A student protester who appeared in a restored video of the Tiananmen Massacre has been identified as Hong Kong lawyer Kenneth Lam, HKFP has learned.

Canadian journalist Arthur Kent released his 13-minute film Black Night In June last month, which documents the bloody crackdown firsthand. The film pauses on a young couple in the square hours after the People’s Liberation Army opened fire. Lam confirmed with HKFP that he was the man on the left.

Kenneth Lam
Kenneth Lam (left). Photo: Black Night in June screenshot.

The massacre occurred on June 4 1989, ending months of student-led demonstrations in China. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, died as the military suppressed protesters in Beijing.

Lam told HKFP that he was active in the 1980s pro-democracy movement, being a student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and chair of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

He travelled to Beijing on May 15 and participated in a hunger strike with students in the square before leaving for less than two days to collect supplies from Hong Kong, Apple Daily reported.

Lam was among protesters who fell back onto the Monument to the People’s Heroes at around 3am, shortly after Chinese troops opened fire on crowds: “Students in Beijing protected and saved me when soldiers arrived,” he said.

Lam told HKFP the woman next to him was Cheng Zhen, a university student in Beijing who later fled China in Operation Yellowbird – a Hong Kong-based operation to help Chinese dissidents escape arrest after the crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters. She is currently living in the US, he said.

Kenneth Lam
Kenneth Lam speaking at the 2017 Tiananmen Square Massacre vigil in Hong Kong. Photo: Youtube screenshot.

Cheng “became alert” after she was aware she was being filmed, Kent said, and he moved the camera away from his face to show he was a foreign journalist.

“She was afraid that I was a government spy filming them,” he told Ming Pao. “She was already fearing for the suppression that would come after the crackdown, and the following years proved that those fears were well-founded.”

YouTube video

Lam said he now works as a lawyer in Hong Kong, and has assisted grassroots workers and protesters involved in the city’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

Tuesday marks 30 years since the crackdown. The anniversary will be marked by an annual vigil at Victoria Park organised by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

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