Tiananmen Square crackdown

Sister of late Chinese dissident Li Wangyang thanks Hongkongers for support of democracy push and 1989 Tiananmen victims

Li Wangling delivers message as thousands gather in the city to mark 29th anniversary of crackdown on democracy protesters in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 12:12am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 8:54am

The sister of late Chinese dissident Li Wangyang on Monday expressed gratitude to Hongkongers for their continued support of those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as thousands gathered in the city to remember the victims.

Li Wangling delivered her message in a brief video posted to the Facebook page of Hong Kong’s Confederation of Trade Unions, a pro-democracy labour group.

She wore a black T-shirt with the slogan: “Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves” – the first line of the Chinese national anthem.

The dead activist’s sibling thanked Hongkongers for their concern for the democracy movement in mainland China. Her message came as thousands attended the annual candlelight vigil in the city’s Victoria Park for the 29th anniversary of the crackdown.

“Hong Kong compatriots, thank you very much for your continued fight for justice over the past 29 years ... and for pressing the Beijing leadership to reverse their verdict on June 4 ... Hong Kong, together we go,” she said.

The confederation’s website also hosted a video showing Li Wangyang’s long-time friend and fellow activist, Yin Zhengan, who expressed a “sincere and heartfelt thank you”.

At anniversary of activist’s death, Hong Kong groups demand inquiry into suicide

“The videos were taken several days ago when some friends of ours went to Hunan province to visit Li Wangling and Wangyang’s friends,” confederation spokesman Lee Cho-ming said.

Li Wangyang spent 22 years in prison after taking part in the pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989, which Beijing crushed in a military crackdown. He was freed in 2011, but was reportedly placed under round-the-clock police surveillance.

In June 2012 he was found dead by relatives in a hospital room in Shaoyang, Hunan province, where he was being treated for heart disease and diabetes.

His neck was tied in a cloth hung from a bar running along the top of a window, with his feet still touching the ground, according to Hong Kong media reports at the time.

Hongkongers commemorate the 29 anniversary of Tiananmen Square crackdown

Authorities claimed he had committed suicide, but the suspicious death, just days after he vowed in a media interview to press ahead with his fight for democracy, caused an uproar in Hong Kong and widespread concern about the persecution of activists on the mainland.

There were doubts about whether the nearly deaf and blind activist would have even been able to hang himself, especially while under police guard.

Amid persistent focus on Li’s death by the overseas and Hong Kong media, Hunan authorities launched a probe by a “team of experienced criminal investigation experts”. But in the end they maintained that Li had indeed taken his own life.