Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 9 News List

Tiananmen was not a defeat, but a victory

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

It's often said that an impoverished, poorly educated, agrarian country like China cannot sustain democracy. Yet my most powerful memory of that night 15 years ago is of the peasants who had come to Beijing to work as rickshaw drivers.

During each lull in the firing, we could see the injured, caught in a no man's land between us and the troops. We wanted to rescue them but didn't have the guts. While most of us in the crowd cowered and sought cover, it was those uneducated rickshaw drivers who pedaled out directly toward the troops to pick up the bodies of the dead and wounded.

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