Report on activist's death 'within week'
Joyce Man and Tony Cheung
A mainland report on the death of June 4 activist Li Wangyang will be released within a week, the leader of a local political party said yesterday.
Philip Li Koi-hop, chairman of the People's Opposition Party, said two mainland officials told him of the timing of the report's publication but had not described its scope or said which authority was issuing it.
The officials were Xiao Huahu and Cao Shirong, the head and deputy head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office branch in Shaoyang , Hunan province, whom Philip Li and another member of his party met three times this week.
Li, a labour rights activist who was tortured during 21 years in jail and was blind and deaf, was found allegedly hanged in a hospital ward on June 6. Days earlier, he had given a defiant interview to Hong Kong's Cable TV.
The Hunan government last month pledged to launch an inquiry into Li's death using experts from outside the province. Authorities initially said Li had hanged himself, then that he died 'accidentally'.
Philip Li went to Shaoyang last week with a fellow party member and a translator. They had no trouble entering or leaving the mainland but setting up the meetings with the officials took a lot of effort and requests at various government departments.
Li said they made the trip to understand how the activist died, an issue that concerned many Hongkongers - thousands marched to the centra government's liaison office days after his death. The officials refused to answer some questions.
Meanwhile, League of Social Democrats members Lo Hom-chau and Chan Yu-nam said they would go to Beijing today with a petition signed by 4,000 people asking for the truth about Li's death to be made public.
They will file the petition at the State Bureau for Letters and Calls.
And lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said a fund for Li Wangyang's family set up by the Confederation of Trade Unions had collected HK$500,000. But family members remained missing and the money would be held until they were found.