Tiananmen 20 Years Later: A Survivor’s Story
Audra Ang of the Associated Press shares the story of Qi Zhiyong’s 1989 Tian’anmen experience:
The student-led protests in the heart of the Chinese capital had gone on for weeks, an extraordinary call for political freedom and an end to government corruption. Sparked by the April 15 death of a beloved Communist Party chief deposed by hard-liners, they were mostly peaceful, even after martial law was declared on May 20.
But late on June 3, 1989, the government lost its patience.
“I saw people being run over. Blood sprayed everywhere,” says Qi, then a 33-year-old construction worker. “The tanks kept moving, as if the people weren’t there. My hair stood on end. I was chilled to the bone.”
Witnessing the crackdown and losing his leg transformed Qi from a loyal Communist Party supporter into an activist with a simple goal: speaking out about the events which the leadership has all but erased from history.