Renowned Dissident Writer Li Hong Dies, Authorities Prevent Funeral
Founding editor of the popular Zhejiang News and former chief-editor of the Chinese literary and news website Aegean Sea (Aiqinhai), Li Hong, died on Dec. 31. He was in his hospital bed, surrounded by domestic security police.
Chinese authorities sealed off news of his death and stopped dissidents and human rights activists from attending the funeral.
Li Hong, renowned for his poetry, plays, and freelance writing, was born Zhang Jianhong. He died at age 52 in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an NGO.
Dissident writer Chen Shuqing told The Epoch Times that police contacted him on the evening of Dec. 31 and told him not to leave Hangzhou for Ningbo. He asked if something had happened to Li in Ningbo, but was not given any explanation. “Quite a few others in Hangzhou have also received such warnings not to go to Ningbo,” Chen said.
Li was charged with “inciting subversion against the state” in January 2007 and secretly tried in the Ningbo Municipal Intermediate Court. Throughout the two hour long trial he refused to plead guilty.
According to what his attorney Li Jianqiang told foreign press, the charges were based on 62 articles he had written, most of which were related to reports about live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, and his support for human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng’s hunger strike.
“Li Hong, a freelance scholar who does not practice Falun Gong, stood up at the first moment to condemn these crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is believed that as a scholar in China Li Hong touched the CCP’s sensitive spot: the CCP fears the public’s awareness and condemnation of its live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners,” the New Epoch Weekly editorialized in January 2007. The Weekly is a subsidiary of the Chinese version of The Epoch Times.
Hearty and hale prior to imprisonment, his health rapidly deteriorated and in August 2007 he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The authorities repeatedly denied his family’s requests for medical parole, until June 2010, when he was already in the arms of death.
Then, the critically ill Li was released for medical treatment on June 5. He was taken directly to the Ningbo Number Two People’s Hospital and admitted to its intensive care unit, where he stayed until he died.
Zhu Yufu, Li’s friend and one of the founders of Chinese Democratic Party formed in 1998, said with sadness and anger, “The authorities have killed Li Hong! It is yet another crime of theirs. Now they are frightened and are trying very hard to cover up the truth. They are keeping us from attending his funeral and expressing our condolences.
“Because Li Hong persisted and refused to compromise, they hated him and wanted him to die.”
Read the original Chinese article.