Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LAST TIANENMEN 'HOOLIGAN' FREED !

A policeman on patrol in Tiananmen Square on 3 June 2008
The numbers who died in the Tiananmen massacre remain unclear

China has reportedly freed the last activist still jailed for "hooliganism" relating to the Tiananmen Square democracy movement of 1989.

Liu Zhihua was freed in January, but news of his release has only now been confirmed, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, a US-based pressure group.

Mr Liu had been jailed for life for leading a strike at a factory.

His reported release comes two weeks before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests.

The events on June 1989 are still considered a highly sensitive topic by China's Communist authorities, and the anniversary is unlikely to be publicly marked in mainland China.

Mr Liu was one of several workers who were given long jail sentences for organising industrial strikes.

According to Dui Hua, he was accused of inciting crowds with anti-government speeches.

The strikes were linked to weeks of student-led pro-democracy protests in the spring of 1989.

Six weeks into the protests, tanks and troops were sent in. Hundreds - possibly thousands - of people are believed to have been killed, but the government has never allowed for a full accounting of the events.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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