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Dharamshala: On the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Tibetan Peoples’ Uprising Movement consisting of the Tibetan Women’s Association, the Gu-Chu-Sum Ex-Political Prisoners’ Movement, the National Democratic Party of Tibet and the Students for a Free Tibet (India), organized a candlelight vigil in Dharamsala yesterday to indicate that Tibetans stand in solidarity with the Chinese democracy movement and express support for their demand for freedom, human rights and democracy in China. Hundreds of Tibetans, wearing white straps on their heads to symbolize mourning of the thousands of Chinese students who sacrificed their lives for liberty and democracy took part in the vigil to commemorate the scene of carnage.

The President of the Gu-Chu-Sum Ex-Political Prisoners’ Movement spoke to the congregation of Tibetans and foreigners who participated in the vigil and the march. He said, “In early June 1989 thousands of Chinese students were killed and injured for the staging of pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Here we gather to demonstrate solidarity and express condolences and our firm support for the Chinese pro-democracy and human rights movement and activities. We also demand that the Chinese authorities compensate for and admit to their wrongdoing.”

The Tibetan Peoples’ Uprising Movement petitioned the President of China, Hu Jintao, and distributed leaflets and white straps to the protesters.
Mr. Kalsang Gyaltsen, a member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and researcher on Chinese politics, was in China at the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre, when he held a government position. He gave a brief history and description of the 1989 incident: “In the 1980s, China was politically and economically tolerant. Democracy and freedom defined the spirit of the time. When the late President Hu Yaobang, who was supportive of liberty and democratic principles, stood against the steadfast Communist leaders who oppress the nationwide freedom movement, he was forced to relinquish his position. On 5 April 1989, Ho Yaobang passed away and Beijing University students congregated in Tiananmen Square to mourn his death. The students formulated an eleven-point petition to submit to the leaders of the Communist Party.

It strongly demanded the allowance of democracy in China, the authorization to establish NGOs within the nation, and hold a dialogue between the Student Union and the Communist Party. When Communist Party failed to respond, the students held a week-long hunger strike in hopes of endorsing their non-violence movement in government newspapers. The Chinese government deemed the movement subversive, and instigated a violent crack-down on pro-democracy activities, rendering Tiananmen Square a bloodbath.”

Corruption was prevalent in Den Xiao Pin’s administration, and many Chinese citizens were dissatisfied with the reform policy. Prior to the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government failed to acknowledge the atrocities which occurred: 1,600,000 Tibetans perished.