Soldier's story a new look at Tiananmen crackdown
Wed, 18 Mar 2009

40-year old Zhang Shijun was 21 when his unit of the 162nd Motorized Infantry Division was called to Beijing to quell the anti-Communist protests in Tiananmen Square. His story details the protests through the eyes of an average soldier told to fire his weapon on the backs of ordinary citizens.

Since then, he has come forth with his perspective in an effort to strengthen calls for investigations of the protest movement.
[Posted By grady]
By Christopher Bodeen
Republished from Associated Press
Former Red Army soldier comes forth with perspective on Tiananmen Square Massacre

Even 20 years later, the shooting, chaos and death of the final assault on Tiananmen Square remain vivid in the mind of former soldier Zhang Shijun. Today, he has become one of the few to publicly voice regret.

In bearing witness about his role in the military crackdown on the 1989 student demonstrations in Beijing, Zhang says he hopes to add momentum to calls for an investigation and reassessment of the protest movement — and to further its ultimate goal of a democratic China.

“I feel like my spirit is stuck there on the night of June 3,” Zhang, 40, said in an interview at his home in the dusty northern city of Tengzhou, referring to the date in 1989 on which the final assault began.

Zhang’s tortured memories have gained a global audience among the Chinese dissident community in the weeks since he posted an open letter to president and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao online.
Soldier's story a new look at Tiananmen crackdown