03/08/2004, 00.00
china - npc
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Sars doctor urges government to reconsider its June 4 verdict

Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Jiang Yanyong, the doctor who forced the central government to admit it was lying about the Sars outbreak last year has submitted a letter to the authorities calling for a reappraisal of the verdict on the June 4 crackdown.

"The mistake made by our party should be resolved by the party itself," Jiang Yanyong wrote in a letter dated February 24. "The sooner and the more thorough the better."

News of the letter come out while Chinese authorities are attending the annual NPC conference.  The NPC session is traditionally a sensitive time when people from all walks of life submit petitions and letters to state leaders. These petitions often make their way to sympathetic NPC and CPPCC delegates.

The central government has repeatedly stressed the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were a counter-revolutionary movement and the use of force was justified. Every year parents of students who were killed in the Tiananmen Massacre ask for a reverse of the official judgement with no results. However, the letter from Dr Jiang - who is widely respected on the mainland - could attract the attention of deputies attending the conference. Asked if he believed authorities would listen, he said "I have no idea whether they would reappraise June 4, but I wanted to write this."

Dr Jiang, 72, wrote to the international media last April alleging that authorities were hiding the true number of Sars cases in Beijing hospitals. The letter, combined with queries from international media, forced the government to come clean and admit the scale of the outbreak. Dr Jiang's typewritten letter of February 24 referred to several party leaders who were against the crackdown, such as former president Yang Shangkun. Dr Jiang, a Communist Party member and a former official at the People's Liberation Army Hospital 301, said he saw dozens of protesters die of gunshot wounds in the aftermath of the June 4 crackdown.


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