On Thursday the 4th of June, 7pm-9pm, around 110 people gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in London to commemorate victims of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Commemorators read out the names of known victims of the massacre, and mark their names on a street map of Beijing showing the places where most of these victims were killed or the hospitals to which their bodies were taken.
While there are Tiananmen prisoners including Miao Deshun, who have been kept in prison all these years since they were locked up immediately after the Massacre, there are over two dozen Tiananmen participants who have been imprisoned in recent years, activist Chen Yunfei, lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and journalist Gao Yu. Twenty commemorators participated in interactive street theatre – to recount their stories.
Gao Yu: “This is my third jail sentence, and I’m 71 now, but I want to say to the Chinese authorities: ‘You have a gun. I have a pen’. I’m proud that history has given me the choice of a pen.”
Pu Zhiqiang: “Tanks rolled towards us, gunshots sounded like fireworks. I made a promise to myself: ”If I survived this massacre, I’d come back to Tiananmen every year on June 4.“
Chen Yunfei: “Some people call me a human rights activist, because I’ve been campaigning for children’s rights, petitioners’ rights, civil rights etc. etc. for years. But I’d prefer to call myself a “beast tamer”, because I see myself as a performance artist who wants to lock the authoritarian power in a cage.”