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A letter of severe protest and urgent appeal

October 27, 1998

Re: The illegal freezing of June 4 humanitarian assistance funds by the Beijing State Security Bureau


  • The Chinese government
  • U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson
  • The leaders and parliamentarians of all countries
  • Amnesty International
  • Human Rights Watch/Asia
  • Human Rights in China
  • Other international human rights organizations
  • The Chinese exchange students, scholars, overseas Chinese and foreign friends in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have been involved in the humanitarian assistance of the victims of June 4

This summer a group of Chinese exchange students in Germany had arranged for a check of 11,620 Deutsche marks (approximately US$7,025) to be delivered to China for the purpose of providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the June 4 Massacre. I was asked to complete all the necessary paperwork at the Bank of China to cash the check and distribute the funds to the families of the victims of June 4. On September 11, I applied for approval to clear the check at the Xishan branch of the Bank of China, in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province. (Note: The approval process for foreign checks normally takes one month in China.) On October 26, when I returned to the Xishan branch of the Bank of China to obtain the funds, I was told: "This money remittance has been frozen by order of the Beijing State Security Bureau." The Wuxi city branch of the Bank of China presented me with the "Stop-Payment Notice of the Beijing State Security Bureau, 1998 Beijing State Security Bureau Stop-Payment Order No. 084. This notice read:

Due to investigation and pursuant to Article 4 and Article 117 of the Criminal Procedure Law* of the People's Republic of China, stop payment on the below-mentioned remittance for six months (from October 8, 1998 to April 7, 1999). At the end of this period or upon cancellation of this order, payment will be permitted.

Name of depositor: Ding Zilin

In the last several years, all those involved in the humanitarian assistance of June 4 victims, both contributors overseas and recipients within China know that the name "Ding Zilin" has become a collective code name for the victims of June 4. The humanitarian assistance contributions received under the name of "Ding Zilin" are not considered the personal funds of Ding Zilin. I, Ding Zilin, have simply been entrusted by contributors to forward funds to the victims' families. Similarly, this freezing of funds by the Beijing State Security Bureau is not a personal incident of Ding Zilin, but rather an incident regarding all the victims of June 4. The families of the victims of June 4 are Chinese citizens. They have the right to receive humanitarian assistance from both inside and outside of China. The freezing of these funds seriously violates the legal rights of Chinese citizens.

As early as the beginning of 1994, I personally expressed the following sentiments in an appeal for aid to June 4 victims that I addressed to friends in China and abroad:

"All aid given to June 4 victims, regardless of origin, are considered to be of purely humanitarian nature, with no ties to politics or political conditions."

Presently in China, it is illegal to establish an organization for humanitarian assistance. Those who wish to provide humanitarian assistance can only rely on individuals. Currently, I, Ding Zilin, am willing to take the full responsibility of transferring contributions to victims' families and ensuring that funds go directly and completely to those in need.

However, over the years, the Chinese government and its State Security Bureau have been completely blind to international human rights standards. They have repeatedly badgered and interfered with these purely humanitarian activities. They have confiscated and denied acceptance of contribution checks; refused the wire transfers of contributors; seized the receipts of aid recipients; threatened victims' families that have received contributions; and detained and interrogated overseas contributors during their visits to China. They have even spread rumors to slander my name. This time they have gone so far as to openly order the bank to freeze humanitarian assistance funds.

All of these cases are government actions, for which the authorities have no proper explanation. This latest incident occurred following the Chinese government's signing of the two international human rights covenants, revealing the extreme hypocrisy of the Chinese government's promise to undertake improvements in human rights.

The June 4 Massacre in 1989 has left thousands of elderly parents without sons and daughters; wives without husbands; and children without mothers and fathers. June 4 also left many permanently injured so that they are unable to make a living. In the last nine years, these individuals have not been given comfort or compensation from the government, but on the contrary, have borne the brunt of inhumane and unjust treatment. Many elderly parents cannot afford the high costs of medical care. Many victims' families have no way to pay for the education of their children. Many victims' families and many of those injured on June 4 are directly facing the difficulties of being laid-off and unemployed. If the government still speaks of humanitarianism, how can it bear to freeze and confiscate the funds which support these innocent victims? In 1989 the government killed their loved ones, could the government now want to torment them to death?

In order for me to uphold my responsibilities to both the contributors and recipients of humanitarian assistance, I strongly demand that the government authorities immediately end all actions that violate the legal rights of June 4 victims' families. They should, to begin with, unfreeze the humanitarian assistance funds and guarantee that such incidents will never happen again. I speak in the capacity of a mother of a victim killed on June 4 and in the capacity of a Chinese citizen who has voluntarily agreed to engage in the humanitarian assistance of June 4 victims.

I appeal to all the people in the world who have a sense of justice and compassion to give serious attention to the Chinese government's malevolent practices which scorn human rights, humanity and humanitarianism.

I call upon the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of all countries and all international human rights organizations to defend international human rights standards and take up practical measures to press for the proper resolution of this incident.

Ding Zilin
October 27, 1998
Wuxi, Zhejiang

*Criminal Procedure Law (1996)

Article 4: State security organs shall handle, according to law, criminal cases prejudicial to state security and shall exercise the same function and power of the public security organs.

Article 117: According to the needs of criminal investigation, a people's procuratorate or a public security organ, according to relevant regulations, may inquire about or freeze a criminal suspect's bank deposits or remittance.

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