28 Years Since the Tiananmen Square Massacre
A Conversation Between Democracy Activist Fang Zheng and HRP Representative Hissho Yanai

4 June 1989: many bodies of young civilians lay dead at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. The Beijing government mobilized troops against students in protest to demand for freedom of speech and freedom of association. The unarmed students were massacred, and the death toll is said to have numbered in the thousands and tens of thousands.

Key points in this article:

  • HRP representative Hissho Yanai had a discussion with a living witness of the Tiananmen Massacre
  • The Beijing government’s military mobilization had a clear intention to kill the students
  • Japan must object to China’s oppression and contribute to its democratization

In China, the Tiananmen Square massacre was censored, and human rights activists who mourned for the victims were arrested. But there are people who have tried to resist the government’s cover-up, and have spoken out in the effort to tell the world the true story behind the incident.

Mr. Fang Zheng is one of them. He was a member of the demonstration rally, and lost both legs after they were crushed under the tracks of a tank when he tried to protect a young lady.

Despite this adversity, he showed remarkable results in discus and javelin, even making it to a sports tournament for the disabled, but the government prohibited his entry for fear that his legs would gather public attention which could be traced back to the massacre. In 2009, he defected to the U.S. were he continues to pursue the democratization of China.

This living witness of the Tiananmen massacre, Mr. Zheng, had talks with Mr. Hissho Yanai – the Happiness Realization Party (HRP) Chairman of the General Council – on 1 June.

This was Mr. Zheng’s second visit to Japan. While on his first visit, he had an interview with HRP party leader, Ms. Ryoko Shaku. This first interview was published in the Japanese conservative political magazine ‘WiLL’ (September 2016).


Military Poison Gas Was Used Against Unarmed Students

“We’re nearing the 4th of June,” said Mr. Zheng. “As one who was involved, I feel great responsibility [for the incident]. I want to tell you what happened on that day.”

He recounted the incident thus:

“At 6 in the morning on the 4th of June, the students who had been rallying were done for the day and on their way back from the Square. We were walking eastward down the main street. Suddenly, a tank came plowing through from behind us, running over the students”.

“The tanks sprayed poison gas. The Beijing government didn’t have much tear gas, so they used military poison gas instead. We later realized that the hospital that took in injured students also belonged to the military. This was the cause of many casualties [whom otherwise may have survived].”

The young lady Mr. Zheng tried to protect, he said, also collapsed from the poison gas. Mr. Zheng lost consciousness after his legs were run over by a tank. When he came to, he was lying in a bed inside a hospital conference room, around him lay many seriously injured people.

After Mr. Zheng recounted his experiences, Mr. Yanai commented, “The Beijing government is trying to justify the use of military force by saying that the rallies were ‘riots’, but in truth, the rallies had no anti-government purposes: it was just a gathering of students who really wanted to make China a better place.”


“Human Rights Has No National Borders”

In answer to Mr. Yanai’s question as to whether the government had a clear intention of massacring the students, Mr. Zheng said, “The genocide was intentional and well organized under someone’s command”. “I want for the executor – the commander – to take responsibility,” he added.

Mr. Yanai referred to Sun Yat-sen’s Xinhai Revolution in expressing his desire to support China’s democratization from Japan. Mr. Zheng cordially thanked him agreeing that, “human rights has no national borders”.

Their conversation continued into Mr. Zheng’s involvement in trying to have the Tiananmen massacre documented in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme, the Beijing government’s cover-up of the massacre, and Mr. Zheng’s hope for Japan’s help. The conversation ended with the two exchanging their hopes for the democratization of China.

“I pray that China will achieve democratization as soon as possible,” commented a woman who attended the conversation. “I never knew they used poison gas against the students.”

Another attendee said, “There are many people in Japan who don’t know about the Tiananmen Square massacre. Each and every individual must spread the truth. We cannot ignore the sufferings of the people of our neighbor country.”

China not only continues to ignore demands for democratization, they openly oppress it. The world cannot choose to ignore this. To bring true peace to the world, we must abandon one-country pacifism, and have the courage to speak for justice.

28 Years Since the Tiananmen Square Massacre
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