Thursday, June 04, 2009

Vinroot in Tiananmen: Witness to history 20 years ago

Richard Vinroot had just been in China a few hours that June night in 1989 when he and two friends found themselves in a Tiananmen Square roiling with 200,000 pro-democracy protesters.

Not far away, protesters attacked a soldier atop an armored personnel carrier as he tried to shout through a megaphone. They beat him, then set him on fire.

“Right after that, I remember shots being fired over the crowd,” Vinroot recalls. “I realized I was in a county that was about to have a revolution.”

Then a Charlotte City Council member, Vinroot had just arrived with a delegation for a Sister City visit to Baoding. For a nerve-wracking week, they became not just tourists but witnesses to history.

For more, see Friday's Observer.

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