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(From South China Morning Post)
Early in April 1990, the day after the Ching Ming grave-sweeping festival, Zhang Xianling visited her son at the Wan'an Public Cemetery Hall of Remains west of Beijing and found a piece of paper fluttering beneath a rock on his grave.
"We share the same fate," the note read. "On June 4, 1989, I lost my husband. Now my son and I rely on each other for survival. There is so much I can't come to grips with. If you wish, please contact me."
Moved by the note, Zhang sent it to Ding Zilin, a woman she had befriended in September 1989, three months after the government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing. Like the author of the note, You Weijie, both women had lost loved ones in the massacre. Ding's son, Jiang Jielian, had been one of the first and youngest victims, shot in the back on June 3, a day after his 17th birthday and less than an hour after he struggled out of his mother's arms, telling her he had to ignore her pleas not to go to Tiananmen Square.
This tragic link brought Zhang, Ding and You together, and gradually they helped to unite more than 100 other relatives of victims scattered around China, many through mutual friendships and contacts of Ding's son. Unable to mourn publicly the deaths of the activists because of strict government bans …