Ann Noonan Speaks at Beijing Spring’s Tiananmen Square Massacre Memorial

Beijing Spring 2018 Ann noonan

Beijing Spring’s Annual Conference on June 5, 2018 at the Flushing Sheraton Hotel in New York marked the 29th Anniversary of China’s government’s bloody crackdown on students during the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Tiananmen survivors, scholars and human rights advocates crowded the conference hall. This year’s honoree is Mr. Zhang Lin. Speakers included CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan and CUSIB Advisory Board Member Jing Zhang, President of Women’s Rights in China.

Below is a copy of Ann Noonan’s remarks:

Thank you to the organizers of Beijing Spring for welcoming me to speak at this 29th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

It is so wonderful to see Zhang Lin here, after his many years in prison in China. And special thanks always to my friend, President of Women’s Rights in China and Board Member for the Committee for US International Broadcasting, Jing Zhang.

I’d like to speak about the need to protect the Memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 29 years since Americans watched our televisions as the Chinese military tanks rolled in on thousands and thousands of students who loved their country. These students had been peacefully demonstrating for 7 weeks in Beijing, advocating for democracy and basic human rights.

The world watched the Tiananmen Square Massacre unfold. It was brutal.

Like many people, I was horrified to read the report released this past December by Britain’s government, stating that the Chinese army crackdown on the Tiananmen Square Protest killed at least 10,000 people – a number far above previous estimates that ranged from a few hundred to more than a thousand.

Through the years, I have continued to pray for the souls who perished, and for those who survived.

In the more than 20 years of work I did with Harry Wu, I had the chance to meet Laogai Survivors and Tiananmen survivors.

I believe that many people here today will agree with me that Harry Wu was tireless freedom fighter and a strong supporter of a peaceful and prosperous China. We at the Committee for US International Broadcasting were honored to have him on our Board.

Through the years, Harry Wu stressed the historical significance of victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, as well as their families – especially the Tiananmen Mothers.

In fact, Harry Wu insisted that a permanent exhibit about the Tiananmen Square Massacre exist in the Lagoai Museum in Washington, DC.

In 2008, Harry Wu opened the first and only Laogai Museum in the world to preserve the memory of Laogai victims, as well as to raise awareness that there are numerous ongoing abuses committed by the Chinese Communist regime against its own people.

Museums like the Laogai Museum and the Holocaust Museum are very important because not only do they acknowledge crimes against humanity, but they also preserve documents and artifacts so no one can deny that these crimes took place.

You may have heard that a Lynching Memorial opened this past April right here in the United States of America, in Montgomery Alabama.

The American Lynching Memorial is dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.

I think everyone will agree that it is essential for the Lynching Memorial to remain open here in the United States, to remind Americans and any visitors from anywhere in the world that America must confront its past legacy of slavery and oppression of Black Americans.

It is true that after the forced closing of the world’s only Tiananmen Museum in Hong Kong, the Laogai Museum in Washington, DC remains only museum in the world with a permanent exhibit about the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

The Laogai Museum has been closed for the past year and a half.

When people ask me when the Laogai Museum will re-open, I have no answer. What can I say? I don’t know, but I imagine the current Board Members do know.

The current board members owe everyone in this room an explanation about what is happening to the exhibits and the documents that are an important part of world history.

These include: artifacts and documents that Harry Wu collected and preserved about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, about forced abortion and forced sterilization, about organ harvesting, about religious persecution, and China’s vast Laogai system – that seems to be expanding today as China’s government imprisons hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims.

These documents and exhibits, like the Memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, are an important part of world history. They need to be protected and preserved, and made available to the public.

America and China must never forget the legacy of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, nor should we let the legacy of the Laogai Museum fade into oblivion.

We must refuse to join Beijing’s campaign to enforce an international and generational amnesia and deny this and other parts of China’s history.

And finally, we in the United States of America must continue to stand by the Tiananmen protesters who have survived, and continue to support the Tiananmen Mothers and their call for justice.

Thank you very much.

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