ZHANG Fuyuan (张福元)

Male, 66, retired worker at the People’s Liberation Army 302 Hospital. From: Beijing.

On the evening of June 3, 1989, Zhang was visiting relatives whose house was in a hutong east of the Beijing Changhua Building (also known as Beijing Long-Distance Telecommunications Building, located on Fuxingmen Inner Street). In the early morning of June 4, when they smelled tear gas, Zhang and others came out into the hutong, where they saw martial law troops shooting indiscriminately. As Zhang turned to run back, along with others, he was shot in the lower back. Shouting “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot,” he made his way back into the courtyard of the house and collapsed. His relatives called for an ambulance. When the medics arrived, they pronounced him dead and took him to the Jishuitan Hospital. On June 4, Zhang’s children went to collect his body.

His family said that Zhang, having lived through the Japanese invasion and China’s civil war, came to Beijing in the 1950s to work, living an honest, simple life, always staying clear of contentious issues. His children believed that because their father died from an accidental injury, the government should at least provide some subsidies to help cover their mother’s living expenses, short of paying compensation for his death. But the government refused.

Zhang’s wife, Liu Gan (刘乾), is a member of the Tiananmen Mothers.

Zhang Fuyuan (张福元)
Zhang Fuyuan
Ding Zilin (丁子霖), a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers, wrote in an essay in 2004

Among the most dreadful things in this world is unreason— especially that of the government.

Zhang’s widow Liu is already 80 years old. Will she receive justice for husband during her lifetime? It’s hard to say. She and her husband had been together for decades and had raised many children together. Who could have foreseen that in what should have been her quiet years in old age, she would be living as a widow? When all is said and done, how can this be the way of things?

When her husband died, she was so devastated that she became sick for years. Now she even has trouble getting out of bed and walking. Yet she has never forgotten that her husband’s death is an injustice. She wants an explanation from the government, to receive justice for the dead. When we met her a few years ago, we told her that in the interest of justice for those killed in June Fourth, we presented the government with three demands. When she heard this, she immediately told us that these were the same demands as her own, and that she wanted to put her signature in the victim families’ open letters. Zhang’s widow Liu was not educated, and she can barely read. Yet she gave us a small piece of paper with her name written on it and said that she entrusted the rest to us. We hope that her coming years will be without illness or disaster, and that she will live to see the day when her husband receives justice.

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