The memorial wreath laid in the Tiananmen Memorial Park Sunday was put there by the Rev. Charles Gilchrist and the Rev. Vienna Cobb Anderson with congregation members of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church. A story Monday on a memorial ceremony misidentified the source of the wreath. (Published 6/6/90) A Metro article Monday incorrectly identified the Chinese man who stood in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square last year. He is Wang Weilin. (Published 6/7/90)
A Chinese student who led demonstrators in Tiananmen Square implored the world yesterday to remember the hundreds of people killed by Chinese army troops and riot police during the violent government crackdown on student and worker protesters that riveted the world a year ago.
"Today is a day of sorrow," said Chai Ling, who led the democracy movement hunger strikers in the heart of Beijing. "Some have been grieving for a year. There have been many tears. But the tears have not been in vain. I am determined to fight to keep their hope alive."
Chai and several other leaders of the Chinese protest movement were in Washington yesterday at a memorial rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
More than 1,000 supporters turned out for the rally, many of them students from institutions up and down the East Coast such as Yale, Penn State, the University of Connecticut, Cornell, Rutgers and the University of Virginia.
Many in the largely Chinese crowd wore T-shirts emblazoned with a drawing of a tank and the slogan "Stand by that Man," a reference to a much-seen photograph of student leader Wang Dan, who stood alone and weaponless in front of Chinese government tanks in Tiananmen Square trying to stop them and was later arrested.
Joining the rally were Lithuanian American demonstrators and a few members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who said they were there in support of democracies worldwide.
Chai, who is one of only two women on the Chinese government's most wanted list for her role in the democracy movement, escaped from China in April after hiding from authorities for 10 months. Yesterday was her first public appearance in the United States.
"After 10 long months of hiding," Chai said, "it is freedom at last for me. I know how precious freedom can be. I cannot forget for a minute those left behind. One day I hope to return to my beloved China when it is free."
Chai was joined at the rally by her husband, Feng Congde, and student leader Shen Tong, founder of the Beijing University Dialogue Delegation, who maintained contact with Communist Party leaders during the demonstrations. Liu Binyan, a prominent journalist and dissident leader in exile, was also there. Noticeably absent was Wuer Kaixi, an outspoken student leader who was alleged to have misspent funds donated to the movement.
Organizers of yesterday's rally said the event was meant to focus attention on the killings that shocked the world and, according to some speakers, started the movements that have led to the uprisings and establishment of democracies in Eastern Europe.
Many carried signs -- in Chinese and in English -- that said "We Will Never Forget the Killing," "Don't Forget the Massacre" and "Except for Bush, The World Will Never Forget," referring to the administration's recent decision to grant most-favored-nation status to the Chinese government.
"The economic well-being of the world is important," Chai said, "but it cannot be more important than the lives of people."
Tames Deng, 26, a student at the University of South Carolina, speaking through an interpreter, said, "It is important to show that we all remember what happened last year. The world has to remember and help us because we are still being arrested, still being killed."
Helena He, 27, who lives in Washington, said she is certain that democracy will come to China. "Eventually, the Chinese government will fall," she said. "And we will have our freedom."
After the rally, a caravan of students headed to Tianamen Memorial Park across from the Chinese Embassy on Connecticut Avenue NW, where they laid a wreath of yellow and white carnations wrapped in a ribbon that read "We Shall Not Forget." On a wooden fence in the park, the students also strung four dozen red and white balloons. Rally organizers said a candlelight vigil for the movement's victims is set for 8:30 tonight at the park.