Fact Sheet

From bereavement to activism

Ding Zilin, who lost her 17-year-old son in the 1989 massacre, pulled herself out of her despair by taking action to seek justice. For the last fifteen years, she has been at the forefront of a network of people who have worked to document the brutal crackdown in a systematic fashion by collecting the names of real victims and recording their individual stories. For this, she has been subjected to persistent persecution - she has endured interrogations, threats of violence, a period of detention and frequent house arrest, but she refuses to give up her fight.

Under the banner of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of courageous family members of victims of the Beijing massacre has banded together to challenge the official claims about what really happened. Those in this network provide support to each other and work together to gather information about what really happened in those tragic days at the beginning of June. In addition, they collect and distribute humanitarian funds donated to assist the injured and the families of the dead.

The efforts of the Mothers have been met with persecution from the Chinese government. Their repeated requests for dialogue with the government and for a proper investigation of the events have been met with stony silence. Yet the Mothers have refused to give up their fight against the cycle of impunity that has allowed perpetrators of gross violations of human rights in China to go unpunished again and again. Their demands for accountability have been joined by other calls and open letters, including Dr. Jiang Yanyong.

The Story of the Bouquet

Years after the massacre, a student who participated in the 1989 demonstrations posted a message on the Internet explaining her ritual of gathering a June Fourth bouquet (six white roses and four red roses) to mark each anniversary. Her dream is to place such a bouquet in Tiananmen Square, publicly commemorating the massacre victims without danger of government reprisal. Until that time comes, FillTheSquare.org allows all supporters to realize this dream in cyberspace.

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