Official silence has been maintained about the incident ever since, with nothing written in school textbooks and public discussion virtually taboo.
The Tiananmen Mothers routinely issue open letters urging the country's leaders to account for the deaths. They have for years called for a full investigation, compensation to victims' families and punishment of those responsible for the military crackdown on student-led protesters. Members say the government has never responded.
Ya's son Ya Aiguo was shot in the head by martial-law troops in Beijing, according to an obituary the support group posted on its website. A testimony by Ya Aiguo's mother on the same site says that at the time, the 22-year-old had been waiting to be assigned a job and had gone out shopping with his girlfriend the evening he was killed.
His father killed himself out of despair and to protest the government's long-standing refusal to address the grievances of the victims' relatives, said Zhang Xianling, who knew Ya and his wife from the support group.
"The government's cold-blooded behavior has caused this tragic ending," said Zhang, who lost a 19-year-old son in the crackdown.
"I hope this incident will make the government circumspect and that such a thing will not happen again," said Zhang. "In this, the government has a responsibility. It owes a life now."
The Chinese government has never fully disclosed what happened when the military crushed the weeks-long Tiananmen protests, which it branded a "counterrevolutionary riot." The government has never provided a credible account nor allowed an independent investigation into the events and the fatalities.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Associated Press writer Gillian Wong, reporting from Beijing, China, in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10261542