While doing some research for this documentary series, I came across the following recently posted (2007) old June 4, 1996 Charlie Rose interview. Here is the show info (link and emphasis mine),
… on the seventh anniversary of the brutal attack of students by Chinese tanks and soldiers in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Chai Ling, commander-in-chief of the student rebellion, and James Lilley, the U.S. Ambassador to China during the protest, talk about the incident and the PBS Frontline documentary “The Gate of Heavenly Peace“.
There were (and still are) tremendous debates and controversy about the film and what happened at Tiananmen Square. The film also elicited(emphasis mine) “responses from both the Chinese government and leading members of the Chinese exiled dissident movement that are similar in colorful and strident tone of denunciation.”
The life of 43 years old Lu Decheng (魯德成), a Chinese truck driver, was changed forever 18 years ago on 23rd May, 1989 when he and two friends (Yu Dongyue (喻東嶽) and Yu Zijian (余志堅)) threw paint-filled eggs on the portrait of Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao) that hangs over Tiananmen Square in Beijing days before the shockingly sad events. For this act of defiance, Lu was sentenced to 16 years in prison on the charge of counterrevolutionary sabotage and incitement. His two other friends, Yu Dongyue and Yu Zijian (unrelated), were sentenced to 20 years and life in prison respectively.
Since 1989, Lu Decheng has served nine years of Chinese prison (with treatment that were amongst the worst for people involved in the Tiananmen Square protests), experienced years of Chinese government surveillance & harassment and over a year in limbo in Thailand’s detention center. Now, Lu is finally a free man in Canada as a result of an emergency rescue by five generous and proactive Calgarians that sponsored him to come to Canada and the behind-the-scene effort of Canadian politicians and government officials.
A series of raw and short documentaries will be posted in the coming days, weeks, and months to tell the stories of the three young men – Lu Decheng (魯德成), Yu Dongyue (喻東嶽) and Yu Zijian (余志堅), whose lives were forever changed and even destroyed.
Note: Someone actually took the time to count the number of paint splash landed on Mao’s portrait. I have got that number in my notes somewhere. I will update the number in the banner if it is not 19.