Hong Hong’s Ming Pao reports that in the incident of the bizarre death of democracy activist Li Wangyang in Shaoyang, Hunan Province, the authorities conducted an autopsy in haste without his relatives’ consent, and cremated his body yesterday morning. Li’s friends condemned the authorities for destroying evidence in doing so. Li’s relatives and the democracy activists concerned about the incident remained under house arrest yesterday.
In Hong Kong, 30 organisations, including The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and the Civil Human Rights Front, plan to hold a demonstration at 3 pm today. They call on citizens to join them and shout slogans to demand disclosure of the truth about Li Wangyang’s death, cessation of political persecution and release of all political prisoners. It is expected that 3,000 people will participate in the demonstration.
Has the cremation been carried out with Li’s relatives’ consent?
The Information Centre for Human Rights & Democracy reported that Li’s body was cremated at 9:40am yesterday (Saturday). At Ming Pao’s telephone inquiry, a staff member of the undertaker’s in Shaoyang City confirmed that. It was stated that another autopsy was carried out at the site of cremation. A worker there revealed to Hong Kong’s Cable TV that they received an impromptu notice that morning that required immediate cremation.
The staff member stressed, “There must be signed consent by a relative. Otherwise cremation cannot be carried out.” Li Wangyang’s sister Li Wangling and brother-in-law Zhao Baozhu had signed their consent “voluntarily, and the relatives are willing.” There were many policemen at the site, but few relatives or friends. The Information Centre said that earlier 30 of Li Wangyang’s friends, who had been co-prisoners with Li at Hunan No. 1 Provincial Prison, hoped to pay their last respects to Li’s remains, but were turned back on their way.
When Ming Pao learnt about the cremation, it kept on calling Li Wangling’s and Zhao Baozhu’s mobile phones, but could no get connected. Therefore Ming Pao was unable to have them confirm whether they had signed their consent to the cremation.
Huang Lihong, a Hunan democracy activist, told Ming Pao that Li’s relatives were not present during the autopsy by a legal examiner from the Bureau of Public Security. Huang said that Li Wangling asked her friend Li Zanming by phone to draft a statement, saying that she firmly refused giving consent to the autopsy. However, the authorities said the day before yesterday that the autopsy was a government activity, and did not require relatives consent. There were representatives of the City’s people’s congress and CCPCC present to inspect the autopsy. The authorities haven’t yet announced the findings of the autopsy.
This writer believes that there has certainly been no relatives consent, because the authority had already decided the day before yesterday that relatives consent was not necessary.
Authorities condemned for destroying evidence and conducting autopsy without relatives present
Regarding the authorities’ haste in cremating Li’s body within 4 days, Li’s friend Yin Zhengan said, “I expected such an outcome long ago, but was unable to alter it. I am very sad at that incident.” He condemned the authorities, saying, “They have crossed the bottom line of human tolerance.” Huang Lijiang also believes that the authorities wanted to destroy evidence, saying “I can see that, and so can everybody else.” She said that the authorities are anxious to close the case quickly by “cremating the body and then driving everyone away.”
At the same time, the authorities further intensified their surveillance and control of Li Wangyang’s relatives and friends. When Li Zanmin was going to contact Zhao Baozhu at 8:00am yesterday, many people from the Public Security Bureau came to him immediately. Li told Ming Pao late last night that quite a few plain clothes policemen kept guard at the door of his residence. When Zhao Baozhu talked about the autopsy with the Information Centre for Human Rights & Democracy, the line was cut. The Centre said that Li Wangling and Zhao Baozhu checked out from the hotel at about 11:20am, but their whereabouts after that were unknown.
Phone calls to lawyer cannot be connected, Li’s friends placed under house arrest
Xiangtan democracy activist Zhou Zhirong, who initiated the establishment of the Committee for Investigation of the Truth of Li Wangyang’s Suicide, was brought away by the police from his residence the day before yesterday, and had remained in custody up to last night. Huang Lihong said Zhou’s wife confirmed that. In addition, phone calls to Guangzhou lawyer Tang Jingling cannot be connected. Li’s friends Lei Deming and Yin Zhengan confirmed to Ming Pao that they were respectively placed under house arrest by 4 to 5 State Security personnel.Another of Li’s friends, Zhu Chengzhi, had also been placed under house arrest.
Internet sources say Li’s brother-in-law’s close friend is the suspected murderer
Sources say that Hunan authorities have persisted in their hard-line and prompt handling of the incident and punishment of “stubborn elements” who refused to cooperate, in order to avoid enhancement of the negative repercussion. Yesterday, caiyu.org said in its report that Zhao Luxiang, head of the Internal Defence Sub-team of Shaoyang Public Security Bureau, was the suspected murderer in this case. According to the report, Zhao has an organised-crime background, and personally dealt with the two verdicts of Li Wangyang’s imprisonment. Zhao Luxiang was a close friend since childhood of Li Wangyang’s brother-in-law and Zhao Baozhu. Nonetheless, he was very severe in dealing with Li’s family during the cases. On June 6, he pointed all those at the site, to threaten them one by one. The terror then was as dark as that under Dongchang, the notorious secret police in the Ming Dynasty.”
Wang Youjin, a law scholar familiar with Chinese law, says that China’s criminal law forbids cremation of a victim’s body without approval. If the cause of death is unclear, the court or public security organ violates the criminal law if they deal with the body without authorisation. According to Article 302 of the Criminal Law on “the crime of stealing or insulting a corpse”, destroying a corpse by burning or unlawful autopsy or other means or disposing of a corpse in the manner that may hurt the deceased relatives feelings, violates the law, and may be punished by three years imprisonment.
- Suspicion over China activist’s ‘suicide’ (cnn.com)
- Chinese police detain Tiananmen Square veteran’s relatives (guardian.co.uk)
- Bizarre “suicide” in Hunan of June 4 leader is suspected murder (chinadailymail.com)
- Demand in China, Hong Kong for investigation of June 4 leader’s bizarre death (chinadailymail.com)