The Truth of Li Wangyang ‘Being Suicided’ Is Partly Disclosed

Jun Xing


This year, on 16 June, Zhang Kai wrote, “the sudden death of Li Wangyang, a committed activist of Democratic Movement of 1989, proves that the local bureaucracy ignores law and justice. The local authorities announced that Li hanged himself in the hospital. But there were many doubts. … The local authorities forced his sister to agree to quick cremation. This obviously violated the new Criminal Procedure Law that forbids forced confession and evidence elimination” (see “Postscript” of ‘Comments on China’s New Criminal Procedure Law’, Issue no. 232).

Afterwards, the official authorities announced that Li Wangyang’s sister, Li Wangling and her husband, Zhao Bozhu, agreed to the autopsy report and signed, to apply for cremation, and to write an open letter stating there will be no further communication with the outside world.

Nearly 100 days after the doubtful ‘suicide’ of Li Wangyang, a reporter of Ming Pao broke through barriers to interview Li Wangling, Zhao Bozhu and Yin Zhengan (Li Wangyang’s good friend) in Shaoyang City of Hunan province. Zhao testified that they had not taken part in any investigation or signed any autopsy report of suicide. Their statements clearly contradicted the official reports.

The report asked them if the signed documents were fake. Zhao replied that they were requested to sign something that looked like a medical report. “We saw it, but we did not understand those medical jargons … Anyway, we signed at last, but could we say no at that moment?” And, they declined that they wrote the open letter.

During his visit, the reporter’s telephone was suspected to be tapped. Worse still, he was continuously interrogated by the police as he was in detention at the hotel for 44 hours. The authorities also arranged ‘an interview’ under the surveillance of officials. They brought Li, Zhao and Yin to the hotel, then asked the reporter to do an interview. The officials took the video-recording. Zhao was very nervous and said again, “don’t talk again any more the past” (quoted from Ming Pao, 12 September).

The above all shows that the authorities made fake documents, cheated the public, violated the law, and repeated mistakes.

Professor Wang Youjin, a mainland legal expert, remarked that the statements of Li Wangling and her husband are key proofs, which fundamentally denied the official report. This already justified starting a new investigation.

Despite the public challenges, Hunan provincial authority investigated the case and finally stated that Li Wangyang committed suicide. This showed that within the traditional bureaucracy, what the Shaoyang City authorities did was normal practice. But it violated the reporter’s human security and interview freedom and endangered press freedom. Ming Pao strongly protested and complained to Hong Kong News Executives’ Association, HKSAR, Liaison Office of the Central People's Government (LOCPG), and Hong Kong and Macao Office of the State Council of PRC. They required the Central government to investigate into the 44-hour detention of two reporters and guaranteed that it would not happen again.

Despite its stance of pro-Beijing, Hong Kong Federation of Journalists expressed the same concerns to LOCPG which later replied that they would direct Hong Kong opinions and requests to the mainland authorities. Lee Cheuk-Yan, chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, went to Geneva to see the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He submitted at least 20 reports of Li Wangyang’s case prepared by Hong Kong organizations and council members, in order to draw international attention, to require Chinese government to conduct an investigation with independence and justice, to punish the officials who violated the law, to compensate Li’s family, and to take precautions against relevant crimes.

        We completely support the above requests. We also request that the Chinese government must immediately disclose the truth of Li Wangyan’s death, ensure human security and freedom speech of Li Wangling, Zhao Zhubo, and lawyers, and guarantee that they will not be suppressed afterwards.

27 September 2012