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An army fired on the innocent people.
I was 33 years old when I photographed "Tank Man."
In a photograph, you can record the moment forever.
My name is Jeff Widener.
Well I was the Southeast Asia picture editor for Associated Press at the time.
There was such a light feeling in the air.
It was like a spring day, I remember it was beautiful.
And it was incredible because you see this "Goddess of Democracy" statue
that they were building,
which is basically a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
And it's facing off directly across the street from the great Mao portrait
at the Forbidden City.
I think everybody was feeling this wonderful feeling
that they really hadn't experienced before,
which is basically called freedom.
Well the first time I noticed that,
I guess you could call, the tempo had changed was in the evening of June 3rd.
It was quite late — I would say around 10:00 p.m.
I noticed there was something burning in the street,
and it was moving very erratically,
and there were protesters chasing after it.
And I reached in my pocket and I was looking inside
for my other lens and I couldn't find it.
And that only left me with a wide angle lens,
so I literally had to get so close that I was part of the story.
You know, it was really very scary.
And then all of a sudden, somebody is pulling on my camera.
Pulling on my jackets and pushing me.
All of a sudden the mob is turning on me.
And I think they're going to kill me, they're just going to tear me to ribbons.
I reached into my pocket, grab an American passport,
lifted it over my head and just start screaming "American! American!"
Some guy came over, took my passport, examined it.
And then he said, "You photo, you photo."
And he's pointing down at a dead soldier curled up on the ground.
So I take one photo.
I was crawling through the legs of these protesters.
And I got back up and I was hit with a rock.
Everything went black.
And I heard laughter.
I will never forget the laughter.
Pedal back to the office.
There was a sound of gunfire in the distance.
As I passed by the Tiananmen Square,
I noticed there were red tracers flying over
from the distance. They were over arching over
Tiananmen Square.
And I was thinking to myself, "Why are they shooting off fireworks?"
It was only after a small grain-sized speck hit me in the face,
and I realized it was large caliber machine gun fire.
And I guess that kind of kicked me into high gear to reality.
This was a incredible event that happened
that was preserved for,
for history.
And I was just the guy,
the lucky guy who got to push the button.
Lot of people ask me what do we know about democracy?
We live in a communist totalitarianism.
We didn't know much but we do know democracy through
lack of democracy, lack of freedom.
I was 21 years old. I was in Beijing Normal University.
It's a very serious student movement.
All the decisions we took was very cautiously debated.
And then we thought through our action, we can alter,
we can push for China, that we are also feeling excited,
that we are writing history, especially when we had
the support of the Chinese people.
Every time we took a mass demonstration,
the people stand along
the street to support us.
Logic of any mass movement throughout the history is always the same
that you apply pressure and hopefully your government
can make a right decision.
We started a hunger strike knowing that this leads to our deaths.
We were dying.
The world know what happened later. It's a massacre.
There's no other word to describe June 4th.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people — students and civilians — died in that day.
I did manage to escape with the help of Chinese people and Hong Kong supporters.
We were all survivors of a massacre trying to put our spirits together.
As like an average person in China, the parents always tell you,
"Don't talk about politics.".
I was just one year old when the Tiananmen massacre happened.
I was living with my parents in a village in Zhejiang province in south China.
Beijing only existed on TV.
I graduated from high school in 2005.
I was admitted to the university,
and there were three months between high school and the university,
and there was nothing to do, so I spent a lot of time in the Internet cafe.
You know, the parents and teachers, they don't like you to go to the Internet cafe because
they feel, you know, it's bad influence. But we all sneak there.
Randomly by chance, I got to know about Tiananmen.
When you see this like something that is so different from what you
learned your entire life, it takes a long time to actually process it.
Why the students went to the street to protest, what they were asking for?
Why did the government respond in that way?
Why nobody talked about it, and why I didn't hear anything until, you know,
after I graduated from high school.
I remember there was one sentence, half a sentence, mentioned that event.
It was like a little dispute.
You don't get anything from the textbook by reading a half a sentence.
So there was nothing that it triggered in me to look into it.
But you know when I was in Internet cafe, I saw
the pictures, the graphic, you know, blood.
They don't want you to question, they don't want you
to look into what happened.
They wanted to wipe that off people's memory.
There was a picture of a young man, and he was wearing
a t-shirt which said,
"My life is yours. My love is yours."
And I think it's just extremely moving.
You know, it really says about those people,
those young students, they,
the reason they protest is because
the love between each other and the love for the country.
And I love their faces. It's so innocent and unjaded.
And like this aspiration, this wanting and desire for a better society,
a better, a freer and more just China, is just beautiful.
My name's Louisa Lim. I wrote a book called
"The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited."
The biggest revelation was about the events that happen in Chengdu, which is in Sichuan Province.
And there had been a crackdown there as well.
And the government had admitted it.
And I simply hadn't known any of that when I started the reporting.
There was a square called Tianfu Square,
which became known as Little Tiananmen,
and that was also, you know,
there was a hunger strike there.
It was occupied by students.
And on the morning of June the 4th,
it was cleared quite peacefully.
But afterwards when people in Chengdu found out
what had happened in Beijing,
they came back out onto the streets again,
and this time it was in protest against
the bloody crackdown in Beijing.
The government sent in People's Armed Police.
People ended up quite badly injured.
There were a number of people that were killed that day,
but it was the start of basically three days of running battles on the streets of Chengdu
between these security forces and ordinary people who
were so angered by the government's actions.
A lot of people were rounded up in front of Western eyewitnesses.
They saw two army trucks being driven into the hotel, and these bodies being thrown into the trucks.
And, you know, the way they described them, they would say like "meat," like "rubbish."
I mean, it reminds us about the nature
of what happened in 1989,
that this was not just something
that happened in Beijing.
There were protests all over the country.
It was a seven-week-long popular movement that really seized
the whole country by storm.
Students and people pushing the Communist Party to change.
And I think over time, in the West we tend to forget
that people died elsewhere.
So I just think it sort of corrects the historical record a bit.


Opinion | China tried to erase the memory of the Tiananmen massacre. These people won't forget.

347 タグ追加 保存
Jade Weng 2019 年 6 月 5 日 に公開
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