Five former prisoners of June Fourth from Zhejiang Province, Wu Gaoxing (å´é«?å…´), Chen Longde (é??é¾?å¾•), Wang Donghai (ç??ä¸?æµ•), Mao Guoliang (æ¯?å?½è?¯), and Ye Wenxiang (å¶æ–?ç?¸), have requested Human Rights in China (HRIC) to release their open letter to Chinese leaders seeking economic redress.
They point out in the open letter that after the June Fourth crackdown, the Chinese government arrested a large number of participants in the 1989 Democracy Movement, and the majority of those were sentenced to prison or Reeducation through Labor (RTL). Many were given heavy sentences, and some were even executed. Even though most of these imprisoned have served their time and have been released, they still bear the label of "June Fourth thugs." Many of them have been stripped of their work insurance and retirement benefits. They do not have housing and cannot find work. The years in prison have caused them to be in poor health but they cannot get medical treatment—some can't even get the most basic insurance. The open letter calls on the Chinese government to release those June Fourth political prisoners who are still in jail as soon as possible. As for those already released, the letter urges the government to guarantee them social rights and benefits, and help them solve the problems regarding their livelihood, medical treatment, retirement, and survival. Following is the open letter in English translation by HRIC.
Open Letter to Central Government Seeking Right of Economic Redress for June Fourth Victims
Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao:
We come from four different districts in Zhejiang Province, and are victims of the June Fourth Incident of 1989 and their fellow prisoners. Twenty years ago, each one of us had a secure job and a steady income, but since our imprisonment after the June 4, 1989, crackdown, we not only lost our jobs, we were also stripped of the cumulative benefits of our past labor and lost our pension rights. Of the five of us, some are now past retirement age, yet have no source of income to cover living expenses and no medical insurance; others, although they have not yet reached retirement age, are middle-aged and have no choice but to drift from place to place doing temporary manual labor to support their families, while living apart from their wives. In this society that claims to be harmonious, we have become "first-class citizens of three have-nots": we have no regular jobs, no pensions, and no health insurance; if we get sick, we can only wait to die, and all this just because twenty years ago we were sentenced for political reasons!
For the past 20 years, the civic figures among us have been issuing endless appeals to the central government demanding redress of June Fourth, like cuckoo birds crying until they spit blood. One of us, Chen Longde, ended up paying a heavy price for those appeals: unable to bear prison mistreatment, he jumped out of a window attempting suicide, broke the femur in his right thigh and suffered permanent disability. But the government has been afraid all along that redressing June Fourth would open the floodgates, and so a belief among the people that the party is not qualified to redress June Fourth has gradually become the mainstream point of view and the June Fourth Issue has turned into a Gordian knot. We are presently no longer concerned with how the government which is held in power by the noble party will evaluate June Fourth politically, but what we must emphasize is that an individual's political problems should be separated from economic problems. A person cannot be deprived of the fundamental rights of survival and development because of political problems. In any case, we have accrued benefits of our past labor, and this accrual, like a bank deposit, cannot be expropriated. We believe that, including those among us who have received prison sentences in the June Fourth crackdown, we all have the right to enjoy the comfort of our old age based on the accrued benefits of our past labor, and the right to return to our original workplaces to resume our jobs; this is incontrovertible.
We therefore request of you the following:
First, let all previously employed June Fourth victims who have already passed the retirement age retire based on their work at their original work units; as for those June Fourth victims who did not originally belong to a work unit and did not purchase old age insurance, have the government assume the responsibility to provide for their old age.
Second, regarding all previously employed June Fourth victims who have not yet reached retirement age and whose original work units still exists, have the government step forward to arrange their return, provided they wish so themselves, to their original work units and implement equal pay for equal work; as for those victims whose original work units have been dissolved, resolve the issue of compensation and social security in the manner accorded other employees at their former units. We believe that separating political issues from economic issues and resolving economic problems left behind by June Fourth case by case is a good way to resolve conflict and promote social stability, and may gradually untie the June Fourth Gordian knot; it is a way to provide a soft landing of the June Fourth Issue while maintaining social stability. We think that this is consistent with the wishes shared by both those responsible for the June Fourth crackdown and its victims, and that it is, naturally, an aspiration shared by all people of good conscience. Moreover, it completely conforms to the guidelines of the noble Party's major policy to construct a harmonious society. We hope the Central Government will seriously consider our suggestions and requests!
Wu Gaoxing (å´é«?å…´), former Director, Political Affairs Department, Zhejiang Taizhou Supply and Marketing School (now Taizhou Vocational and Technical College).
Address: Linhai shi, Mishai xiang, #13, 201 shi, Postal Code 317000, Telephone 134 8622 9669
Chen Longde (é??é¾?å¾•), former Zhejiang Aluminum Products Factory worker
Address: Hangzhou City Qingchun lu, Xiaoyou li, #9, 502 shi, Postal Code 310003, Telephone (0571) 8702 9682
Wang Donghai (ç??ä¸?æµ•), former Manager, Wenlan Market in Hangzhou
Address: Hangzhou shi, Dushi Shuixiang Shuibi Yuan, # 8, 1703 shi, Postal Code 310030, Telephone (0571) 8835 4709
Mao Guoliang (æ¯?å?½è?¯), former teacher Huzhou City, Anji No. 4 High School
Address: Anji xian, Dipu zhen, Taoyuan xincun, 1 qu, 10 chuang, 1 dan yuan, 301 shi, Postal Code 313300, Telephone 150 8772 0778
Ye Wenxiang (å¶æ–?ç?¸), former accountant, Jinhua Lanxi City Agricultural Bank
Address: Lanxi shi, Lanjiang zhen, Yunshan xincun, #91, 205 shi, Postal Code 321100, Telephone 150 8501 8020
Secretariat of the CCP Central Committee