Founder of "Tiananmen Mothers" Issues Open Letter to President Chirac

March 7, 2005

Citing Voice of America, the Epoch Times reports that Ding Zilin, one of the founders of the "Tiananmen Mothers," has issued an open letter to French president Jacques Chirac saying: "You expressed that the arms embargo imposed on China 15 years ago no longer has any meaning with respect to China today, that it lacks faith in this great nation, that it is an ineffective and unnecessary measure, and that for these reasons France hopes to remove the arms embargo. . . . I and many other families of victims of June fourth [the 1989 Tiananmen massacre)] oppose your position."

Media reports stated that in an interview with China's official news agency Xinhua conducted prior to his departure on a state visit to China, President Chirac said: "We are trying to obtain from the European Union the lifting as soon as possible of an embargo that dates to another time and that no longer corresponds to the reality of things, and thus that we don't approve of.”

The Tiananmen Mothers is a group of women in China whose relatives were killed during the government crackdown on the June 4, 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. The group has been seeking redress from the government. According to Xinhua, Ding, Zhang Xianling, and Huang Jinping were detained for several days at the end of March 2004 for violations of China’s Customs Law and National Security Law. They had allegedly created and reportedly sought to deliver videotaped testimony regarding their efforts to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Police also confiscated T-shirts mailed to them from Hong Kong that bore the Tiananmen Mothers' logo. The three women were released after several days in detention.