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Echoes From The Square

July 16, 1989|Elizabeth Lu | Times staff writer Elizabeth Lu interviewed Tsao, Avery, Morrison and Tong

TSAO HSINGYUAN

Tsao, 32, of Berkeley was in Beijing on a research appointment from April to June 9.

"After martial law was declared, everyone automatically went to the streets. After dinner, everyone would go. On June 2, I went out. I saw rows of soldiers running from the east toward Tian An Men Square. We ran in front of them.

" 'This is not a riot,' I told one soldier. 'I hope you understand.' He smiled quizzically and said, 'Just wait and see. We know what to do.' We walked into the troops to separate them. We sat with them on the curb and chatted. I thought at that time, the relationship between the people and the troops was still good.

"At 11:30 p.m. June 3, Changan Avenue was packed. We thought maybe soldiers would use tear gas and clubs. The sound of gunfire rocked the sky. I saw people fall. People were yelling, 'You're the people's army. Soldiers and the people are like fish and water!' "

MARK AVERY

Associated Press photographer Avery, 28, from Bellflower, is based in Beijing.

"I was in the office transmitting photographs when I got reports that troops were moving in from the west. Outside our window, I heard an armored personnel carrier roar past. I hopped on my bicycle and went chasing after it.

"I was about 300 yards behind it. At an intersection, a convoy of troops had been blockaded by citizens. The troop trucks were surrounded by people. The armored personnel carrier went right through the people. When I got to the intersection, it was pandemonium. People were yelling, 'There's a dead man over there.' They had encircled him. They physically dragged me over and pushed me up to the circle. 'Take a picture of this and tell the world,' someone said. That picture ended up on the cover of Time.

"It didn't hit me until much later. When the automatic pilot switched off, that was when everything hit. I was a basket case. Of course, I cried."

KEITH MORRISON

NBC network correspondent Morrison reported from China May 30 to June 14.

"Late Saturday, I was making a telephone call in our office at the Palace Hotel. The first thing I heard on the two-way radio was our Beijing bureau chief. His voice was quivering with fear and anger. 'They are bringing in the bodies,' he said. 'I can't believe what's happening.'

"The shooting just continued. We were very worried. We had three camera crews--two in the square, one on Changan Avenue.

"I remember talking to a student nurse in one of the hospitals. She said soldiers were pulling life-support systems from the wounded. She ran after she saw doctors fighting with the soldiers and soldiers shooting the doctors."

TONG BONING

A UCLA foreign student, Tong, 25, was a liaison between demonstrators and U.S. Chinese.

"At midnight June 3, there was gunfire from the west. I was standing on Changan Avenue near the square. I told people, 'Don't panic. It can't be real bullets.' Then I saw the wounded being carried past.

"I had tickets to the U.S. On June 5, at the airport, two officials came up to me to check identification papers. They took me downstairs to a bus. I thought, 'They may kill me in secret.' They took me to the countryside, where I was kept under 24-hour guard and interrogated: 'Who sent you? What did you do while you were in China?' Over and over, they wanted me to tell them what I did, minute by minute. I told them I didn't do anything violent. They had no evidence. After five days, they allowed me to leave."

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