing to crack down the pro-democracy demonstrations. Hundreds of unarmed civilians were killed and thousands more injured. The Tiananmen Mothers is a network mainly comprised of those Chinese mothers who lost their sons, husbands or other loved ones in and around Tiananmen Square during the massacre. This group of courageous ladies led by Mrs. Ding Zilin has campaigned persistently to document human rights violations, to help the vulnerable and the forgotten, and to seek redress and accountability.

IFCSS pledged that we shall never forget those Chinese students and citizens who fell on that bloody night for a better China, and we have been working for 15 years to keep our promise. We reiterate our long-time strong support for The Tiananmen Mothers. IFCSS appeal to people around the world to support The Tiananmen Mothers' demand:

1. that China's legislative body, the People's Congress of China, form a special commission to conduct a fair investigation of the massacre;

2. that Chinese government offer compensation to the families of those killed and injured;

3. that the Chinese authorities seek legal responsibility of those who initiated the massacre and ordered the killings.

We believe that Chinese government needs to resolve the issue of June 4th tragedy before it can become a respected member of civilized international community.

Contact: Zheng XING, president of IFCSS 1-510-759-2377

Over this weekend, the Free China Movement held its funeral service for Zhao Pinlu, a leading Chinese dissident who fell to cancer this month. Around 200 dissidents and Chinese friends attended this dignified service, that was described as very graceful, orderly, and touching. Lian Shengde delivered a closing speech that called for the re-establishment of the Republic of China on the mainland, and continued, "We are starting the third Chinese Republic revolution by ending/overthrowing the PRC and terrorist CCP regime."

The China Support Network sought to clarify details of the intended revolution, and could not reach Mr. Lian due to an email account "over quota." "I guess we'll get back to him after he deletes his spam," said John Kusumi, Executive Director of CSN.

As word of the Ding Zilin arrest arrived at CSN, Kusumi had high praise for the chief of the Tiananmen Mothers, and noted her role as a "mother figure" to the movement. He said, "Having read her material, I felt that her writing was approaching statesmanship. We know of her intellectual background as a university professor. If I had to point to a new president for China, Ding Zilin would be a good choice."

To her arrest, Mr. Kusumi's response was more visceral. "If they have harmed Ding Zilin, now they WILL have a revolution," he predicted in a forecast for China's leadership.

The China Support Network joins and echoes the ringing calls for the release of Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling, and Huang Jinping, and for that matter all prisoners of conscience in China and Tibet.

"To harm a hair on the head of Ding Zilin is no way to win friends and influence people in the Chinese pro-democracy movement. China's leadership is hardening the hardline attitudes against it, losing points, losing any sympathy, and weakening any moderates or any spirit of compromise in this movement," said Kusumi, who also noted that he will give a speech in Washington, upcoming on April 6. He said, "April 6 may be a good occasion for the leaders of this movement to address a rally with their latest concerns."

* This article is featured courtesy of China Support Network.