Hong Kong: Thousands march demanding Li Wangyang probe
Protesters marched Sunday 10 June (2012) as the first official account of labour activist Li Wangyang’s suspicious hospital death arrived in the territory accompanied by news of statements of local authorities claiming that relatives requested cremation. The spontaneity of the protest march took many locals by surprise and surely much more so the authorities!
The thousands on the streets were demanding an investigation into the death of Tiananmen dissident Li Wangyang as the banners and protest shouts declared. It all happened without hours as authorities in the activist’s home city gave the first official account of how he died, saying his body was cremated, *”at the request of relatives”.*
Ip Kwok-him, a National People’s Congress delegate of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: *”We want to make public the facts.”* Mr Ip said he would be writing to NPC chairman Wu Bangguo to express the city’s concerns about the case.
A coalition of 30 local political and pressure groups came together for the march. Organisers said 25,000 people took part; police put the figure at 5,400. Organiser Shum Wai-nam urged chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying and local NPC delegates to express Hong Kong people’s anger over the sudden cremation of Li’s body.
Ip Kwok-him demanded that the central government thoroughly investigate his death.
This turn of events came to a head following a statement issued by the propaganda office of Shaoyang , Hunan province, that emphasised Li died under circumstances of “accidental death” and the cremation was carried out “at the request of relatives”. According to contrary reports, Li’s family did not consent to any autopsy or his cremation.
Not speaking of any suicide, the words accidental death were those used by Shaoyang’s Daxiang Hospital, where Li, 62, was found dead last Wednesday.
Li was found by staff hanging near a window with a white bandage around his neck, the statement said. It also quoted Li’s roommate as saying he had been “acting weird” at about 3am.
The *Hong Kong Standard* reported that Li’s friend Huang Lihong told the RTHK channel on Sunday that she saw mainland police forcing Li’s family to sign a consent form, agreeing that a post-mortem examination be conducted on Li as soon as possible.
And, while Huang did not witness if Li’s family agreed to have his body cremated or not, she did not believe they would have done so willingly.
The statement said four forensic scientists carried out a “completely videotaped” autopsy on Friday and the cause of death would be given when the results were obtained. No news thus far from official mainland media.
Yin Zhengan, another friend of Li’s, said Li’s sister and sister-in-law were missing after being taken away by police. He added: “I’d like to express my gratitude and admiration for the support from Hong Kong people.”
The *South China Morning Post* stated that chief executive-elect C.K. Leung said: “I believe the central government would be aware of Hongkongers’ views on the issue.”