Source: NYT (6/1/17)
Hidden Away for 28 Years, Tiananmen Protest Pictures See Light of Day
By LUO SILING
For nearly 28 years, David Chen hid away a treasure chest of black-and-white photographs that he took of the protest movement that erupted at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the spring of 1989.
When students occupied the square to demand democracy and an end to graft, Mr. Chen was a 25-year-old student at Dalian Maritime College in northeastern China. He became a supporter of the protests from afar, and he helped organize pro-democracy demonstrations in Dalian, a port city.
But like many provincial sympathizers of the swelling movement, Mr. Chen was not content to stay put. He joined a tide of students who crammed onto trains to Beijing and camped on Tiananmen Square, Mr. Chen said in an interview from San Francisco, where he now lives and runs restaurants. (He asked to use his English personal name to protect his family in China from possible repercussions.)
But unlike most others on the square, Mr. Chen came with a camera, a luxury in China back then. An uncle from Taiwan had given him a Japanese-made Yashica, and before leaving for Beijing, Mr. Chen bought four rolls of film. He took photographs around the square and at other protest sites until his film ran out a week into his 10-day stay.
Back in Dalian, Mr. Chen developed his black-and-white photographs and glued them onto pieces of cardboard, which he and a few other students held up outside a department store for three days to drum up support and donations for the protesters.
But a week after Mr. Chen left Tiananmen Square, armed troops seized central Beijing in a night of bloodshed starting on June 3 and culminating with the clearing of the square early on June 4. Hundreds of civilians died around the city.
Mr. Chen hid his film negatives with his parents. The rolls lay untouched for more than two decades, until Mr. Chen converted them into digital images that he took with him when he migrated to the United States in 2012.
Mr. Chen has now decided to share his photographs of the protests.
“Twenty-eight years have passed, the world should know what happened,” he said.
This was adapted from an article on the Chinese-language site of The New York Times and translated by Chris Buckley.