This essay, penned for the 12th anniversary of June Fourth, reflects on three people who died unjust deaths at different moments in the course of the last 50 years. Its author, Ding Zilin, is the coordinator of the Tiananmen Mothers group that is campaigning for a proper accounting for the 1989 Beijing massacre. Dings 17-year-old son, Jiang Jielian, was shot dead by army troops, and this devastating loss made her reexamine her own history and that of others she had known in her life.
Phosphorescent green light never goes out
And lighting up souls every night
Preserving the soul
Letting go the crippled body
Burning into ashes in misfortune
Someday with a red flower on the head
Recognizing the blood stains
Just as copying a bright red flower
Impossible to paint the real color
I stared at the moss around her tomb without saying a word. I was filled with grief and sorrow at the unpredictability of this world and the vicissitudes of life. It seemed that everything had come to an end, or nothing had begun. If Lin were alive today, she might not be so optimistic. If she is still aware of these things in her afterlife, she will certainly not have been able to put down this heavy burden.
Translated by Virginia Lai