Monday, March 3, 2008

The Political Spring Season in Beijing

It's March, which means a few political activities will be going on in Beijing:
  1. The annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, known simply as the "Two Meetings" (两会), are in town. Security will be tight.
  2. After two weeks of hyperbole surrounding the meetings, there will not be any significant decisions made, especially in the year of Olympics
  3. But we will be entertained by pictures of many delegates nodding off during the sessions.
  4. Tiananmen Mothers petition to probe the Tiananmen Massacre.
It's been eleven years, but they haven't given up.

In the dark night of June 3, 1989, with gunshots heard and flares seen in the dark sky, Professor Ding Zilin (丁子霖) thought she had finally managed to lock up her restless son in their bathroom. But the seventeen year old high schooler outsmarted his parents. He climbed out of a window and headed to the streets. He was shot near MuXiDi (木樨地), at the western skirt of Beijing where the most fighting and death had taken place that night.

Since then, under tremendous pressure and constant harassment by the government, Ding organized and led the loosely-knit organization known as the Tiananmen Mothers, consisting parents (yes, mostly mothers) of victims who had died during the massacre. They painstakingly collected and documented 155 cases of death. They also helped to channel humanitarian funds from abroad to the victims' families.

But year after year, they have also petitioned the "Two Meetings" for a dialog and reconciliation. They have yet to receive a response.

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