June 2 Declaration Hunger Strike Declaration
We protest! We appeal! We repent! We are on hunger strike, What we seek is not death but a true life. Chinese intellectuals must rid themselves of spineless political behavior; they speak out but never act. We now call for the birth of a new political culture!
Our hunger strike is no longer a petition but a protest against martial law. We advocate democratization in China through peaceful means; we oppose all forms of violence. However, we do not fear violent suppression. The imposition of martial law has brought shame to the Communist Party, the government, and the army; it has ruined the accomplishments of ten years of reform in one stroke. China's entire history has been shaped by political violence. Since 1949, slogans such as "taking class struggle as the key link" have pushed to its extremity our traditional psychology of hate and the vicious age-old cycle of violence.
Martial law epitomizes the political culture of class struggle. But hatred can only produce violence and dictatorship. We must build Chinese democracy on a foundation of tolerance and cooperation. Democratic politics is politics without enemies, without hatred. It is a politics of respect, tolerance, compromise, and the electoral process. Prime Minister Li Peng has made major errors and should resign according to democratic procedures- but Li Peng is not our enemy. Even if he steps down he should still be permitted to enjoy the rights of every citizen, including the right to his own ideas.
This student movement has won unprecedented sympathy and support from the whole of society. Up to now, our supporters have lacked a sense of themselves as citizens. They must now begin to try to understand the concept of equal rights- every citizen's rights are equal to those of even the Prime Minister. Citizens' consciousness is not just a sense of justice and sympathy. Everyone must become an active participant in the building of democracy, for civic consciousness is also a matter of shared responsibility and obligations. Everybody is first and foremost a citizen and only second a student, professor, a cadre, a soldier, or even a premier. The removal of one unpopular leader and the entry of another cannot reach the roots of the problem. We need not a savior but a democratic system. So we appeal to society to establish an independent political force as a check to government decision making. The essence of democracy is balance of power- better ten devils to watch each other than one saint with absolute power.
Marches, hunger strikes, and similar actions are democratic ways of expressing the popular will, They are entirely legitimate and reasonable, and in no way constitute "turmoil".
But the government has ignored the basic rights endowed upon every citizen by the constitution and has declared this movement to be a form of turmoil, This stems from their dictatorial notion of politics, and it has bred a series of mistaken decisions and confrontation. Therefore the real agent of turmoil is the government itself. It has been due to the self restraint of the demonstrators that massive bloodshed has been avoided. The government must admit its mistakes. We do not think a correction now would be too late.
The true realization of democracy lies in the democratization of government procedures, in its methods and operation. So we appeal to the Chinese people: get rid of the tradition of pure idealogy making and sloganeering! This is empty rhetoric. It is time to begin turning our talk to democratic practice.
It must be admitted that the idea of democratic government is strange to every Chinese. We must learn from the very beginning- all of us, including the top leaders of the Party and state. In the process, mistakes made by the government and by the people will be inevitable. The key lies in acknowledging our mistakes and correcting them when they occur. By learning from our mistakes we will learn to govern our country democratically.