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State Memorial for Zhao Ziyang: Touchstone for CCP’s Totalitarian Regime?
Interview with Sheng Xue, Spokesperson of the Zhao Ziyang Memorial Committee

By Xia Yubing and Tian Xi
Sound of Hope
Jan 26, 2005

A mourner bows over a portrait of Zhao Ziyang in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. China has not allowed public expressions on sorrow on the mainland. (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)
On January 19, 2005, the Zhao Ziyang Memorial Committee was officially set up and they published a public announcement. The announcement discussed Zhao Ziyang’s historical accomplishments and mentioned that “Zhao is an outstanding son of the Chinese people.” The Zhao Ziyang Memorial Committee will organize and coordinate commemorating events inside China for Zhao Ziyang and it recently made twelve decisions regarding this issue. Reporter Xia Yubing from the Sound of Hope radio station interviewed Sheng Xue, spokesperson of the Zhao Ziyang Memorial Committee on the related issues.

Reporter: You expect to hold a grand state memorial ceremony in Tiananmen Square on January 30. What is the chance of it being approved by the government? What if the government refused your request? In your announcement you indicated that you would keep appealing. Does that mean you will keep appealing until a state memorial service is allowed?

Sheng Xue: Right. That’s what we are doing. We are indeed making a request to the related departments through the Zhao Ziyang Memorial Committee for a large memorial service. As you just said, most people probably think that such a request is absolutely impossible. Yes, so far the Chinese Communist regime has basically never granted permission for this kind of activity.

But we also know that, sooner or later, a totalitarian regime like the CCP will have to loosen its grip. A society without a legal system will have to change sooner or later. This kind of change and softening up will come about through a process driven by the cumulative effect and impact of many different efforts [in this direction]. What we are doing now is hoping that this proposal and decision for holding a big memorial service, made by the Zhao Ziyang Memorial Committee, will be used as a touchstone for a totalitarian regime like the CCP. Of course, we hope that it will really have an impact through the process and let them realize that they cannot continue with such a totalitarian control forever. It is impossible.

So, we mainly hope for two things: first, we can use this incident as a touchstone to push the process through. Second, we truly hope that we have a certain impact regarding the entire Chinese populace’s response to Zhao’s death and really prompt the CCP to make a concession on this issue.

Reporter: I think if you succeed, it will definitely be the result that the entire Chinese populace wants to see. Also, in your public announcement you talked about the persecution against Zhao Ziyang for the past 15 years and that you want to investigate and trace these criminals who had persecuted Zhao Ziyang. What concrete actions will you be taking regarding this?

Sheng Xue: Actually, a good example is the lawsuit filed against Li Peng by the advocates of democracy movement overseas a few years ago. In fact, right now we can learn a lot from Falun Gong practitioners who have set good examples in overseas countries by filing lawsuits against many Chinese leaders who have taken part in persecuting Falun Gong, for example, Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, and so on. Moreover, we will have designated people trace and investigate those suspects who have persecuted Zhao Ziyang. When the time is ripe, we will file lawsuits against them. We may go as far as submitting our case to international courts or the UN.

Reporter: We hope that we can continue to report on all the activities of your committee. Please continue to contact us for any information about the activities of the committee so that we can report it.

Sheng Xue: We would be happy to do this too!

(Compiled from the Sound of Hope Radio program “Across the World.")

Click here to read the original article in Chinese

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