A Dissident's Steadfast Fight

Ten years ago, Jiang Quisheng dreamed of being a professor in a university. Now he devotes himself to a different calling.

"Now I am a dissident, an activist," he said.

Jiang's dreams were changed by his times, by what he saw when he protested in Tiananmen Square a decade ago, by what he came to believe in the aftermath. He and other students hoped for democracy -- hope that ended in massacre. Thousands may have been killed. To this day, no one knows for sure.




  CHINA : 10 Years
 A  F  T  E  R    T  I  A  N  A  N  M  E  N
> An Interactive Guide to Modern China and the Massacre in Tiananmen Square.


Jiang felt the sting of authoritarian anger for joining the demonstrations. He has been in and out of jail since then, a man always looking over his shoulder.

He is routinely among the first to be rounded up by police when Americans politicians like President Clinton come to town, even though they don't even try to meet dissidents. Jiang thinks that they should. "While they devote most of their time to meet with Chinese officials, (the Americans) can spare some time to meet our dissidents," he said.

CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen returned to Tiananmen Square with Jiang to remember ten years ago. They filmed with an amateur camera, so they wouldn't tip off the authorities.

Jiang was relaxed, even when approached by a nosy policeman. "I have told him you are enjoying the very beautiful night," Jiang explained, after the policemen left.

Jiang is a small man with dreams big enough to take on Mao, whose imposing picture hangs as a reminder over Tiananmen Square. Does he think the day will come when that picture will be replaced by the statue of freedom?

"Of course, of course," he said, motioning towards Mao's image. "That is the symbol of dictatorship."

But in today's China, students want dollars, not democracy. Money, not morality, drives this new generation. That does not stoJiang, who has devoted his life to changing China and to keeping the spirit of Tiananmen alive.

His dreams remain clear: "More freedom. More democracy."

Does he think there will be another push for democracy in China?

"If the dictators don't change their basic principles, even gradually, I think there will be another Tiananmen Square movement," he said.

Nobody knows where Jiang Quisheng is today. He has been arrested.

His crime: advocating that those Chinese who wish to commemorate the massacre at Tiananmen Square light a candle inside their own homes. He could be sent to a labor camp for three years without benefit of a trial.

But as he told CBS News, he well understands that in China, a dissident's life is a very dangerous life.

"It is very likely for me to be jailed, but I'm not afraid of
that result,"
he said at the time.

Jiang Quisheng considers free speech one of his basic human rights.

While the CBS interview has not been cited as a reason for his arrest, it could be used against him. However, he very much wanted his story told.

His resolve is no doubt undimmed, even today, when he must look at his dream of democracy through the bars of a jail cell.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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