Jiang Peikun Is Dead: Must Ding Zilin Wait Another 26 Years?

A commentary by Bao Tong
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china-ding-zilin-jiang-peikun-undated-photo-305.jpg Ding Zilin and her husband Jiang Peikun in an undated photo.

Professor Jiang Peikun has died in the midst of unresolved grief and regret.

He and his wife, Ding Zilin, shared a common cause. Their goal was both concrete and audacious: they wanted the truth about the wrongs done to their son, high school student Jiang Jielian, and to countless other victims [on June 4, 1989].

They fought for the rights of those who died [in the military crackdown on the Tiananmen student-led democracy protests] and they fought justice.

It is not asking too much to search for the truth and to seek justice on this earth.

Under such a law-abiding regime as we have in the People's Republic of China, it shouldn't be illegal either.

I have known both Jiang and Ding since 1997. Every time we met, the only thing we ever talked about was their hopes for the fulfillment of their dream of bringing the right to life and freedom from terror to all of China's citizens, young and old alike.

This reasonable, legal dream of Jiang's and Ding's, this smallest of demands, has remained an unattainable one to this day.

That is why, in the past 26 years, we have seen a proliferation of Tiananmen-like incidents, big and small, continue to emerge in towns and villages across the country.

Jiang's and Ding's aspirations have been blighted by the tragedy of a China that is "ruled according to law."

On the day that Jiang Peikun died, China's president told the United Nations with pride: "All of China's women will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams."

And so I pray from the bottom of my heart that Professor Ding Zilin will have the opportunity to fulfill hers.

Or will she have to wait patiently for another 26 years?

Translated by Luisetta Mudie.

Bao Tong, political aide to the late ousted premier Zhao Ziyang, is currently under house arrest at his home in Beijing.


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