Tiananmen Protest ‘Black Hand’ Chen Ziming Dies in Beijing

Chen Ziming

Josh Chin reports: One of the two activists identified as the “black hands” behind China’s 1989 democracy protests died of cancer on Tuesday, in a reminder of how little the Communist Party has budged in its tolerance of political dissent over the past quarter century.

Chen Ziming, 62 years old, died from pancreatic cancer Tuesday afternoon in Beijing, according to close friends.

“He was incredibly influential, in the academic world as well as in government and public circles.”

— Chen Min, a liberal writer and political commentator better known by his penname, Xiao Shu

“Famous Chinese dissident, so-called June 4th black hand and my mentor Chen Ziming finally succumbed to cancer,” Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the 1989 student-led Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, wrote on his Facebook page. “His death is a massive loss for the Chinese opposition movement, and for the country.”

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Mr. Chen and fellow activist Wang Juntao were accused by the government of being the masterminds behind the 1989 protests. In 1991, both were sentenced to 13 years in prison, in a trial authorities used to bolster the official line that the protests had been the work of a handful of conspirators rather than a movement with mass appeal.

A biochemist by training, Mr. Chen was already an established political figure by the time of the Tiananmen Square protests. He helped run Beijing Spring, a short-lived but celebrated pro-reform journal shuttered following the 1979 Democracy Wall movement, and was the manager of Economic Weekly, an influential magazine that had received a stamp of approval from Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang in early 1989.

In 1986, along with Mr. Wang, he also co-founded the Beijing Social and Economic Sciences Research Institute, a think tank that advocated political and economic reform…(read more)

China Real Time Report – WSJ

– Josh Chin. Follow him on Twitter @joshchin

 



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