A former Tiananmen leader is dying in a Chinese jail of kidney and liver failure and his both eyes are nearly blind after years of imprisonment.
Zhou Yongjun (周勇軍), 47, suffers severe failures of kidneys and liver and may die soon, according to Zhou’s relatives who recently visited him in a Sichuan prison where he’s been held since 2008, the Hong Kong office of the New York-based organization Human Rights in China reports.
As early as 2012, Zhou’s relatives pleaded to the Chinese authorities to release him on medical parole, Zhou’s sister Zhou Sufen said he was very frail: "(his) Face is severely swollen, his eyesight very weak and he’s incontinent." Zhou’s family has pleaded to the United Nations but their letters were confiscated.
Zhou is best known and admired for being one of the three students who knelt for hours on April 22, 1989, at the front gate of the Great Hall of the People where a state funeral was held for the late Hu Yaobang, a reformist General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. The kneeling trio was demanding the then Premier Li Peng receive a petition they were holding in front of tens of thousands of students and hundreds of Armed Police. The trio became overnight heroes and their kneeling was said to have jump started the pro-democracy movement and inspired millions to take to the streets. Zhou, a senior majoring in politics at the Chinese University of Politics and Law was one of the key student leaders of the Tiananmen movement and was jailed after the massacre.
Zhou moved to the U.S. after his release in 1991. He was later detained again in a labor camp for three years when he returned to China in 1997. In 2008, he was arrested by Hong Kong police and handed over to Chinese authorities when he was passing through Hong Kong enroute the mainland to visit his dying mother in Sichuan.
Hong Kong Democratic Party legislator Albert Ho, also Zhou’s lawyer, released in 2010 a letter from Zhou detailing his abduction into China from Hong Kong, saying Hong Kong immigration officials drove him to the New Territories bordering China. As Zhou got off the car, he was grabbed by seven to eight men. “They carried me through a small door, I heard them speak Mandarin. I knew it was something serious. I wanted to yell out and protested but I knew it was too late. So I was physically carried into Shenzhen,” Zhou wrote in the letter.
Zhou was sentenced to nine years in jail in Sichuan for fraud -- he was using a Malaysian passport he bought from an immigration agency as he was refused a China visa after numerous applications.
The latest similar case is Yiu Man-tin, also known as Yao Wentian, chief editor of Morning Bell Press, who was about to publish Chinese President Xi Jinping’s biography. Yiu was taken into custody in October, 2013 after he was "lured" to Shenzhen. The 73-year-old publisher was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Apple Daily (in Chinese)《苹果日报》: http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/international/art/20140809/18826202
Radio Free Asia coverage (Chinese):http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/renquanfazhi/sd-08102014145304.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
BBC on how he was arrested in Hong Kong and handed over to China and was tried in 2008: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8369835.stm