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By Victims of Communism, Memorial Foundation
This Wednesday marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Many Americans know that day by the image of a lone man who stood in front of Chinese tanks and dared to defy Beijing’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.
“Those of us in the West who benefit from freedom of speech have a responsibility to defend a truthful memory against those who want to make us forget. So far, we’ve done little to fill in the blanks for the Chinese to learn why the Tiananmen Square massacre happened, or to explain who was responsible, who was killed, and what happened to their families. Revealing the truth about Tiananmen means coming to terms with how millions of Chinese citizens felt about their government. It is scandalous that most Chinese still do not know the full story of the massacre and are not allowed to discuss its implications. While many human rights group will commemorate its anniversary, many pro-China leaders in the West will continue to overlook the fact China remains unfree and is officially a communist state. One of the principal ways in which unjust regimes govern without the consent of their people is by distorting history and hiding truth.”
Smith added, “To be sure, the China of 2014 is not the China of Mao Tse-tung. The Chinese Communist Party since the 1990s has incorporated limited market-based reforms. But China remains a one party system that stifles free speech, dissent, and religious freedom. It still stubbornly refuses to come to terms with the victims it has sent to labor camps, imprisoned, and killed — a number in the tens of millions, far eclipsing the murderous Nazi and Soviet regimes. China’s government today merely hides its steel fist within a velvet glove; human rights activists and dissidents are harassed, persecuted, and forced to flee the country.”
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.