An unprecedented statement regarding the June 4, 1989, massacre at Tiananmen Square was released by more than 80 Chinese Christian leaders calling for forgiveness, repentance, truth, justice and reconciliation. Most of the signatories were directly involved with the students’ movement and suffered severe repercussions at the hands of authorities for their participation. In the aftermath of the massacre, the failure of the movement and in their search for truth, these leaders found reality and hope in Jesus Christ.
In their statement, the Christian leaders articulate how the massacre “awakened our sense of social justice as intellectuals … and shattered our dreams of utopia on earth.”
Through this crisis, they saw they were not “entirely innocent bystanders of the sins and tragedy.”
The manifesto declares, “in terms of this sinful nature, we are not fundamentally different from the decision makers, commanders or transactors of the massacre,” except for encountering the grace and forgiveness of God.
The declaration calls on all Chinese Christians to seek reconciliation on the basis that truth must be revealed and justice done.
The declaration lists specific actions including confessing the sins of silence and hypocrisy; revealing the truth; helping those still suffering as a result of this tragedy and praying for Chinese authorities. The signatories also urge Chinese authorities to investigate the massacre; fully disclose the truth; find the perpetrators; commemorate the massacre and compensate and care for the victims’ families.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre, known in China as the “June 4th Incident,” was the tragic end to a movement of students and intellectuals calling for free media and formal dialogue between authorities and student-elected representatives. Between April 15 and June 4, approximately 100,000 Chinese citizens, the majority of whom were university students, led peaceful protests in Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square. On June 4, the Chinese government sent in armored tanks and, as the world watched, killed hundreds of the demonstrators. According to the Chinese government, the official death toll was 200 to 300. However, the Chinese Red Cross estimated that the actual deaths were between 2,000 and 3,000.
More than 10,000 Chinese citizens from all over China who were involved in the movement were sentenced to death by the government as retribution. June 4, 2009, will mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre.
Bob Fu, president and founder of ChinaAid, was one of the student leaders in the Tiananmen Square movement.
“The fact that this tragic massacre happened 20 years ago and is still not allowed to be commemorated in China by the Chinese government, should remind the international community that the road toward true freedom for the Chinese people is not an easy one,” Bob Fu stated. “We are encouraged that the persecuted Chinese church and church leaders are awakened to repent for their silence regarding the massacre and to move forward toward true justice and reconciliation.”
The declaration also issued a call to all Chinese Christian churches, within China and overseas, to pray between May 12 – the anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake and June 4 – the anniversary of the massacre. They urge churches to make May 12 and June 4 “Pray for China” days and to hold special prayer meetings during that time.
ChinaAid calls on the international community to stand with the signatories of the declaration by joining them in prayer and action for true reconciliation.