【 Liao Yiwu, Washington Post 】   Post Date: 7/14/2019
Liu Xiaobo died two years ago. To honor his memory, read his letters
Author: Liao Yiwu
Author Liao Yiwu is a poet, writer and most recently the author of “Bullets and Opium: Real-Life Stories of China After the Tiananmen Square Massacre.” This piece was translated by Michael Martin Day, a professor at National University in San Diego.
On the night before June 4, 1989, the Communist Party of China launched an attack on its own people. With tanks and armored vehicles leading the way, as many as 200,000 troops entered Beijing from several directions, surrounding Tiananmen Square, ramming, crushing and shooting unarmed demonstrators and causing hundreds, or thousands, or even 10,000 deaths.
 
At the time, my dear friend, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, had returned from New York to join the pro-democracy movement. Though the killing had already begun miles away, he stayed with protesters, leading the crowd to destroy rifles left behind by troops that might have offered the steadily approaching soldiers an excuse to open fire.
 
The next day, in front of the Australian Embassy, ​​Liu was invited to enter to safety. He hesitated for a few moments, but then declined the offer and rode away. He was later arrested and sent to Qincheng Prison. He survived the prison but succumbed to his father’s tearful entreaties and confessed, testifying against his will that he had not seen people die on the square.
 
After he’d been released less than two years later, he said, “Aside from lies, I have nothing.” From then on, his life was wrapped up in a theme of atonement. He drafted countless petitions and appeals. He helped the Tiananmen Mothers group. Each year, he wrote a long memorial poem. He was imprisoned four times and finally died in custody on July 13, 2017. 
 
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