By China Change, published: April 24, 2015
Xiong Yan (熊焱) was a law student in 1989 and a leader in the student democracy movement that ended tragically when the Chinese government cracked it down with machine guns and tanks. Xiong Yan left China in 1992 and is now a U. S. Army chaplain stationed in Texas. His applications for Chinese visa have been turned down repeatedly over the years, and he has not been able to visit his loved ones in China, and, this time, his dying mother.
According the New York Times:
Now an American citizen and a United States Army chaplain, Major Xiong said in a telephone interview on Friday that he had asked to return to his homeland. His mother, who is in her 70s, is dying, he said, and he has asked the Chinese authorities to allow him to travel back to say goodbye.
But Chinese consular officials have so far ignored his request, he said, reflecting how the country has yet to come to terms with the protests 26 years ago.
On April 23, Major Xiong Yan flew to Hong Kong from Seattle, and at the airport in Hong Kong, he was taken to a room and questioned by Customs officers, his friend Wang Min in Seattle told Radio Free Asia. A few hours later, Major Xiong was told by the airport officials that he may not enter Hong Kong and must return to the U. S. immediately.
It must be noted that, as a U. S. citizen, Major Xiong Yan is eligible to enter Hong Kong without a visa, and six years ago he was able to travel to Hong Kong to attend the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Tiananmen Movement but no more, an example how fast the promise of “One Country, Two Systems” is falling apart.
While in Hong Kong, Major Xiong Yan wrote the poem below:
Arriving at the Border of the Free World
by Xiong Yan
Written in Hong Kong, April 23, 2015
Dedicated to my dying mother
I arrive at the border of the free world,
gentle of heart
and eager to move forward.
Gazing over there, at that leaden sky,
I cry out to my dying mother,
tears of sorrow mingling with grief.
lying on your sickbed
as your strength ebbs,
forgive your unfilial son
for not being there to bid you farewell.
Here in Hong Kong,
I envision your pallid face,
I stretch out my hand
that I may be nearer to you.
stretch out your hand
that we may meet again
in a more loving world.
Unable to meet here on Earth,
we will be reunited in Heaven.
The scene, so vivid,
is but a lingering hope.
As the pain of this mortal world
drives me ever forward,
I will remember what the Lord taught:
that Love is everlasting.
I stand at the border of Hong Kong,
gazing at my mainland—
a mainland I can but see
as a swath of gray.
I stand atop a Hong Kong skyscraper,
reminiscing of motherly love—
a love I may not meet again,
though I may but hope.
Hope is a truth
that each of us has,
a promise from God
to never be forgotten.
(Poem translated by Cindy Carter)
The Road Home Is 22 Years Long, by Yaxue Cao, January 15, 2013. How another Tiananmen exile returned home to visit aging mother.
Exiled Tiananmen Protester Blocked From Entering Hong Kong, the New York Times, April 24, 2015.