Lu Buxuan, once a promising Beijing University student, who was at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, ended up becoming the owner of a butcher shop.
Many of the university students who attended the pro-democracy demonstrations that year have been persecuted by the communist authorities. Lu may be one of the lucky ones, as some of his former classmates have died or committed suicide.
Lu joined the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Beijing University in 1985 and graduated in 1989, according to a recent report by Southern People Weekly.
Lu recalled the events of that fateful year— students were giving speeches everywhere, and the anti-corruption movement encouraged hand-written posters to be plastered all over the bulletin boards. “Under such circumstances, who could resist being involved? At that time, I was also a passionate young man,” Lu told the Weekly.
Although the students were protesting peacefully at Tiananmen on June 4, the Chinese regime sent in tanks and soldiers early that morning in a brutal crackdown that turned into a massacre.
Lu fled to his hometown in Shaanxi Province, and stayed at in apartment rented by his cousin. When uniformed and plainclothes police came looking for him one night, he was out wandering around, and avoided being thrown into jail.
A week later, he decided to risk returning to Beijing, but could hardly recognize the university campus. Most students had no interest in attending classes, and were gathered in the dormitories, playing mahjong or making plans for postgraduate studies overseas. Lu had been in line for a post with the central government or Beijing municipal authorities, but received nothing except an order to be dispatched back to his hometown.
Of Lu’s dozen or so male classmates who were studying the same course, five have died. Chu Fujun, a poet pen-named Ge Mai known for writing modern poetry, threw himself into a Beijing river. The other four either died from chronic overwork or leaped to their deaths due to depression, the Daily report said.
From July 1989, Lu rode his old bicycle more than 40 kilometers a day between his hometown and Xian City, trying to find a job with government agencies. However, nobody would hire him once they learned he was a graduate from Beijing University.
Since 1993, Lu has tried various jobs, including running a factory, mining, home renovation, and operating a retail store, but none of them took off.
In 2000, Lu became a butcher. He gained media attention in 2003 as his monthly income exceeded 10,000 yuan ($1,600). He pretended that he had never received any higher education, and people who saw his outstanding calligraphy at the shop praised him for achieving excellence by studying on his own.