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Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

Tiananmen Mothers

The Tiananmen Mothers is a group of Chinese democracy activists promoting a change in the Chinese Communist Party’s position over the suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. It is led by Ding Zilin, a retired university professor whose teenage son was shot and killed by government troops during the protests.

The group—comprised of the parents, friends and relatives of victims of the massacre—formed in September 1989 when Ding, along with her husband Jiang Peikun, met another mother, Zhang Xianling, whose 19-year-old son was also killed on June 4, 1989. As well as campaigning, the group also disseminates information about the events to the public, including through the internet. Currently, the group consists of relatives of 125 individuals killed during the protests. For her efforts, Ding has been hailed as an “advocate for the dead.” a few dozen families meet together regularly on every anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, despite government intimidation. Ding and other members have occasionally been detained by authorities as a result of their actions