09/30/2022, 14.08
CHINA
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Christian who witnessed the Tiananmen massacre awaits a new trial

After he was sentenced to two years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”,  Zhang Qiang filed an appeal. For now, he is in jail in Guangzhou. For taking part in the Tiananmen Square protests, he was expelled from his university and his household certificate was cancelled.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – A member of the Bible Reformed Church was sentenced in June to two years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. He immediately appealed the ruling.

According to ChinaAid, the man in question, Zhang Qiang, witnessed the events in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989, 33 years ago, when security forces slaughtered students and ordinary citizens demanding freedom and democracy for the country.

Originally from Liaoning, but a resident in Guangzhou (Guangdong), Zhang came under fire from the Communist Party of China for repeatedly demanding justice for people who filed public petitions and then suffered reprisals from the authorities.

In late October 2020, in a post on WeChat (a popular Chinese messaging site), Zhang questioned the Guangzhou police's version of the death of Li Shiquan, head of the Political Department of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security.

According to the Christian man, Li did not die "in the line of duty”, and for this reason, Haizhu District Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation against him and formally indicted in April 2021.

Last June, Zhang was convicted by the local District People’s Court, but immediately filed an appeal. Currently, he is in prison in Haizhu.

After the Tiananmen Square protests, Zhang was the victim of retaliations. His university expelled him and the police cancelled his household certificate, making him a de facto undocumented person.

When he sued the police, he was unable to attend the two trials his case eventually led to, because he could not produce any identity papers.

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