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Testimony of Su Bingxian, mother of Zhao Long

January 31, 1999

Zhao Long, male, born in Shanghai on February 2, 1968, killed at 21. He was waiting for a job assignment before his death, and was working at Longfu Market temporarily. Around 2:00 a.m. on June 4, 1989, he was killed at West Chang'an Boulevard between the Minorities Palace and Liubukou. He was hit three times in the left side of his chest. His ashes are currently kept at home.

Testimony of Su Bingxian, Zhao Long's mother:

Zhao Long did not get into college after high school. After two years of tough experience, he realized how important it is to study. He said, "Ma, I am going to earn some money for tuition." My son was an innocent and happy young man, full of vitality. He was kind hearted, happy to help others, respectful to elders and affectionate to friends. He could play guitar very well, and he could play electric keyboard beautifully as well. He filled our home with vitality and happiness.

In mid May 1989, he was working at Longfu Market. Beijing was not quiet that month. Millions of students and citizens had started protests and rallies against corruption and for democracy. Zhao Long and his friends at the Market were concerned about this movement. They marched in the streets several times. After work, he often went to see his college-students friends on Tiananmen Square, bringing them food and water. One night after martial law was imposed in Beijing, I told him, "Longlong, don't go to the rallies any more, and don't go to Tiananmen Square. You are too young, you don't know how to protect yourself." He said, "Ma, don't worry. I only want to be a witness to history." I realized that he had learned to think critically himself. It seemed as if he suddenly grew up.

After dinner on June 3, 1989, the four of us sat together. I said, "Tonight, no one is allowed to go out." I said that because I felt that the atmosphere was very abnormal when I had been at Xidan intersection before dinner. The voice coming out of the public address system was high-pitched and hoarse, warning citizens against going out. My daughter, Milan, and my husband insisted on going out to see. Zhang Long went out with them as well. I waited for them to come back impatiently. Late at night after 12 o'clock, they still hadn't returned. Suddenly loud gunshots started outside, like dense firecrackers on a New Year's Eve. Surprised people were shouting in the building and hurrying downstairs, discussing whether they were real bullets or rubber ones. I was extremely shocked and scared, following the crowd to Xixie Street intersection across from Xidan Market. There, I saw a wounded young man lying on a tricycle cart next to a telephone booth. His innards were flowing out. On the street, a few tanks sped from north to south. Some young people were rushing to Xidan intersection on their bikes.

Under a street lamp, I spotted Long in his yellow T-shirt. He sped into an alley on a bike. I felt so relieved to see him. I said to my husband, who was standing next to me, "You go home on your bike and tell Longlong not to come out again." My husband said he had parked his bike at the Minorities Palace. It would be difficult to find it with so many people and so many bikes. So he had to go home on foot. After a long while, my husband came back to the intersection and said that Longlong was not at home. The neighbor ladies told him not to leave home, but he said he had to find his mother. So he went out again on his bike. My husband said that Longlong was very alert and nothing would happen to him. At that time, it was about 1:40 a.m. on June 4. My 16-year-old daughter said she had gone to look for her brother at Xidan intersection. But she encountered shooting by the troops led by tanks, going from west to east. She crawled on the ground and hid behind flower beds. There was no way she could get to Chang'an Boulevard to look for her brother. So she withdrew to Xixie Street intersection. Around 5:00 a.m. on June 4, I went to Chang'an Boulevard, hoping to find Long on Tiananmen Square. Maybe he was surrounded there. The troops had submachine guns in their hands, sitting on the ground from the red walls to the Telegraph Building. They were facing west and blocked the route to Tiananmen. When enraged people shouted "Down with the fascists" and ran toward them, the troops would throw incendiary bombs. Then the crowds would withdraw westward. Pools of blood were on the ground. Some had turned dark red. It was extremely tragic and heroic, extremely solemn and moving...

From midnight on June 3 to June 7, we began the long process of searching for Longlong. His friends, old classmates, my friends and my colleagues went to all different places, looking through the big hospitals. At the Posts Hospital, we searched among heaps of bodies, but didn't find Longlong. At the People's Hospital, a list of 140 victims' names was posted at the gate, but Longlong's name was not among them. In Fuxing Hospital, all the bodies had been identified but one. This was kept in an refrigerated container, and there were severe bayonet wounds in the abdomen. The eyes were still open. We didn't find Longlong there.

We guessed that Longlong may have been arrested by the police. So we asked friends in the public security departments and prisons, but they said that they hadn't arrested anyone that night. In early morning on June 6, my husband finally found Longlong's bike at Picai Ally. We decided that he couldn't have gone far away. If something had happened to him, it must have been near that place. But we still didn't find him for a long time. On June 7, a colleague said that the hospital where his daughter was working still had many bodies which were unclaimed. It was a hospital near the Sichuan Restaurant in Xuanwu District. At that time, Chang'an Boulevard was still blocked by soldiers in helmets. News about people being killed by the troops still surfaced from time to time. My husband said he would go first. He had to take a circuitous route, as the Fuxingmen overpass was still full of tanks, but finally arrived at that hospital. The hospital showed him pictures of the dead. My husband decided that body No.2 was Zhao Long. Then he was led to the mortuary. Nine bodies which had not yet been identified were on the cement floor. The face and lower torso of body No. 2 was distorted beyond recognition. But judging from the blood stained yellow T-shirt, light blue jeans and white Nike sneakers, it was Zhao Long. He had been shot three times in the left side of his chest. According to the hospital, he had been dead when he was brought to the hospital after 2:00 a.m. on June 4. A coach from Bejing Steel was present and said he and his friends had taken Longlong there on a cart. He died near Liubukou.

On the afternoon of June 7, we covered Longlong's body with the pure white quilt sewn by my sister. They were afraid that I could not stand it, and did not let me near Longlong's body. I cried, "I once studied dissection. I'm not afraid, I want to see my son." My son's body was brought out and put down beside me. My daughter knelt down beside her brother's body and touched the floor with her head. She wailed, "I'm sorry, Brother, we should have been together that night."

On June 8, we went to Babaoshan for Long's cremation and to see him off. At that time, the security was still tight on Changan Street. On the two sides of the street, there were many soldiers wearing helmets and carrying submachine guns. When we got to Babaoshan, it was already after 6:00 p.m. in the evening. The entrance gate was closed. We called to open the gate. The worker on duty was very sympathetic, and said, "We will take in all comers." Immediately thereafter, a few other vehicles drove in carrying bodies. Many bodies were laid in the yard and in the hall. The worker let us put Long's body in the hallway. The tragic scene is still fresh before me now.

One of the dead was an elderly woman from Sichuan. She had been killed by gunshots on a balcony in a high-rise building at Muxudi. Her son came to Beijing from Sichuan to bury her. He said to me in tears, "Big sister, could you please take two pictures for my mother." I took several pictures for that old lady who had died so tragically but was lying on the cart in peace. The old lady's son left me his address in Wanxian, Sichuan. Unfortunately, the pictures were exposed to light while being developed. Three days later, we took Long's ashes and kept them at Laoshan Cemetery. That was on June 11, and there were many people there that day to place the ashes.

Thereafter, we went to Laoshan to mourn every year. In the first half of 1992, the police station sent someone to demanded that we remove his ashes from Laoshan Cemetery. Otherwise, they would dispose of them altogether. Although we protested vehemently, we were still not allowed to keep the ashes there. We could do nothing but take Longlong's ashes and keep them at home until today.

Su Bingxian