Male, 31, driver for the Beijing Residential Siding Factory. From: Beijing.
On June 4, 1989, at around 5 a.m., Nan left home to go to Chang’an Avenue and never returned. His family looked everywhere, but found no trace of him. Two days later they identified him from the photos of dead bodies posted at Beijing Xiehe Hospital, also known as Peking Union Medical College Hospital. He had been shot: the bullet entered his back, below his left shoulder blade, and blew up his chest. Nan had a one-year-old daughter.
Nan’s wife, Xu Baoyan (徐宝艳), is a member of the Tiananmen Mothers.
One Chinese New Year, my husband and I went to [Xu Baoyan’s] home to visit both mother and daughter. The new apartment they had just moved into was in an old apartment building. The apartment was largely empty, with not one piece of presentable furniture. Xu was no longer peddling clothes in the streets; instead, she would walk the streets and alleys selling flowers. She told me that every early morning, summer or winter, she would ride her flatbed cart to Fengtai Flower Market to buy flowers in bulk that would sell well. It was hard work, but with the small cart she could easily avoid the city management staff on patrol.
Listening to her recount this, I felt waves of sadness—she was really at the end of her tether. Suddenly, I realized how much she had aged: her skin had become rough and dark from the sun, and she looked much older than her actual age. That day, she was so happy to see us. She even asked her daughter to meet with us, telling us that her daughter was already a third-year junior high student. She was very grateful to the overseas students who had provided her daughter with a scholarship, helping her with that hardship.
One year later, she told me that her daughter had entered one of the city’s top-ranking high schools. She said that originally, her daughter could apply to a low-tuition school, but her daughter insisted on taking the exam for her dream top-ranking school. For the sake of her daughter’s future, Xu consented. She said that even though she had to work even harder, she would make it possible for her daughter to continue studying. Now two more years have passed, and in one year her once-young daughter will become a university student.