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Activists question 'suicide' of dissident

Demand a full investigation into the death of Li Wangyang at a hospital in Hunan province

Protesters march in front of the Liaison Office of the central government in Hong Kong Protesters march in front of the Liaison Office of the central government in Hong Kong
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • China
  • June 7, 2012
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Rights groups have questioned the death of a top union leader and dissident who officials say hanged himself in a hospital yesterday.

The Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of the Hong Kong diocese joined other rights groups today to protest the death of Li Wangyang in front of the Liaison Office of the central government in Hong Kong.

“The international community is paying close attention to this incident. The central government should investigate who is responsible,” said Or Yan-yan, a JPC project officer.

Li, who was jailed for 21 years for his involvement in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, was found hanged in his hospital room with a cloth tied around his neck and attached to a window. Chinese officials determined that he had killed himself.

Li had been released from prison last May and transferred to the hospital in Shaoyang city in Hunan province, where he remained under police surveillance.

The Hong Kong-based Center for Human Rights and Democracy in China called the death “unusual” in a statement.

“We cannot rule out that security guards monitoring him tortured him to death and faked a suicide,” the statement said.

Cable TV news reporter Lam Kin-shing interviewed Li in hospital on June 2 as part of a report on this year’s commemoration of the Tiananmen Square protests.

He told local media he was concerned that the interview, in which Li promised to continue his work towards democratic reforms in the country even if it endangered his life, could have led to his death.

“That was an assassination,” Lam said.

Li’s younger sister told local media that she received a call from the hospital notifying her that her brother had been found dead.

She said Li had never expressed any desire to kill himself even after more than two decades in prison and suffering severe illness.

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