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    » 02/23/2006, 00.00

    CHINA

    Man who defaced Mao's portrait freed after 17 years



    The man, a young journalist when he was arrested in 1989, was released yesterday. He was charged and jailed with two friends. At least 70 other people are still in prison from the 1989 protests.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Yu Dongyue, who spent 17 years in prison for throwing paint-filled eggs at the Tiananmen Square portrait of Mao Zedong during the 1989 pro-democracy protests, was freed yesterday. But many more dissidents are still languishing in Chinese gulags.

    Yu, 39, was a journalist from Hunan province. In June 1989 he was sentenced to 20 years for "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement" after he and two friends defaced Mao's portrait the previous May. All three received heavy prison sentences.  

    Mr Yu's prison term was cut by three years and three months. Lu Decheng, 43, received a 16-year term but was released early in 1998, while Yu Zhijian, 43, was given a life sentence but released in 2000.

    In prison Mr Yu was tortured and has suffered mental problems. "He didn't seem to recognise me. When I called him 'brother', he did not respond," said Yu Xiyue, Yu Dongyue's brother.

    "I talked to him, but his responses were incomprehensible. I didn't understand what he said. [. . .] He was just smiling at everyone."

    Before being detained in Liuyang city last Sunday for taking part in a hunger strike to protest against the persecution of activists, Yu Zhijian said that as well as wishing to see Yu Dongyue well again, he wanted the public to have a positive understanding of the 1989 pro-democracy movement.

    "It's a terrible tragedy that these three young men have had their lives ruined," said John Kamm, executive director of US-based Dui Hua Foundation.

    According to the foundation's database some 70 dissidents linked to the 1989 protests are still imprisoned. Other international organisations put the number of activists from the 1989 Tiananmen protest movement still in China's gulags, i.e. in Lao Gai camps (prison work camps), in the thousands. (PB)

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    See also

    04/06/2007 CHINA
    Tiananmen massacre still continues today
    Eighteen years since the repression of the anti-corruption and pro-democracy movement, Han Dongfang, founder of the first free Chinese trade union, looks at the current situation of human and civil rights in his country and warns that continued repression and terror against the people can only undermine society as a whole.

    31/05/2016 18:51:00 HONG KONG – CHINA
    Hong Kong to remember 4 June 1989, “On this, there is no doubt”

    Every year, the former British colony remembers the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Hopefully, the Student Federation “will give it a second thought”, and join the vigil, says PIME regional superior. Ding Zilin, founder and soul of the Tiananmen Mothers, will not issue an open letter to the government for the first time in 27 years. The Church continues its commitment to truth and justice.



    14/07/2008 CHINA
    The truth about China and the Olympic Games
    Chinese leaders need the Olympic Games to be legitimate in the eyes of the world and show off their successes. However, the stability they achieved is a consequence of the Tiananmen massacre. More importantly, keeping up appearances and saving face cannot hide the fact that the government in Beijing is incapable of providing justice to its people. Here is an essay by one of the most influential dissidents in today’s China.

    01/06/2012 CHINA
    Tiananmen massacre cautiously marked in China
    For the first time since 1989, small demonstrations are held to mark the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong invite mainlanders to their great march in remembrance of the victims. New Hong Kong museum attracts tourists from the mainland.

    03/06/2005 CHINA
    Amnesty: Beijing must face up to Tiananmen massacre




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