Twenty-Five Years After Tiananmen: China’s Fight for Human Rights

A government that cannot face its own history is a government without a future. Memory and truth will give the Chinese people the courage to speak out for democracy, and Americans must join in the fight. Adapted from remarks delivered at the American Enterprise Institute.

Twenty-five years ago today, a great evil was done by those in power in China. They killed hundreds of their own people to silence them. They have tried to silence me. But I will not be silent. I want to speak to you today, in English, so no one will forget that terrible day.

Today is the first time I have spoken in public in English. I hope my thoughts and words are clear to you.

Remembering Tiananmen

I was seventeen years old on June 4, 1989. Being blind, I could not attend school. If I had been a student, I too might have been at Tiananmen Square that day. But I was not there. I had only the radio and the TV. But here’s what I remember. I remember Li Peng. Li Peng came out to talk with the students. He avoided the important questions. I remember a student walked up to him as he was speaking and gave him a note. After Li Peng finished speaking, the same student said, “Sir, I just gave you a note to tell you that I will interrupt you if you don’t address our questions.” I’m not sure who that student was. From my memory of his voice, it was Wang Dan or Wuerkaixi, though I cannot be sure.

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