IFJ Condemns Restrictions on Reporting of Suspicious Death of Chinese Activist



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.


After his

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.


On 6

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.


When Li’s

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.


Given Li

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.


We also

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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