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Testimony of Zhou Shuzhuang, mother of Duan Changlong

January 31, 1999

Duan Changlong, male, born on October 19, 1965, in Beijing. When he became a victim of the massacre of June 4, 1989, he was not yet 24 years old. His ashes have been placed in Wanan Public Cemetery in the western suburbs of Beijing. Prior to his death he was a senior student at the department of chemistry at Qinghua University.


Testimony of Zhou Shuzhuang, mother of Duan Changlong:

At noon on June 3, after having an interview in the Bureau of Nuclear Technology, Changlong came back home for lunch. Since he looked so tired that I asked him to stay home overnight. He said he couldn't stay because he had left a machine on in the laboratory and a schoolmate was taking care it for him. In addition to this, he needed to prepare for his graduation examination as well as writing his thesis. He told me he also wanted to join the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. He was very busy. At that moment, one of his schoolmates, referred to here as "A", came to look for him. According to A, the broadcasting station at Qinghua University was appealing to students to support the protests in Tiananmen and many students were already on their way there.

Just then, my daughter, Duan Qi, phoned from the Emergency Center, saying she would be home late, because they were busy treating those who had been wounded by the police. After hearing this Changlong took dinner to his sister. As soon as he arrived at the Emergency Center Changlong joined in the work there. The two of them worked there for a long time. That evening they got home at 11:00 p.m. After staying at home for a little while, Changlong took his bicycle and went out again. Before leaving he took out the few coins he had and left them at home. He was carrying only his bicycle key and student card with him. That same afternoon, my younger daughter, Duan Jun, went out with A on her bicycle, simply to have a look around.

Our home is located near to the Drum Tower, in the northwest of the city. On June 4, from 1:00 a.m. to about 3:00 a.m. early in the morning, we heard constant intensive gunfire, approaching gradually towards our place from the southwest. Many residents in this area who had gone to support the students were coming home one after another. In tears, they described the horrible scenes of how the troops had killed the people. None of my three children came home. I became anxious about their safety. I was at a loss what to do. My daughter, Duan Qi, the oldest one of my three children, had gone out on her bicycle several times to look for her sister and brother, but without success. She said later that troops and police were massed around the areas of Xidan and Nanchizi. The gunfire in the area was ceaseless, so she couldn't get through to look for her sister and brother. I started to feel something must be wrong. I became very weak. I ran back home from the alley, and sat on the sofa and in a stupefied state. The intensive gunfire from outside made me feel as if each bullet had hit my heart. I huddled myself up and covered my ears with my hands. I stayed in this way until daybreak. I couldn't keep myself under control. My heart was pounding all the time, and I found it hard to breathe. Even the clothes I wore became a burden to me. I ran out of my home like a mad person. I kept telling everyone I met that none of my three children had come home.

On the morning of June 4th, past nine o'clock, finally Duan Jun and A found their way back from Tiananmen Square. Changlong had not been with them, they said. They had stayed in the southeast of Tiananmen Square under the flag of Qinghua University. If Changlong had gone to Tiananmen Square, certainly he should have been with them there. They guessed that Changlong had ridden his bicycle directly to west Chang'an Boulevard. In the afternoon, we telephoned the university, asking anxiously about Changlong. Good Heavens! This was when we found out that my son was no longer in this world!

Changlong was killed on the morning of June 4. A student from Beijing Medical College carried him to the Posts Hospital. This student didn't give his name; we haven't been able to contact him. The hospital administration deduced that Changlong had been killed in Xidan, in the neighborhood of the Minorities Palace. When Changlong was carried in, a Qinghua student happened to be there. This student copied down Changlong's name as well as class number on one of his trouser legs. Then, in the early morning he ran back to the university to report Changlong's death, and the news immediately spread all over the campus. The university administration had sent someone to the hospital to collect Changlong's body. The hospital said they had received an order from the higher authorities, that the government would deal with all the dead bodies, and no interference would be admitted!

After being told this, our relatives and friends went to the hospital on the morning of June 5. There they had Changlong's body treated with a preservative and they cut a lock of his hair as a memento. According to the hospital, Changlong had been shot at short range by a small caliber weapon. He had been hit in the left aorta of his heart.

When our relatives and friends determined that the situation was less tense, they came and brought us to the hospital. In an attempt to save me from further shock, they took off Changlong's blood-soaked clothes, and hid them somewhere. After putting new clothes on Changlong, we were let in to say farewell to my son. When we walked in to the mortuary, there were 26 corpses lying in the room. I saw Changlong lying still on a wooden board. He seemed as though he was in a deep sleep. Only his face was very pale and there was no breath from his nose and mouth. His barely-opened eyes gave him the appearance of trying to say something to those who were dear to him. I carefully put my hands on his eyes to close them. I said to him, "Goodbye my dear son! Every year on the anniversary of your death Mama will visit you in the cemetery!" I had lost the ability to cry. I only felt that my dear Changlong was back again in my arms. I kissed his ice-cold face, his ice-cold hands and his ice-cold feet. My heart became piercingly cold. All the blood vessels in my body were as if forming into a layer of ice. My whole body was numb with sadness. When the others supported me away, suddenly I realized that I would be parted forever from my son. All my grief and anger burst out. Our whole family cried out loudly together. Even strangers who happened to be there cried with us. Several young people waved their fists, and said to me, "Soon or later, this debt of blood must be paid in blood!"

The ambulance from Qinghua University had been waiting for a while outside the mortuary. The school drew up an agreement with the Municipal Education Administration and the Health Bureau after a discussion. They agreed to let Changlong's body to be brought back to Qinghua University. On June 6, a memorial meeting was held there in the morning, and a farewell ceremony was held in the afternoon, then followed with cremation at Babaoshan. At Babaoshan, some people made a wreath from pine boughs for Changlong. On June 9, we took his ashes and put them at the Wanan Public Cemetery in the western suburbs.

When Changlong was born his father had already reached 44. From 1965 to 1989, as Changlong grew from a baby into a youth, we as his parents tried our best to raise him well. Just when he was going to finish his studies at the university and would start to become the main supporter of our family, an evil bullet took away his life. His death was a destructive assault on his family. After his death, my husband and I were left old and ailing like candles guttering in the wind. Now, we depend on each other for survival. Seeing others with their sons and daughters and their grandchildren, we feel as if a knife is cutting into our hearts. Especially on rainy nights, when we look at our only son's photo our yearning for him deepens. Days wear on like years to us. And recalling the past becomes unbearable.

All through his short life, Changlong moved towards his goals in a steady, sure way. He always wanted to serve his country after finishing his university studies. He cared about his society. He was warm and sincere to his friends. He was very concerned about the future of his beloved country. Since he was a primary school student, he had always been very capable in dealing with work, as well as being responsible. Everyone who knew him in his days at high school and university can recall some things about him which touched them deeply, particularly after he entered university and became more mature. I remember in something he wrote, he said, "I have only stepped on to the platform of patriotism, but the proof should be in what I do there... I am not just someone who preaches to others... Just watch what I do in the future!" In 1989, during the student campaign for democracy and freedom, and against corruption, he was always bravely standing at the forefront. In the small hours of June 4, with a deep sense of the righteousness of this cause, he again stepped forward to oppose the brutal repression, trying to stop the killers' bullets with the flesh and blood of his own body. Changlong did not die from disease or in a car accident, but for love of his country. He died in the belief that "everyone is responsible for the rise and fall of his own nation." However, the people in power not only tried to shield their faults but also made slanderous accusations against innocent students and people, calling their peaceful demonstrations "turmoil." The authorities brought in hundreds of thousands of troops, using machine guns, tanks and armored vehicles to massacre students and the people who were entirely defenseless. In a time of peace, the authorities massacred people, with dead bodies spread over Chang'an Boulevard, splashing blood all over Beijing. The authorities caused an unprecedented tragedy!

Following the deaths of these innocent children, the authorities did not relax surveillance over their families. Every year during such times as April 5 (Qing Ming), June Fourth and the other the so-called "sensitive times," the authorities come and ask to "chat" with us. They send security officers and plain-clothes police watch us in our homes. These police officers even follow us to the cemetery. Their doing so puts us under even more pressure and made us feel more mournful and angry. In the early years their surveillance almost caused us to break down. Now, ten years has passed, and we still live on. On the one hand, we feel very grateful to those who have cared about us, helped us and supported us. On the other hand, with the time passing by we have become calmer, more objective and more thoughtful. We finally awake to the fact that we should not tolerate such injustice; we should defend our dignity; we should exercise our human rights; we should get justice for the dead who are dear to us.

Zhou Shuzhuang

 

 

 

 

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