Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beating to Submission

The authorities are worried about June 4. They wonder what people have in store to mark the anniversary that rocked the leadership and the world 20 years ago.

But the government will do all it can to suppress any mention of it.

At this year's Qing Ming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Day on Saturday, Beijing encouraged its people to not only pay respects to their ancestors, but to also remember those victims who died in the May 12 earthquake.

However, one elderly man chose to remember other victims.

Sun Wenguang, 75, is a retired professor of Shandong University. He chose to mark Qing Ming by paying respects to Zhao Ziyang, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China who visited the students during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, and to Zhang Zhixin, a dissident who was killed in the Cultural Revolution.

Not only was Sun's taxi followed by nine cars sent by the police, but he was later attacked, where the assailants threw him down a two-metre drop and brutally beat the old man, breaking three of his ribs.

He is now recovering in hospital, reportedly unable to turn his head, but is in stable condition.

Sun is no stranger to surveillance and trouble -- he has been imprisoned many times in over 10 years for his opinions on political issues and has written books that have been published in Hong Kong.

Why are the authorities so scared of this elderly man? Are physical beatings really necessary?

This only shows the government is still doing everything it can to hide the truth, which will eventually come out whether it likes it or not.

While 1989 is a grave mistake that will never bring back the lives lost, China needs to come to terms with this dark event in history. Only then can the country really begin its ascent onto the world stage as an accountable power.

No comments: