Tiananmen 30 years on: Despite harassment, victims' families fight to find the truth

A file photo taken on June 2, 1989, showing pro-democracy protesters gathered near the Goddess of Democracy statue at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The Tiananmen Mothers have so far compiled a list of 202 people who were killed in the protest. Members
Madam Zhang Xianling (middle row, second from left) and Madam You Weijie (front row, first from left) are among members of the Tiananmen Mothers posing with photos of family members who were killed in the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen protest.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A file photo taken on June 2, 1989, showing pro-democracy protesters gathered near the Goddess of Democracy statue at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The Tiananmen Mothers have so far compiled a list of 202 people who were killed in the protest. Members
A file photo taken on June 2, 1989, showing pro-democracy protesters gathered near the Goddess of Democracy statue at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The Tiananmen Mothers have so far compiled a list of 202 people who were killed in the protest.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Madam Zhang Xianling knows that every year, at this time, she will get a few "visitors" who will stand guard at her ninth-floor lift landing or at the stairway, or park themselves downstairs and insist on taking her wherever she wants to go.

After 30 years of having such uninvited company, she now just shrugs off this state-sponsored surveillance. At least they are open about keeping watch now, not like the early days of lurking in the shadows and hiding behind walls.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2019, with the headline 'Despite harassment, victims' families fight to find the truth'. Print Edition | Subscribe