On June 4, 1989, hundreds of thousands of brave Chinese students, workers, and citizens from all walks of life stood up for fundamental freedoms and aspirations for democracy—and thousands of demonstrators were brutally murdered in the streets of Beijing and across the country by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Tiananmen Square Massacre and its aftermath marked the darkest days for the democratic movement in China, and decades later, the CCP continues to deny its role in spilling the blood of its own people.
In the 33 years since the June Fourth massacre, dissidents and democrats around the world have worked to keep the spirit of the Chinese democracy movement alive. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is proud to have long supported many of these efforts as part of our mission to advance and strengthen democratic values and institutions. [Read more about NED’s grantmaking in Asia.]
The struggle for freedom in China has reached a new and crucial phase, as the CCP escalates campaigns of repression and persecution of its own citizens, both at home and abroad. The world has witnessed the CCP’s genocide targeting the Uyghur people, their language, and their culture. Thanks to courageous activists and journalists, the world is well informed about the cradle-to-grave oppression of Tibetans, the devastating crackdown on the democracy movement in Hong Kong, and the relentless attacks against human rights defenders and dissidents across China. The CCP has developed, used, and exported sophisticated new tools and methods to surveil, censor, harass, and otherwise target anyone who disagrees with the Party line, including those who sought safety in exile. [Learn more about patterns of authoritarian influence through this interactive Sharp Power Research Portal.]
Since 1984, NED has supported efforts to promote democratic values and institutions in China, to protect fundamental rights and freedoms, and demand accountability for human right abuses. Standing for these values and siding with democratic activists has made NED and its partners a target of authoritarian governments and propagandists who seek to repress all opposition and to expand their tactics of intimidation. These tactics betray the fear of regimes, who despite wealth and military might, resort to these ploys when confronted by the desire of their own people for democratic rights and freedoms.
Today, NED honors the lives lost to the CCP’s brutal campaign of violence and political repression. “NED stands in solidarity with those forced into exile yet who continue to face intimidation, threats, and coercion from brazen CCP operatives outside of China,” said NED President and Chief Executive Officer Damon Wilson. “We reaffirm our commitment to our many partners across the region and the new generations and communities who carry on the spirit of the Tiananmen Democracy Movement against tremendous odds in pursuit of a free, open, and democratic China.”