Of Zhengzhou 10 Tiananmen Activists, Only Yu Shiwen Remains Behind Bars

2015-02-11
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Students gather at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, April 22, 1989.
Students gather at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, April 22, 1989.
AFP

Authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan are investigating the last of the "Zhengzhou 10" activists who marked the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square military crackdown, while two others have been released "on bail," lawyers and relatives said on Wednesday.

The case against Yu Shiwen for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" has been taken up by the prosecutor in Henan's capital, Zhengzhou, his lawyer Zhang Xuezhong told RFA.

"They have already issued the indictment and sent it to the court," Zhang said. "A lawyer will visit him in the next couple of days."

Fellow detainees Dong Guangping and Hou Shuai were released on bail on Wednesday, relatives said.

"He was bailed out today; they told us to wait at home for him," Dong's wife Gu Shuhua said. "I think they both were."

She added: "They were both met by police; we weren't allowed to go and meet them."

Dong, Hou and Yu were the last of a group of 10 detained in May 2014 for commemorating the 1989 bloodshed and the death of ousted former premiers Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang.

Now, only Yu remains behind bars.

Gu said the family has yet to see any official documents relating to Dong's release.

Hou's mother, who gave only her surname Ma, said she had also received notification of her son's bail from police on Wednesday.

"He's not home yet," Ma said in an interview on Wednesday evening.

Yu was detained last May alongside his wife and fellow veteran of the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Guangzhou, Chen Wei.

Held on same charges

Rights activists Jia Lingmin and Liu Diwei, journalists Shi Yu (also known as Shi Ping) and Yin Yusheng and online discussion forum moderator Shao Shengdong were held on the same charges.

Netizen activists Dong Guangping, Fang Yan and Hou Shuai were also held around that time, while lawyers Ji Laisong and Chang Boyang were held for several months before being released, after they tried to represent the detained activists.

Meanwhile, a detained rights lawyer held for similar activities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has been subjected to physical abuse while in police detention, his lawyer said.

Wang Qingying, who was detained alongside fellow rights lawyers Tang Jingling and Yuan Xinting on May 16 for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" is now being held on subversion charges in Guangzhou, lawyer Sui Muqing told RFA after visiting Wang on Tuesday.

"He looked as white as a ghost, and he was clearly in a terrible state, emotionally," Sui said. "I asked him how things were going for him inside, and he didn't answer for a long time."

"I started to question him more forcefully, and then...Wang Qingying burst into tears and said that...everyone in his cell was bullying him every day," Sui said.

Wang said any dispute with cellmates was decided against him by the guards.

"He has been punished by having to clean the toilets, but also made to wear manacles and leg irons, once for 12 days at a stretch," Sui said.

Detained amid crackdown

Tang, Wang and Yuan were detained amid a nationwide crackdown on activists and family members of victims of the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square student-led pro-democracy movement in the run-up to the 25th anniversary on June 4.

The charges against the three men were later changed to the more serious charge of "incitement to subvert state power."

The ruling Chinese Communist Party bans public memorials marking the event, although police have escorted the relatives of those who died from house arrest to cemeteries to pay their respects to loved ones in private.

The Party has continued to ignore growing calls in China and from overseas for a reappraisal of the 1989 student protests, which it once styled a "counterrevolutionary rebellion."

The number of people killed when People's Liberation Army tanks and troops entered Beijing on the night of June 3-4, 1989, remains a mystery.

Beijing authorities once put the death toll at "nearly 300," but the central government, which labeled the six weeks of pro-democracy protests a "counterrevolutionary uprising," has not issued an official toll or list of names.

Reported by Hai Nan for RFA's Cantonese Service and by Yang Fan for the Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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