Date
23 July 2017
Li Wangling mourns the death of her activist brother Li Wangyang who died under suspicious circumstances in China four years ago. Photos: Facebook, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China
Li Wangling mourns the death of her activist brother Li Wangyang who died under suspicious circumstances in China four years ago. Photos: Facebook, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China

HK groups commemorate 4th anniversary of Li Wangyang’s death

Representatives from several political and civic organizations staged a march in Hong Kong on Monday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of Chinese dissident Li Wangyang.

The group marched to the central government’s liaison office here, demanding an investigation into Li’s death and urging mainland authorities to stop their surveillance on Li’s sister and her husband. 

Among the participants were representatives from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, Democratic Party, Labour Party, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, and the Justice & Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Li was found dead on June 6, 2012 in a hospital room in Shaoyang city in China, one year after he was released from prison following a long sentence in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen protests. 

Mainland authorities claimed the activist had committed suicide by hanging himself, before later revising the official version to “accidental death”.

The explanation, however, failed to convince many observers who pointed to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

In the mainland, authorities deployed strict security measures on Monday at the cemetery where Li had been laid to rest four years ago.

Li’s sister, Li Wangling, was said to have been allowed to sweep the tomb of her elder brother on Monday, along with her husband Zhao Baozhu.

However, they were allowed to stay there only for 40 minutes, and too under the watch of national security agents, Apple Daily reported.

The couple was unreachable on their mobile phones all day on Monday, according to the report.

Ou Biaofeng, another human rights activist from Hunan province, said Zhao had called him up after noon, saying that national security agents were monitoring him and his wife during the tomb sweeping process.

The Communist regime is utterly frightened as it realizes that people have not forgotten Li Wangyang and his beliefs, Ou was quoted as saying.

Dozens of police officers were seen guarding the entrance of the cemetery, trying to stop people from visiting Li’s grave.

Li Wangyang was jailed for 21 years after taking part in China’s 1989 democracy movement.

He was said to have been severely mistreated in jail, causing him to suffer many disabilities by the time he was released in 2011.

When a Hong Kong television station reporter interviewed Li in May 2012, the activist was found deaf and almost blind.

Despite his suffering, Li said he never regrets taking part in the fight for democracy.

“I will not give up, even if they cut my head off,” he famously declared.

The comments are believed to have enraged mainland authorities. 

On June 6 that year, Li was found dead with his neck tied to a white cloth hung from window bars in a hospital room but with his feet still touching the floor.

Officials insisted that Li hanged himself, and rushed to incinerate his body.

The incident prompted tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong to take to the streets in protest.

Beijing ordered the cause of death be investigated, but Hunan authorities said the evidence pointing to a suicide was strong.

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