It Could Have Been Me

From New Statesman:

Fifteen years ago my son Stephen was murdered. To lose one’s child is a devastating blow from which a mother can never fully recover. And to lose one’s child as a result of a violent attack – in the case of my son Stephen, a racist attack – leaves an even deeper wound. But it is the failure to get justice that stops that wound from ever truly healing.

Stephen was only 18 when his life was cut short on a south-east London street. Jiang Jielian was 17 when, on the night of 3 June 1989, he was shot through the heart by Chinese riot police on their way to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Like Stephen, he was left to bleed to death. He was one of the first to be killed when troops “cleared” the pro-democracy protests.

Like me, his mother Ding Zilin wanted to know why her son had been murdered and who had taken the life of an unarmed teenager; and she wanted justice. In August 1989, she met another bereaved mother, Zhang Xianling. Others joined, and the group became the Tiananmen Mothers.

Read also “Tiananmen Mothers” Publish Maps Including Locations of June Fourth Victims’ Deaths from Human Rights in China.


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