News / Asia

    Hong Kong Denies Entry to Wanted Tiananmen Leader

    File photo - Former student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, Wu'er Kaixi speaks to media before addressing hundreds at candlelight vigil, Democracy Square, Taipei.
    File photo - Former student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, Wu'er Kaixi speaks to media before addressing hundreds at candlelight vigil, Democracy Square, Taipei.
    Ivan Broadhead
    One of the top student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen protests again tried to surrender to Chinese authorities on Monday but was turned back from Hong Kong.
     
    Wu'er Kaixi, number two on China's list of “most wanted” Tiananmen activists, landed at Hong Kong's airport wishing to proceed to China to visit his parents, but prepared to be arrested for his involvement in the 1989 uprising.
     
    Speaking to VOA's Mandarin service from the airport, the dissident explained his actions were the result of China's “absurd” act of ordering his arrest, while simultaneously refusing to allow him to return to the country.
     
    "I told them I am a wanted Chinese criminal, and wanted to turn myself in,” he said. “I haven't seen my father and mother for over 20 years. I hope the Hong Kong government can provide assistance in helping me turn myself in, and extradite me to China.”
     
    Wu'er's effort to visit his ailing parents in mainland China refocuses attention on the events leading up to June 4th 1989, as the quarter century anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre draws closer.
     
    The 45-year-old was accompanied from Taipei by Hong Kong Democratic legislator Albert Ho, who also advised former U.S. Intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
     
    After previous efforts to place himself in Chinese custody, including an attempt to enter China's embassy in Washington, D.C., in 2012, the father of two is psychologically prepared for prison, says Ho.
     
    “This time he wanted to make his voice heard to the public," Ho said. "It was a humanitarian appeal. Although he would disagree with any punishment inflicted on him, he has overcome his fear — his desire to see his parents is overwhelming.”
     
    After five hours in detention at the airport, local authorities refused Wu'er entry and deported him back to Taiwan. While the Hong Kong government usually extradites anyone on China's wanted list back to the mainland, Ma Ngok, associate professor of government at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is unsurprised by the outcome.
     
    “If he was allowed in, the Chinese government would be in a difficult situation," he said. "If they press charges against him it would spur international attention, which China does not want. [Equally], it is impossible for them to let him in and then do nothing, so they prefer not to let him back.”
     
    Political analyst Willy Lam, who met Wu'er several times in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 uprising, recalls a charismatic leader best remembered for challenging Chinese premier Li Peng in a nationally televised debate May 18, 1989. His case, and that of other student leaders, presents a challenge for the country's new leadership, Lam observes.
     
    “Xi Jinping will have to make a decision whether to allow these blacklisted former student leaders back to China. Two or three dozen have in fact returned after pledging they will not stir up trouble. However, for big name figures like [Wu'er] or Chai Ling, who is now in the U.S., the leadership is still very nervous.”
     
    Although Wu'er is most closely linked to the Tiananmen uprising, Lam points out that he is also an ethnic Uighur from the restless Xinjiang region of northwest China.
     
    “The recent car bomb in Tiananmen Square means the Chinese government is very nervous about Uighurs," he said. "But I don't think there is any association between him and organizations agitating for independence of Xinjiang. The reason he is still on the blacklist is Beijing's decision not to allow [some] student leaders back to China. Even though what took place occurred a long, long time ago, it betrays the insecurity within the Communist Party.”
     
    While public discussion of the Tiananmen massacre may be stifled inside China, says Ho, the example of Wu'er and his peers has not been entirely forgotten.
     
    “China is a closed society, and you never know in a closed society what is happening on the inside," he said. "It is always possible something explosive may happen. And though the government has denied people's right to know, there is still certainty a collective memory about what happened in '89.”
     
    The legacy of June 4 continues to grow in Hong Kong, where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend next year's vigil honoring those who fell on Tiananmen Square a quarter of a century ago.
     
    In recent years, in a reversal of Wu'er's intended journey, increasing numbers of mainland visitors are traveling to Hong Kong to join the commemoration.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora