The May 16 Declaration

In the minds of the Chinese people, the "May 16 Notice" of 1966 was undoubtedly a symbol of tyranny and darkness.  Today, twenty-three years later, we strongly sense the call of democracy and a bright future.  A patriotic and democratic movement with the students in the vanguard is emerging throughout the nation...This is a great, historic turning point that will determine the fate of China...

At this decisive moment, we - the mainland and overseas Chinese intellectuals - have chosen this day, May 16, 1989 to sign the declaration below, which partly articulates our principles and positions:

1. It is our view that actions taken by certain government and Party leaders have been unwise with regard to the current student movement.  Not long ago there were indications from the government that force would be used to deal with the student movement.  It is worthwhile to reflect on the lessons of history: the Beijing movement of 1919, the Koumingtang government the 1930'a and 1940's, the Gang of Four in the late 1970's and other dictatorships, all used violence to suppress student movements.  Without exception, those who were responsible were labeled "historical disgraces".  History proves: suppressors if student movements come to no good end.  Were the rules of modern democratic politics applies, the will of the people respected, and current trends followed, a democratic and stable China would emerge. Otherwise, a China full of hope would be drawn into an abyss of great turmoil.

2. The unavoidable first step in handling the political crisis democratically is the recognition of the legality of the autonomous student organizations, which were created through a democratic process.  If not, it would be a violation of the provision of freedom of assembly set forth in the constitution. Branding student organizations as illegal would only intensify and aggravate the crisis.

3. The direct cause of this political crisis if the phenomenon of corruption, which the young students have spoken out against so strongly during this movement.  The greatest mistake of the past ten years is a neglect to reform the political structure...The leaders should respect the demands of the people, promote systematic political reform, out an end to special privilege, investigate and ban "official racketeering", and eliminate corruption.

4. During the student movements, news organs, such as Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily, concealed the facts, depriving people of their right to know; the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party suspended the duties if Qin Benli, editor in chief of the World Economic Herald.  These erroneous actions represent an utter disregard for our constitution.  Freedom of the press is an effective method of routing out corruption, maintaining national stability, and promoting social development,  Absolute power that is not subject to supervision inevitable leads to absolute corruption,  When freedom of the press is not put into effect, if the people are not allowed to establish and run newspapers, then all of the wishes and promises concerning liberalization and reform will result in nothing more than a blank sheet of paper,

5. It is wrong to call this student movement an anti-Party, anti-Socialist political insurrection. The fundamental meaning of freedom of speech is to acknowledge and even protect the citizen's right to express different political views.  The essence of the various political movements since the liberation- the Anti-Hu Feng movement, the Anti-Rightist movement, the Cultural Revolution, the Anti-Spiritual Pollution movement and the Anti-Bourgouisie Liberalization campaign- has been to put pressure on and attack different  political views.  A society with only one voice is inherently unstable.  It is necessary for the Party and the government to review the profound lessons of these movements.  Opening all channels of speech, consulting with student, intellectual, and all people on affairs of state is the only way possible to create a stable, and unified political system.

6. The idea of "a handful of" or of "long beard" backstage manipulators is wrong,  Regardless of age, all citizens of the People's Republic of Chine hold an equal political position and have the right to participate and to discuss politics.  Freedom, democracy, and legality have never been granted.  All the people who pursue truth and love should make untiring efforts to attain freedom of thought, of speech, and of the press and the right to gather, organize, march. and demonstrate which are garunteed to every citizen by the constitution. Our nation has not time to lose and can no longer turn back.

Chinese intellectuals, you are full of patriotism and conscience,  Realize your unshirkable historic responsibility and stand out to advocate the democratic process.  Fight for establishing a modern nation with political democracy and a flourishing economy!

Long live the people!

Long live a free and democratic China!