Tuesday, June 04, 2013

June 4 ... remembering China's Tiananmen Square

On June 4, 1989, the world watched as an uprising in China's Tiananmen Square was squashed by the Chinese Army. As a military tank approached, one lone figure stood defiantly against the force, sending a message to the world the freedom and liberty were worth fighting for.

The George W. Bush Institute's Freedom Collection program coordinator, Christopher Walsh, commemorated the historical date:
The Tiananmen Square protests began as a student-led, pro-democracy uprising.  Lasting for several weeks, the demonstrations attracted people from different segments of society hoping to pressure the government on democratic reform.  The protest culminated on June 4, 1989 when the Chinese military dispersed demonstrators with tanks and lethal force.

One of those demonstrators was Fang Zheng, who lost both of his legs in the crackdown.  For resisting government coercion to sign a written statement suggesting the incident at Tiananmen was an “accident,” Fang was denied his college degree.    This tragedy, however, did not dampen Fang’s spirit.  He became involved in wheelchair athletics and used his profile to advocate for human rights in China.  In his Freedom Collection interview, Fang remembers the moment when a Liberation Army tank ran him over, severing his legs
Tiananmen Square. Those of us who sat in front of TV screens and watched it unfold in 1989 will never forget.

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