Monday, April 7, 2008

Chen Ziming Talks About Possibility of Reconciliation in 1989

The "Chinese Reconciliation" think tank had published the proceedings of their first symposium. Since the meeting format allowed only 10 minutes for each speaker, most of the speeches tended to be on the superficial side. Among the participants, Chen Ziming was the only one who brought up the topic of 1989. Indeed, his entire speech was about the possibility and efforts in reconciliation before the massacre.

He started with the fact that, in the early months of 1989, the government had started to reach out to liberal minded intellectuals, even including ones like himself, who had been in and out of jail a few times. That effort was of course interrupted by the student movement.

During the movement itself, there had also been attempts at reconciliation. For that, Chen Ziming brought copies of three documents: the hunger strike declaration of four intellectuals (two of them, Liu Xiaobo and Zhou Dou were also at this symposium) on June 2nd of 1989, and two editorials of Chen's Economic Weekly at the same time.

Citing passages in each of the documents, Chen stressed that, even at the heated moments of that movement, at least he himself and his comrades had been advocating reconciliation and compromise.

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