Ming Pao learnt from an interview with Yin Zhengan, Li Wangyang’s close friend who took part in June 4 Protests together with Li, that since Li’s so-called suicide incident, Yin has been placed under severe surveillance and control.
Police interrogated him while locking his limbs in a “interrogation chair” and told Yin’s wife to report Yin’s whereabouts. The woman even tried to steal Yin’s sim card for the police.
Another of Li’s close friends, Zhu Chengzhi, was prosecuted by the government for the felony of “overthrowing the state power” in mid July, as he was suspected of issuing a photo of Li’s hanging to the outside world.
Soon after Zhu was arrested, Yin’s teahouse was raided and his computer and camera were confiscated. He was still filled with horror when he recalled the scene of his interrogation by the police. He said, “at that time, he was locked in handcuffs and foot shackles of an ‘interrogation chair’ unable to move.”
Yin was placed under house arrest until August 13. He said that the government threatened Li’s sister, Li Wangling, and brother-in-law, Zhao Baozhu, with imprisonment in a labour camp to prohibit them from expressing any doubt about the cause of Li’s death, especially from receiving interviews.
In spite of the persecution, Yin said that he will persist in looking into the cause of Li Wangyang’s death, as Li was his good friend since childhood, and they had together started the protests in Shaoyang in response to the Tiananmen protests in Beijing.
Not only Li’s relatives and friends in Shaoyang City were put under strict surveillance and control, but other democracy activists who showed concern on Li’s fate were also implicated. As far back as in 2011 when Li Wangyang was just released from prison, in his status as chairman of China Human Rights Observation, Qin Yongmin appealed to people at home and abroad for donations to help Li and was detained by the police for 10 days.
After Li’s bizarre death in June, Qin was again detained and not released until June 23. Qin Yongmin Experienced the Cruel Torture of Coffin Cabin for Raising Funds for Li.
Like Li Wangyang, Qi Yongmin is an initiator of China’s democracy movement. He was imprisoned for his democracy activities for more than 23 years in all, longer than Li’s 21 years. When asked by Ming Pao, he said he himself had also experienced the torture of “coffin cabin.”
However, the “coffin cabin” he was locked in was more than 2 meters tall, 0.4 meter taller than that Li was locked in. In other words, the torture Li suffered was bitterer than Qin’s. Qin said that though the heights were different, the two were similar in having extremely little space as close as a sealed cabin with no ventilation.
The prisoner squatted in it in front of a latrine pit with his feet shackled to the ground and hands handcuffed behind. He could move neither his hands nor feet and had to urinate and defecate onto his own body for days.
Qin believed that as Li’s bizarre death had drawn close attention from people at home and abroad, the authority handled the incident very stringent and cruel and had done its best to gag people. As for the cause of Li Wangyang’s death, Qin Yongming clearly had doubt about it and said, “No one will believe that. Can a blind man commit suicide before other people’s eyes?”
- Police charge activist who cast doubt on Li Wangyang’s suicide (chinadailymail.com)
- China accused of crackdown on family and friends of dead activist (guardian.co.uk)
- New Chinese investigation says high-profile dissident committed suicide (edition.cnn.com)