International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the restrictions imposed
by Chinese authorities on the media reporting of the death of a man shortly
after he gave an interview to foreign press about his incarceration and torture
following his connection with the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests.
Wangyang, 62 and blind, was a union leader in Hunan who had served 22 years in
prison for his involvement in the Tiananmen Square protests that took place in
Beijing around June 4,1989.
release, Li received 8,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately USD 1,300) from the
foreign non-governmental organisation Human Rights in China. During his
imprisonment, Li was tortured to such an extent that he was left completely
blind and largely deaf.
disclosed that he was tortured by a prison warden during an interview with Hong
Kong-based media channel, Cable Television on June 3, 2012. During the
interview, Li demanded vindication for those punished or killed in the
reprisals of the 1989 protests.
June, Li was found dead in Daxiang District people’s hospital in Shaoyang City,
Hunan province. According to various Hong Kong and overseas media reports, his
death was reported as a suicide. However, his family members and friends claim
his death is suspicious. Li’s sister said she visited her brother in hospital
the day before his death and he had asked her to buy him a radio, suggesting he
had no intention of suicide.
family arrived at the hospital after his death, they were prevented from examining
his body by security agents. After his death Li’s body was immediately taken
away by police despite Li’s sister’s demands for an autopsy.
journalists have been forbidden from reporting the story. Li’s family were also
warned by local police not to accept any interviews from the media.
“It is difficult
to understand authorities’ claims that media reporting could jeopardise police
investigations”, IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
family and the Chinese public have the right to know how and why a man has
allegedly committed suicide in a public hospital.
Wangyang’s connection with the 1989 protests, it is even more important that
this case be investigated in a manner that is open and transparent.”
urges Meng Jianzhu, China’s Minister of Public Security, to investigate the
case independently and report to the public his findings.
urge Liu Yunshan, the Director of China’s Propaganda Department, to uphold
Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution which guarantees the free media reporting
of news stories of great public concern.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131
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