BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- It was drizzling in Kiev when Liu Hongxia, a young Xinhua reporter, landed at Boryspil International Airport Wednesday, just hours after deadly clashes broke out in the capital's Independence Square claiming dozens of lives.
Before leaving Moscow, where he worked as a resident correspondent, the newly-wed 25-year-old man never thought his two-day trip in Kiev would last for a week.
"I was not sure who would pick me up at the airport and where I could stay," said Liu.
He chose to stay in the Ukraine Hotel near the Independence Square(known locally as the Maiden), the same place he stayed two months ago when he first arrived to cover the anti-government rallies.
It was quiet along the first few miles to the Maiden, before armed policemen stood guard on major downtown streets.
In fact, he was the first Chinese journalist to arrive in Kiev after the protests turned violent Tuesday.
After a relaxed breakfast at the hotel Thursday morning, Liu wanted to take pictures on the square, given it had been declared a national day of mourning for those lost in clashes.
A wave of police arms made him change his mind a couple of hours later. Gunshots, explosions and outcries rattled Instytuska Street connecting the Maiden and the presidential administration compound soon.
Wearing body armor and a helmet, Liu, together with some Western reporters, cautiously slipped into the street and took some photos. He also shot video clips with his cellphone.
The reporters retreated as gunshots were getting denser. "One reporter shouted at me: 'Let's go, let's go, snipers around,'" he said.
More and more injured people were rushed to the Ukraine Hotel when Liu went back. The lobby of the hotel became a make-shift hospital, full of cries and blood.