《吼叫一九八九》——謝三泰眼中的六四前夕
塵封30年影像首度曝光:台灣記者在天安門廣場的40天

台灣資深攝影記者謝三泰,在1989年六四事件前夕前往中國採訪。40天間,他以鏡頭記錄下了當時天安門的抗議行動、緊張的氛圍。今年(2019)為六四事件30週年,他寫下了當年任務未完因而辭職的遺憾心情,並提供這組塵封30年的珍貴影像在《報導者》曝光。

編按

本文為《吼叫一九八九》攝影集自序,經作者謝三泰與允晨出版社授權刊登,副標題與文內小標為《報導者》編輯所加。

謝三泰為資深攝影記者,曾任職於《自立晚報》、《自立早報》、《黑白新聞週刊》、《新台灣週刊》、《勁報》。 以鏡頭記錄解嚴前後、520農民運動、國會全面改選、首屆民選總統、省市長等。 近年將焦點關注於庶民生活、勞工朋友、弱勢族群、環保等議題。

1989年4月17日,我從香港轉機抵達北京後,直接從機場驅車前往天安門廣場,從那天起,在廣場上見證了中國爭取民主沸騰的熱血和眼淚,也留下一個30年未完的任務。
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4月17日,氣氛仍然和平的北京

身為中國官方首次核准的第一批台灣記者團成員,對這趟採訪是既興奮又忐忑。出發前,同年4月7日才剛經歷了鄭南榕為爭取言論自由不惜自焚的震撼,緊接著被任職的自立報系,指派前往北京採訪,掛念著自焚事件的後續,也還沒從失去好友的傷痛中平復,感覺不應在這時離開台灣,卻又不想放棄這難得的機會,心情很是掙扎。
這是我第一次到中國,此行主要有三項新聞任務,一是亞青杯體操賽、二是亞銀年會、三是蘇聯領導人戈巴契夫訪中。1989年亞銀年會是由當時的財政部長郭婉容領軍,彼時蘇聯尚未解體,戈巴契夫訪中可是件國際大事。出發前即獲知中國共產黨總書記胡耀邦過世,北京學生們自發性地在天安門廣場舉辦悼念活動,飛機一落地出關,等不及到飯店放下行李,馬上轉往天安門廣場,想在第一時間拍攝些畫面傳回台灣。那時廣場上的氣氛仍和平,學生們在人民英雄紀念碑的周遭放置花圈和輓聯,哀悼、讚揚被視為「改革派」的胡耀邦,同時要求加速中國的民主腳步。
那是個沒有網路通訊的年代,數位相機還未上市,為了這趟採訪任務,我扛了一整個「簡易暗房」上路,包括簡便的放大機、顯影藥水盆、暗袋、沖片罐,和加起來百餘卷的黑白、彩色和幻燈片三種不同的底片,最重要的,還有一台當時美國聯合通訊社(Associated Press, AP)獨家研發出的滾筒式相片傳真機。
我必須自己沖洗底片、沖印照片,再透過傳真機將照片傳回台灣,飯店房間裡的廁所就是我的暗房,光是一張5x7的相片,單色掃描傳真最短也要耗費上7分鐘,萬一中斷了,就得重頭再來過。每天都花很長時間傳照片回台灣,常引起飯店關切,尤其當時下榻的都是國營飯店,動靜多少都被監控中,常傳真到一半,傳來敲門聲問「謝先生你在做什麼?」,要不就是傳到一半被斷線,逼得我好幾次都拎著傳真機到其他同業的飯店裡求救,箇中辛苦是現在數位相機、甚至手機即拍即傳的年代難以想像的。

廣場上,曾無所畏懼的我們

除了那三件主要新聞任務,剩下時間我都到天安門報到。第一次感受到緊張氣氛是4月19日,數千名學生聚集在中共高層居所的中南海新華門前,為確保領導人的安全,中共出動武警驅散了這些高呼口號的學生,這是北京學運首次出現暴力驅離的動作。不過,我並不害怕,帶著在台灣街頭征戰的經驗,這樣的場景並不陌生。台灣1987年解嚴後,各式民主運動綻放,街頭請願、抗議如雨後春筍般興起,我恭逢其盛,歷經了520事件等街頭運動的洗禮,帶著在台灣的實戰經驗,看著北京剛萌芽的民主運動,心情是無所畏懼的。
但扛著專業相機在廣場上畢竟醒目,常有人跑來問我「你打哪來?」不想引起太多注意,我多是回答「我是南方來的記者」,偶有人回「你是外省人!」頓時不知如何回答。某次遇上廈門大學的學生,主動問「會說閩南話嗎?」兩人就在北京的天安門廣場前,自在地以熟悉的另一種語言交談著。
中國官方報紙沒有任何學運新聞,一個「外來者」單槍匹馬在廣場上跑新聞,消息來源得仰賴「路透社」──意謂「路邊打探來的消息」──才能大略得知學生們的動態。一直到北京高校學生自治聯會成立後,學生們在廣場上刻著鋼板,印刷文宣刊物,統一對外發布消息,才有了較明確的訊息來源。不過,也因學生們進入組織性請願的階段,讓中國官方緊張,加速了日後驅離的動作。
4月的北京夜晚是很有寒意的,抗議的學生們忍受著飢餓、裹著棉被取暖。「飢餓可忍、無民主不可忍」,他們在大字報上寫著,看著令人覺得不捨。為了更瞭解學生們的生活,我跟著學運領袖王丹回到了他就讀的北京大學。王丹帶著我,去看他們的沙龍(言論學術廣場)和宿舍,小小的2、3坪空間擠了6至8個人,分睡於上下舖,北大學生們的物質生活是拮据的,但心裡卻有著遠大的理想。王丹的父母是老師,當時曾問他「參與學運爸媽擔不擔心?」記得王丹回答,「跟父母深談過,為了中國的民主自由,他們是支持的。」只是那時恐怕誰也沒想到,這場運動會徹底改變了他們的人生。

最後一張照片

5月中,學生們絕食愈演愈烈,廣場上抗議人數愈來愈多,各式耳語傳言不斷,不時聽說解放軍已經兵臨城外,隨時準備以武力驅散鎮壓。風聲鶴唳之際,記者們的安危也令人擔憂,尤其是像我這樣拿著相機的攝影記者,目標更是明顯。台北報社不只一次希望我能撤離,尤其在中共當局宣布戒嚴後,天安門上的管制區不斷擴大,現場不時發生小暴動,人們流露著害怕及不信任的眼神。報社明白表示,不會再提供金錢,以切斷奧援逼我回台北,我不只一次抗議,強烈表達想留在新聞現場的意願,但在身上只剩一百多美金和一張回程機票下,不得不妥協。
5月23日,天安門廣場上的毛澤東肖像遭3名工人損毀,我拍下最後一張照片傳回台北,帶著任務未完的遺憾,於隔天搭機離開北京,從新加坡轉機回台灣,距離我第一天踏上天安門廣場,總共40日。
回台沒多久,六四事件爆發,天安門染上了鮮血,從新聞上得知王丹等學運領袖被捕,輾轉聽說某些認識的中國記者失蹤,我的心情五味雜陳,為廣場上那些為自由民主奮鬥犧牲的年輕學子感到難過,也惋惜自己錯失了見證重要歷史時刻的機會。但也忍不住想,若我仍在廣場,想必現在的處境會大不相同。

一趟未完成的任務

在我的記者生涯裡,採訪天安門學運是一趟沒有完成的任務。回台灣後,我在出差核銷單裡夾著辭呈,以離職抗議報社強制要我回來的決定。那些記錄北京學運的影像,跟心裡的遺憾,30年來被隱藏於角落裡,一直到張照堂老師看見了它。
在一次為攝影博物館所做的口述訪談裡,張老師看到了我在1989年所洗的照片,也聽我說了當時的經過,他告訴我:「不是非得待到6月4日才算完成任務,不要覺得遺憾,重要是參與過,過程也很重要。」轉眼間,天安門學運已經30週年,這些塵封了30年的影像重見天日,看著那些如今已不復見的北京樣貌、廣場上奮鬥的臉孔,想起學生們浪漫的情懷,「生的偉大、死的光榮!」這是當時的一句標語,希望我留下的影像,能表達學生們對民主自由渴望的千萬分之一。
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北京高等學校學生聯合會記者會。
北京高等學校學生聯合會記者會。
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北京高等學校學生聯合會記者會。
北京高等學校學生聯合會記者會。
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天安門廣場。
天安門廣場。
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天安門廣場。
天安門廣場。
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首都醫學院。
首都醫學院。
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Meet the Taiwanese Reporter who Spent 40 Days at the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests

Words and photos by Hsieh San-tai (謝三泰) The English translation is cooperated with The Taiwan Gazette and is simultaneously published on its website.
In April 1989, budding photo-journalist Hsieh San-tai was sent to Beijing to cover high-level political meetings and sporting events. His visit coincided with the largest student protest in China's recent history, an event he captured for nearly forty days. But Hsieh's photos never made it into newspaper pages, and he left Beijing full of regret at his unfinished assignment.
30 years later, he's dusted off his photos, and compiled them into a new photobook — Howling 1989, printed by Yun Chen Publishing House. The following text and photos come from the book's preface, and are used with the publisher's permission.
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On April 17, 1989, I arrived in Beijing from Hong Kong, and drove directly from the airport to Tiananmen Square. I witnessed the blood and tears of China's struggle for democracy, and left an assignment unfinished for 30 years.

Beijing was still peaceful in April

I was one of the first Taiwanese reporters approved by the Chinese authorities to report in the country, and I was both excited and nervous about the trip.
That April, Taiwan was in shock over the death of Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), a democracy activist who set himself on fire in protest of the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) clamp down on freedom of speech. Cheng's self-immolation, as well as the death of a good friend, were still fresh in my mind when the Independence Evening News (自立晚報) assigned me to go to Beijing to shoot some events and interviews. I didn't want to leave Taiwan, but I didn't want to give up this rare opportunity.
I had three assignments: One, cover the Asia Youth Gymnastics Championship. Two, cover the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting. And three, cover Mikhail Gorbachev's state visit to China. At the time, all three were big events. Taiwan's Finance Minister, Shirley Kuo (郭婉容), was one of the first Taiwanese ministers to lead a delegation to attend a meeting in China, and Mikhail Gorbachev's state visit was the first formal meeting between China and Russia since the Sino-Soviet Split in 1956.
Before departing, I learned that Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦), the former general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CCP), had passed away, and grief-stricken students in Beijing were holding a spontaneous vigil in Tiananmen Square. When the plane landed, I didn't even stop by the hotel to drop off my luggage, I immediately made my way to Tiananmen Square to get some of my first shots, and send them back to Taiwan.
The atmosphere in the Square was still peaceful, and students were placing wreaths and funerary scrolls around the Monument to the People's Heroes. They praised Hu Yaobang as a political reformer, and demanded the CCP begin the process of democratization.
This was before the internet and digitization, so I took some simple darkroom equipment with me, more than a hundred roles of black and white and colour film, three kinds of slide negatives, and most importantly, a special roller photo fax machine developed by the Associated Press (AP). I had to wash the film myself, print the photos, and then send them back to Taiwan through the fax machine. The washroom in my hotel room became my dark room. It was 5x7 size photo film, and it took at least seven minutes to fax a single monochrome photo. If for any reason the scan was interrupted, you had to start all over from the beginning.
Spending so much time sending photos back to Taiwan raised suspicions, especially when I stayed at state-run hotels. I'd often get a knock on the door asking "Mr Hsieh, what are you doing" right in the middle of a fax. I had no choice but to take the machine to other hotels and beg to use their line. All this hard work is now unimaginable in the era of digital cameras and mobile phones.

In the square, we were fearless

When I wasn't on assignment, I spent all my time in Tiananmen Square.
It wasn't until April 19th that I felt nervous about the protest, when thousands of students gathered in front of the Xinhua Gate leading to Zhongnanhai — the central headquarters and residences of the CCP's top leadership. The CCP sent armed police units in response, and the first violent confrontations erupted.
At first, I wasn't afraid, I saw similar clashes between protesters and police in Taiwan. It was exciting to see the same spirit of democratization sprout up in China.
But trucking my camera equipment made me noticeable, and I'd often get questions like "where are you from?" I didn't want to raise too much suspicion, so I'd say "I'm a reporter from the south of China." That solicited some unusual responses like "you're an out-of-provincer!" (外省人), which left me dumbstruck on how to reply.
One time, a student from Xiamen University approached me and asked "do you speak the Minnan dialect?", a language spoken in Taiwan and the southern Chinese province of Fujian. So right there in Tiananmen Square, the two of us chatted care-free in a language totally unfamiliar to the locals in Beijing.
Chinese state newspapers didn't report on the student protests, there were only "outsiders" covering the situation in the square. One reporter from Reuters would make discreet inquiries, and became the main source for what was happening with the students.
It wasn't until the Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation was established — an organization that acted as the chief decision-making body for the student protesters — that students began to engrave steel plates in the square, and print their own publications. But as students began organizing better, the authorities became more nervous, and sped up their plans to evict the students.
The April evenings in Beijing were chilly, and the students wrapped themselves in quilts, enduring hunger and the cold. Looking glum, they wrote big-characters on posters that read "We can tolerate hunger, but we can't tolerate a China without democracy!"
I tried to learn more about the students, so one of the protest leaders, Wang Dan (王丹), took me to Peking University to attend a student symposium and see his dormitory. There were six to eight students squeezed into bunk beds in Wang's dorm room. They lived frugally, but their hearts were full of lofty ideals.
Wang's parents were teachers, and I asked him how they felt about him taking part in the protests. "I spoke at length with my parents about this," he said. "They support our fight for democratic freedom in China." No one imagined that the protest would utterly change their lives.

The Last Photo

The students' hunger strike intensified by mid-May, and students were pouring in from all over China to take part in the protest. There were whispers that the PLA was outside the city and ready to use force to disperse the crowds. Everyone was jittery, and news agencies started worrying about the safety of their reporters. Holding a big camera in my hand, I was an obvious target.
My office also asked me to evacuate, and their calls only increased after martial law was announced on May 20. The control area around the square expanded, and violence broke out more frequently. People couldn't hide the fear and uncertainty in their eyes.
Eventually, the office cut off my compensation and forced me to return to Taipei. I told them in no uncertain terms that I was staying, but with only $100 US dollars and a return plane ticket in my pocket, I had no choice but to concede.
On May 23, three workers vandalized the Mao Zedong (毛澤東) portrait hanging on the Gate of Heavenly Peace, and I took my last photo.
I left Beijing the next day. I was filled with regret that I couldn't document the entire protest. I spent 40 days in Tiananmen Square.
Not long after I returned to Taipei, PLA units advanced on the students, and Tiananmen Square was stained with blood. Wang Dan and the student leaders were arrested, and many of the Chinese journalists I met were now missing.
My feelings were all over the place. I felt sad for the young students who sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy, and I regret missing the opportunity to witness an important historical event. I also couldn't help but think that if I was still in the square, my situation would be very different right now.

The job I never finished

Tiananmen Square was the only assignment I never finished. After returning to Taiwan, I clipped my resignation letter to my expense sheet, and quit my job at the Independence Evening Post for forcing me to come back. I hid these photos and regrets in a corner for nearly 30 years, that is, until Chang Chao-tang (張照堂) — a famous photographer and documentary filmmaker in Taiwan — saw the images.
"There's no need to feel regret, you were there, that's the most important thing," said Chang. "The process is important."
In the blink of an eye, 30 years have passed since June 4. Nowadays, when I look at those old images, I think of the students and their reckless abandon. "To the greatness of life, and to a glorious death!" That was a slogan on a poster at the time. I hope the images I shot can express even a fraction of their desire for democracy and freedom.
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The press conference held by Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation. (Photo/Hseih San-Tai)
The press conference held by Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation. (Photo/Hseih San-Tai)
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The press conference held by Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation. (Photo/Hseih San-Tai)
The press conference held by Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation. (Photo/Hseih San-Tai)
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Student gathered in Tiananmen square. (Photo/Hsieh San-Tai)
Student gathered in Tiananmen square. (Photo/Hsieh San-Tai)
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Student gathered in Tiananmen square. (Photo/Hsieh San-Tai)
Student gathered in Tiananmen square. (Photo/Hsieh San-Tai)
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Wounded people in Capital Medical University.(Photo/Hsieh San-Tai)
Wounded people in Capital Medical University.(Photo/Hsieh San-Tai)

Hsieh San-tai

Hsieh San-tai is a Taiwanese photo-journalist with experience at the Independence Evening Post (自立晚報), the Independence Morning Post (自立早報), the Taiwan Weekly (黑白新聞週刊), New Taiwan Weekly (新台灣週刊) and Power News (勁報). He's photographed a historic moments events in Taiwan, including the 1988 520 Peasant Movement, the 1987 National Assembly protests, and the country's first mayoral and presidential elections.

In recent years, his focus is on documenting Taiwan's vibrant civil society movements, including the labour movement, minority rights' movements, and the environmental protection movement.

用行動支持報導者

優質深度報導必須投入優秀記者、足夠時間與大量資源⋯⋯我們需要細水長流的小額贊助,才能走更長遠的路。 竭誠歡迎認同《報導者》理念的朋友贊助支持我們!

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