Saturday, June 5, 2010

Remembering the Tiananmen Square massacre 不要忘记天安门大屠杀

Remembering the Tiananmen Square massacre


Chai Ling, a leader in China's democracy movement in 1989, stands before the iconic photo of a man blocking Chinese tanks during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. (Photograph courtesy of Chai Ling)

11:50 a.m., Friday, June 4, 2010

On the eve of the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, three former leaders of the pro-democracy demonstrations gathered Thursday night in Falls Church, Va., to share their memories and experiences since 1989.

Capt. Xiong Yan, Chai Ling and the Rev. Bob Fu were icons of the movement in China. Each remembers leading a group of students into the square, united by the "human spirit yearning for freedom," Mr. Fu said during a prayer service sponsored by China Aid at the History Sanctuary.

And all three recalled the tanks surrounding the square to attack. Mr. Xiong recalled when the first shots were fired, and his fellow students were strewn bleeding across the ground.

"Whenever I close my eyes, that picture will come up again," Mr. Xiong told the gathering.

But instead of trying to make a political statement with their stories, the three former pro-democracy leaders, now successful in their chosen fields, spent the anniversary praying for victims and perpetrators alike.

One by one, they gave their testimonies and led a group of 55 attendees in prayer, speaking in Chinese and English.

Mr. Xiong drew attention to the victims of Tiananmen and their relatives who suffered loss and subsequent discrimination. He asked the congregation to pray for those who were still in pain.

Mrs. Chai, who is starting a nonprofit group to help victims of forced abortion, spoke of the pain women and children in China endure under the communist regime's One-Child Policy.

Mr. Fu described some instances of persecution Chinese face if they choose to become Christians. He particularly stressed the story of Alim, a Uyghur man imprisoned for his faith.

All the while, the three also prayed for those causing the suffering: the soldiers at Tiananmen, the bureaucrats administering the One-Child Policy and the regime's officials.

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