Nearly 20 years after the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, more than 100 people are still imprisoned as a result of their alleged participation in the pro-democracy protests, according to Human Rights Watch, which is calling for the Chinese government to undertake the following prior to the 2008 Olympics.
* overturn the 1989 official pronouncement labeling the student movement a “counterrevolutionary rebellion;”Here's a Guardian article.
* publicly recognize that the June 1989 massacre is a deeply divisive source of pain and frustration even within the ranks of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, by providing redress to the victims;
* cease the harassment, arrest and imprisonment of survivors, family members, and scholars who demand state accountability for Tiananmen abuses; and
* issue a complete list of those who died or were injured, and those who were imprisoned, as no such lists are publicly available.
I've heard Chinese people in New York defend their country from accusations of human rights abuses by criticizing the United States for its high crime rate. That's all right with me—over here, they're remarkably free to do so. I hope that criticisms of the United States can result in improvements. I'd also like to think that criticisms of the Chinese government can be considered sensibly, also resulting in improvements—not imprisonment and harassment. What did the protesters do to warrant military attack and years and years of imprisonment? Why should the Chinese government be above popular criticism?
The Chinese people, who are now reeling from the recent Sichuan earthquake (and, perhaps, inadequate disaster planning), may benefit from donations to groups such as the American Red Cross.
They may also benefit from donations to Human Rights Watch.
Here's a video by columnist Ben Calmes that raises provocative questions regarding coverage of Tiananmen Square and suppressed protests in the United States, including the 1932 Bonus March on Washington, D.C. (where citizens still do not have voting representation in Congress). I don't see why he is such an apologist for the Tienanmen Massacre—he basically says that we should put it behind us when much of his argument has to do with remembering these outrages, but I think on a day such as this it's not such a bad idea to make room for people with opposing points of view.