On April 4, 2009, Sun Wenguang (孙文广), 75, retired professor of Shandong University, was brutally beaten by five unidentified men as he returned from paying respects to memory of the late Zhao Ziyang, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China who visited students on Tiananmen Square during the 1989 democracy movement, and of Zhang Zhixin, a dissident killed during the Cultural Revolution.
In the early morning of Qing Ming, the traditional day of remembering and honoring the dead, Sun defied university authorities to make the trip to Yingxiong Mountain (英雄山) in Jinan, Shandong Province. The police sent nine vehicles to follow Sun’s taxi. He was attacked at around 10:00 a.m. The attackers threw him down a two-meter drop and then beat him for over ten minutes, breaking three of his ribs. He was brought to Jinan’s Qilu Hospital (齐鲁医院). At present he is unable to turn his head but is conscious and reportedly in stable condition.
Between 1966 and 1981, Sun Wenguang was detained and imprisoned multiple times for a total of more than ten years for expressing his opinions on political issues. In the days leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Sun was put under 24-hour surveillance. Unidentified persons scrawled “Traitor, Rapist” on the walls of his home, and his home was searched by state security police, who seized two computers, manuscripts, and books published in Hong Kong. In March 2009, Sun sued Shandong University for deducting from his pension after Sun refused to sell his house at the price the university offered, which he claimed was only one-tenth of its market value. The case has not yet reached a resolution.
“Human Rights in China condemns the violence against Sun Wenguang,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of HRIC. “This deplorable act, committed in broad daylight and clear view of the police, against a man for remembering a former Party secretary on Qing Ming, calls into serious question officials’ professed commitment to building a society that puts people first.” HRIC urges the authorities to undertake a thorough investigation of the crime and bring those responsible to justice.
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