6 June 2012
(c) 2012 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, June 6 -- A labor group activist who organized workers to join the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989 and who was imprisoned for 22 years has died in China under questionable circumstances, a human rights watchdog and Hong Kong media reported Wednesday.
A funeral home in Shaoyang, a city in Hunan Province, confirmed receiving the body of Li Wangyang, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.
It quoted a friend of 62-year-old Li as saying his family members found him dead by a ward window with gauze wrapped around his neck when they arrived at the hospital where he was staying early in the morning.
They cast doubt on the official explanation that he committed suicide, noting how he only recently told Hong Kong's Cable TV in an interview about his intention to keep pressing for redress of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the center said.
In the interview conducted last month, Li said he did not regret fighting for democracy in China.
"I was only imprisoned," he said. "Even if I were to be beheaded, I would not regret it."
Li had been imprisoned for a total of 22 years for his role in leading a protest and calling for the redress of the June 4 massacre.
He was released last year with his eyesight and hearing abilities almost entirely lost, allegedly to torture while in prison, the center said.
Cable TV quoted another friend of Li as saying he had earlier asked his sister for a radio to test his hearing, while Tuesday he was asking about financial arrangement for treatments for his eyes and ears, suggesting he had no plan to kill himself.