Soldier’s Story a New Look at Tiananmen

Zhang Shijun, a former soldier at the Tiananmen Square crackdown during the student demonstrations in 1989, has added his voice to calls for an investigation as the 20th anniversary approaches.

“I feel like my spirit is stuck there on the night of June 3,” Zhang, 40, said in an interview at his home in the dusty northern city of Tengzhou, referring to the date in 1989 when the final assault began.

Zhang’s tortured memories have gained a global audience among China‘s dissident community in the weeks since he posted an open letter online to the Communist Party leader, President Hu Jintao. In it, he relates some of what he saw when posted on the night of June 3-4, along with an account of the persecution he underwent after asking for an early discharge, and his belief that China must eventually clear its collective conscience of the tragic events.

“The responsibility can’t just be laid on the military,” Zhang said. “It’s really the responsibility of all Chinese.”… Zhang said he hoped his example would inspire more ex-soldiers to come forward and form a network, but appeared reluctant to cast himself as an organizer, perhaps wary of the party’s tendency to single out perceived opposition ringleaders for harsher punishment.

A BBC report from June 4, 1989:

See also past CDT posts on the 1989 protests.

March 18, 2009 10:05 PM
Posted By:
Categories: Human Rights, Politics