"At 1 o'clock Tiananmen Square, full of people, was surrounded by troops which were organized into two layers of circles. The inner circle was policemen wearing bulletproof vests, armed with daggers, bayonets and shields facing the people inside the circle. They stabbed to death all the people who tried to break the circle.
"At 3 o'clock the surrounding troops formed into five lines, five soldiers per line, firing on the remaining people. In a wink, Tiananmen Square was filled with uncountable broken arms and legs floating on a swelling, bloody ocean. This slaughter persisted. The people around me all died, including three students from my university I just got acquainted with a couple of days ago. One was shot in the chest and died on top of me. One was shot six
times. . . .
"As the people were retreating, the troops followed and fired from behind. I was hauling a girl I didn't know. . . . She struggled and twisted against me, crying, 'All my classmates are dead. Why should I be alive?' Then she slipped from my grasp, ran back towards the troops and immediately was killed by a shower of gunfire.
"Many more people died this way.
"In this butchery two armored personnel carriers rolled over three pregnant women and five children. Some students lit their own coats, soaked in gasoline, and set the tanks on fire with their bodies. The people who got out of the square wailed, 'We got out. Not that we are afraid of death but that we want to come back to kill them.' "
These are the words of people who were there: Survivors of the army onslaught at Beijing's Tiananmen Square last weekend. American academics and businessmen caught up in the violence and confusion. Angry residents on the streets of Beijing.
Each has a voice and a tale from a nation in chaos.
William Ward, a management professor at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., was at Beijing University to lecture and to present a paper on entrepreneurship.
"We got into Beijing two days before the bloodletting started. We were down near Tiananmen Square just a couple of hours before it started Sunday morning. Over the subsequent couple of days we saw it all . . .
"My life was threatened on numerous occasions. One time we were going across the campus and made a left turn into about 40 troops with AK-47s lowered. I thought they were going to blow us away. The officer said 'This is not the place for foreigners.' I said, 'I understand,' and we made a hasty retreat."
Fred W. Echelmeyer of Thornton, Delaware County, went to Beijing with a group from Elderhostel, an academic program for people over 60. Shortly before the violence began, he and his wife went to see the students' "Goddess of Democracy" statue.
"We had some time so we went over to the square. . . . It was like a fair in the sense that everybody was happy and well-disciplined. There were thousands and thousands of people there. Tents were there, and they had their own hospital. . . . They had bullhorns and were talking to the people."
Some of the demonstrators warned them that the army was coming, so they left. Later, Chinese students told them what had ensued.
"They were furious - as were we. We had been talking with these young men and women who were killed, just three hours before - many of them spoke English. . . . Most of the people we talked to in China were sympathetic (to the demonstrators) - even those who were party members. . . .
"We believe we have been seeing something remarkable in our history."
Richard Wallach, 23, of Society Hill, had been teaching English at Beijing University since January.
"Sunday morning after the (first) massacre, students were coming back. I
went out to the gate, and there were two cars on fire. There was a student riding a bicycle. He was not injured, but he carried a coat soaked in blood to show the people it was true. . . . Students had set up a broadcasting system before, and they were describing the horrendous atrocities that were taking place. We had no way to know anything about it (because of the government news blackouts). I just remember that olive green coat - the kind that all the Beijing people wear in the wintertime - soaked in blood . . .
"The Chinese people - everyone I know - said they were glad I was leaving, but they wanted me to tell the outside world what I had seen. . . . These were just ordinary citizens who were being murdered by their own government."
Richard C. Gaskins, vice president for China operations for Westinghouse Corp., was headed for Beijing when the violence began. He has remained in Hong Kong, trying to arrange safe passage for the eight foreign nationals working for Westinghouse in China.
"The major difficulty has been getting reservations because the planes have been overbooked. But the biggest problem for most people is getting to the airport" because roadblocks, crowds and the absence of public transportation have complicated travel.
"Some of them (Westinghouse employees) were barricaded in their rooms behind mattresses and bookcases. None of them felt in any sense a personal danger that was directed specifically at them. That has been the case since April. None of us felt that there was any bad feeling directed toward us - even walking around in the crowds. It is only the fear of a stray bullet that worries people."
"Li Peng, you will never be able to find any peace."
- A message to the premier, scrawled on a police observation post near Tiananmen.
It was written in blood.