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Testimony of Zhang XX, wounded

January 31, 1999

Zhang XX, male, born on April 3, 1961. An instructor at an unnamed Beijing college.

Testimony of Zhang XX, wounded:

At 6:00 p.m. on June 3, 1989, I set out for Tiananmen Square with two friends to see the Goddess of Democracy. When we arrived at 8:00 p.m., there were many people in the Square. The Goddess of Democracy rose like a tower on the northern side of Tiananmen. After seeing the statue, we listened to speeches and then walked once around the square. We heard that people had blocked off a military supply truck at Xidan earlier that day in the afternoon, and we decided to stop by Xidan to have a look before going back to school. At around 11:00 p.m, we suddenly heard a loud mechanical noise from Qianmen Road. All I could see was a speeding armed personnel carrier coming north from Qianmen Road. People scattered in two directions as the vehicle sped around in the crowd. It was horrifying. The vehicle ultimately sped off to the west.

We were still set on going to Xidan. Once we got to Liubukou, we left our bikes behind and proceeded on foot because there were too many people. We arrived at Xidan at around 12:00 midnight. At the main intersection, we saw several buses being used as barricades. At that time, gunshots were heard from the east and west. The scene was chaotic. People who had run from the east shouted, "The PLA has opened fire!" At this point my friends and I had already lost each other. I saw some people carrying a wounded person, and I ran westward with them. The gunshots were getting closer and closer. Suddenly, I heard a shot by my leg, and I fell instantly to the ground. My right leg lost all feeling, and I knew that wasn't good. Certain that I was shot, I cried out. There were some students wearing badges from Beijing Normal University who picked me up and brought me further westward. We stopped at a courtyard. The students said that we had to wait until the troops had passed to make our next move. They asked me where I was hurt. I began to experience pain in my leg. From the front, my leg looked extremely swollen, but no wound was visible. I said that I was hit while running, so the wound should be at the back of my leg. I felt the back of my leg and my hand was covered in blood. (Sure enough, the troops had randomly fired into the crowd of scattering people.)

After a while, when the sound of gunfire had passed, someone found a wooden door. They put me on the door and carried me to a hospital. Because there were too many wounded there, my wound was simply bandaged, and I was sent to Xuanwu Hospital. While in the main hall of Xuanwu Hospital, a reporter from the Workers' Daily offered his help. I asked him to contact my family.

After that, I was sent to the operating room for my first round of surgery-to clean and stitch up the wound. The wound was right in the middle of my right thigh, and was the size of a fist. I lost about two centimeters of bone, and the flesh was turned out. The X-ray showed that many slivers of metal remained in my flesh. Evidently, I had been hit by an exploding bullet. Two weeks later, I underwent a second operation, to set the bone and to have a skin graft. I was hospitalized for a month.

Because I had no feeling in my right leg and consequently could not move my foot, I returned to Xuanwu Hospital for an examination. They discovered that my lower pelvic nerve had been severed. Therefore, in December 1989, I returned to the hospital for a third operation, a nerve transplant. A month after the surgery, I developed an acute bone marrow inflammation. For this reason, I went to Xiangshan Chinese Medicine Hospital. According to the doctor's request, I had to remove the steel plate [that was used to set my leg] before undergoing treatment. This was my fourth operation.

I left the hospital in May 1990. Because of my weakened constitution, my recovery was very slow. The adhesion of the flesh on my right thigh was very serious. My left leg was extremely stiff and I could not bend it. In February 1991, I underwent surgery to resolve the adhesion, removing a portion of the muscles surrounding the hip bone and femur. After this procedure, I could bend my leg to a 90 degree angle. I left the hospital after a month. But because muscle was removed, the joint on my right leg has no strength. In 1991, I fractured my leg, and I returned to Jishuitan Hospital to undergo my fifth operation, to have the bone set again. After the surgery, I was recuperating until 1994. I have been working since that time. Altogether, I've been hospitalized for over a year to treat my injury.

I was married on April 2, 1989, just two months before I was shot. My injury has caused a great amount of pain for my family, my wife's family, and most especially for my wife herself. It was my wife who cared for me during the course of my many operations. We were not able to experience the joy of newlyweds. To this day, there is a steel plate in my thigh, and my right foot has no feeling. My right leg has no strength. I can't squat, run or jump. If I'm not careful when I'm walking, I easily fall over. My injury has caused much trouble for my professional and personal life.

Zhang XX

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