Brant Pelphrey

As Interviewed by Nathaniel Enis, March 21, 2019

Brant Pelphrey: In his own Words, As Interviewed by Nathaniel Enis

Hello. This is father Brendan Pelphrey, married to Sharon. We were in Hong Kong when the Tiananmen Massacre occurred. A group of students had assembled at the vast Tiananmen square to recall the life of a Chinese politician; a figure that was gradually seen as being more liberal, and that had supported more freedoms for people.

What was called the Tiananmen massacre occurred at night, on the sixth of June, in which the government decided to send in army troops. They surrounded Tiananmen square, and then in the middle of the night, they rolled in with tanks, crushing people who were sleeping in their tents and rolling over people who were standing there. Many people lost their lives. The government even today still doesn’t admit how many.

Ultimately, after a couple of weeks, students in China who were the children or close relatives of Chinese government officials fled China. They came to live where we were living. They knew that we would be open to their coming; that we would welcome them. So we had nine refugees living there. They were there secretly. We couldn’t tell anyone, who was there.

Over the next few months, it turned out that one of those nine was a spy. He turned in one of the young men who we called Benjamin. He stepped off our grounds just to take a walk and was immediately arrested by Chinese army dressed like Hong Kong police. They took him into Guangzhou and put him in jail. The first time we were able to bribe him out. We gave them a lot of money and smuggled into Guangzhou. They let him go. He was then arrested a second time. That time he broke his way out and swam to the island of Macau where the United Nations secretly smuggled him to Scandinavia. All the rest of them were left with the United Nations. We found out that there were police in Hong Kong who were actually supporting the mainland Chinese government, so we had to be very very careful.

Following the massacre in Tiananmen, many people in Hong Kong were very angry. We got to watch a lot of it on television until the cameramen were either arrested or killed. So we saw what was happening.

Spontaneously, marching was taking place in Hong Kong, and we were part of a march that involved as many as a million people all at once. Anyway, a million people. During that march, a man who was wearing clothing that plainly came from mainland China was filming Sharon (my wife). We gradually realized that they were recording westerners in the march, with the intent to revoke your passport if you ever wanted to travel in mainland China. We were conscious that we were being watched.