Father of Tiananmen protester kills himself

Support group says Ya Weilin had failed to get government redress over son killed in 1989 crackdown on student protests.

     For years Tiananmen Mothers have called for an official investigation of the crackdown without success [Reuters]
    For years Tiananmen Mothers have called for an official investigation of the crackdown without success [Reuters]

    A man whose son was killed in China's Tiananman Square has hanged himself, protesting against failed attempts to get government redress, a support group says.

    The group, known as the Tiananmen Mothers, said the body of Ya Weilin, 73, was found in an unused underground parking garage below his residential complex in Beijing.

    Ya is believed to have committed suicide last Friday.

    China crushed mass student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, leaving several hundred civilians dead and declaring martial law. Over half a million protesters were demanding economic reform and liberalisation.

    Ya's son, Ya Aiguo, was shot in the head by martial-law troops in Beijing, according to an obituary Tiananmen Mothers posted on its website.

    A testimony by Ya Aiguo's mother on the same site says that at the time, the 22-year-old had been waiting to be assigned a job and had gone out shopping with his girlfriend the evening he was killed.

    'Totally ignored'

    Tiananmen Mothers posted an obituary on its website saying that according to Ya's family, he had carried a note that detailed his son's death.

    He declared that he would die in protest because the issue had not been addressed for more than 20 years, the note stated.

    "We have written repeatedly in the past 18 years," Ya said in a 2007 interview with Catalonian TV3. "They never bothered to reply, not even once, totally ignored us."

    Beijing police did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

    Ya's death came about a week ahead of the anniversary of the night of June 3-4, 1989.

    Official silence has been maintained about the mass prottests, with nothing written in school textbooks while public discussion is virtually taboo.

    The Tiananmen Mothers routinely issue open letters urging the country's leaders to account for the deaths.

    They have for years called for a full investigation, compensation to victims' families and punishment of those responsible for the military crackdown on student-led protesters.

    Members say the government has never responded.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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