Sunday, July 1, 2012
Lawyers and Activists Form Group to Push for Investigation into “Suicide” of Long-Time Jailed Dissident Christian Li Wangyang
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
BEIJING (ANS) -- A group of some of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers and activists have set up a “Legal and Citizens Support Group” to push for an investigation into the “suicide” of long-time jailed dissident Christian Li Wangyang.
ChinaAid is encouraging everyone to sign the group’s petition.
ChinaAid Founder and President Dr. Bob Fu said in a news release, “Li Wangyang was imprisoned for nearly 22 years, and suffered appalling torture and abuses which caused him to go blind and lose his hearing. But none of that caused him to change his mind about the need for a democratic future for China.”
Fu continued, “All of the available evidence surrounding around Christian democracy activist Li Wangyang's sudden death in his hospital room indicate that the official Chinese claim that he committed suicide is suspicious and full of holes.”
Fu added, “We applaud the Support Group's courageous effort to urge the Chinese government to investigate the cause of Mr Li's death, to seek justice for his illegally detained family members and to hold accountable whoever abused and tortured Mr Li and orchestrated his death.”
Statement of “Legal and Citizens Support Group”
China Aid said the Legal and Citizens Support Group has charged the Shaoyang police’s pronouncement of “suicide” as being “riddled with questions.”
The group added, “As a Christian, Li Wangyang would not be motivated to commit suicide. The body did not exhibit the usual physiological signs of suicide by hanging, such as ‘protruding tongue.’ Besides, the bottoms of his feet were entirely in contact with the floor, and the white cloth with which he hanged himself was tied in an expert’s DuPont knot, which is not something that a deaf, blind and almost paralyzed patient could do.
China Aid said the group added, “Furthermore, since the police have already ruled it a ‘suicide,’ then logically speaking, this is not a criminal case, and there is all the more reason for the body to be released to his family so that they can mourn his death and make final arrangements. However, against the backdrop of objections from his family and doubt from all over the world, the Shaoyang police forcibly took control of the body and hurriedly cremated it. Legally speaking, there is great cause to suspect that they destroyed the body to cover up foul play.”
Despite ongoing requests for more information, China Aid reported the group said “the Shaoyang police still have refused to disclose the truth.”
China Aid said The Legal and Citizens Support Group will not be silent and will respond.
Otherwise, China Aid reported the group said, “We would feel we have no way to answer to the soul of this brave hero in heaven. And the life and safety of rights defenders in mainland China would be also be seriously compromised and the situation would continue to worsen, such that the life and safety, personal freedoms and dignity of all citizens could be violated at will. We must step up and actively seek a resolution of this incident through the rule of law.”
With that in mind, China Aid reported the group said, “We hereby officially establish the Legal and Citizens Support Group to investigate the truth behind Mr. Li Wangyang’s ‘Suicide’ ... in an orderly manner.”
The group concluded, “Let us work together and support each other and defend our rights in a peaceful and legal manner in accordance with the basics of the rule of law, and let us push forward until the entire incident is finally resolved in a just way.
For more information go to www.liwangyang.org
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