Twenty-five years ago, on the 4th of June in 1989, one incident changed the lives of many. The Tiananmen Massacre. That night when tanks and soldiers overran the city where gunshots and flames lit up the night, and Beijing citizens shuttled the dead and wounded to the hospitals on bicycle carriages, and of course the lone brave man who stood in front of a line of approaching tanks – these images are forever ingrained in all of our minds.
I still remember how the news of the deadly massacre reached me. I was working in Massachusetts in the United States then, and on June 3rd US time, I was at home, sick with the flu. A friend who was also from Hong Kong called me from California, and told me the shocking news of tanks rolling in to Tiananmen Square. I got up and turned on the TV right away, and for days I was glued to the tube, watching CNN’s coverage, live from Beijing.
Those were the days before the commercial Internet. We had no YouTube or even websites. So friends from Hong Kong shared and made copies of videotapes of television news coverage from Hong Kong and mailed hem to us overseas. But the Internet did play a role in spreading the news about the Tiananmen Massacre and its aftermath. For example, since the mid 1980s, I was a part of a team of netizens made up of mainly Mainland Chinese students and scholars overseas, and we manually typed in news stories from all kind of different sources such as newspapers and wired services, and even translated stories from Chinese language sources including from Hong Kong, and then we sent them out in batches of daily emails to thousands of subscribers for free. We called it China News Digest, or CND, and I was then the first and only Hong Kong person in the group.
So, then and now, technology played a key role in spreading the truths about the Tiananmen Massacre. In the late 1980s, although we did not have the Internet as it is today, satellite television and cable services were becoming prevalent, and only because of this that these images of the massacre could be preserved to this date, first by our spreading around by making copies of videotapes, to now when these videos and images were uploaded and shared on YouTube and all the other social media services around the world. Even those daily emails we sent on CND can still be found today on Google and other search engines from various Internet historic archives.
So, the quest for a reversal on the verdict and justice for the victims of June 4th continues, today with a new generation of young people, too young or even unborn in 1989, and they are injecting new energy to keep the movement going, until the day when we can see democracy being implemented in not just Hong Kong, but China.
Looking back, I probably could not have imagined in 1989 that, twenty-five years later, the victims and dissidents from 1989 would still be facing this injustice and the same persecution, maybe even worse. But, even more unthinkable to me would be the fact that certain despicable individuals and groups would come out in Hong Kong in 2014 to defend the bloody regime, shamelessly saying that they are telling the truth about June 4th.
Well, we certainly have freedom of speech in Hong Kong. But Hong Kong is supposedly also a land with free flow of information and an abundance of access to reliable historic archives and materials, with eyewitnesses to that fateful night and the ensuing days in 1989 in Beijing. The reason why some people choose to tell these lies covered by half-truths in order to divert people’s attention to the facts of the Tiananmen Massacre is obvious, because they see it as their mission to not just blindly worship this ruthless and unjust regime but to help these rulers pave a way to continue to dominate and subjugate its people, in Hong Kong as well as in China.
Every year around June 4th, I would look up this Bible verse and think about it over and over again. Proverbs chapter 14 verse 34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin condemns any people.”
But where is righteousness and justice since the Tiananmen Massacre to this day in China? And when will the rulers with blood on their hands be condemned for their sins?
Psalms chapter 85 verse 11 says, “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” With faith, we believe that God’s justice will be done in the end. If we can stand firm on this ground and preserve and spread the truth about the June 4th Massacre for twenty-five years, we are not afraid if we need to do it for even longer. In the end, justice will be served from heaven on earth.
It will just be a few more days before the twenty-fifth anniversary of the June 4th Massacre. Let us continue to pray for peace and blessing for the victims and their families and those who continued to be persecuted because of their dissident activities since 1989. And see you this week, on the evening of June 4th, 2014, in Victoria Park, as we have persevered and continued to do so for so long, and let us once again tell these bloody killers of the Tiananmen Massacre in force and in number, we stand against you, and we stand for justice, democracy and human rights for China.