Tiananmen Father Hangs Himself in Protest
Ya Weilin, the 73-year-old father of a man shot in the head during the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, hanged himself in Beijing last week in protest at the government’s failure to recognise the issue. From the Associated Press:
Ya’s son Ya Aiguo was shot in the head by martial-law troops in Beijing, according to an obituary the support group 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.
His father killed himself out of despair and to protest the government’s long-standing refusal to address the grievances of the victims’ relatives, said Zhang Xianling, who knew Ya and his wife from the support group.
“The government’s cold-blooded behavior has caused this tragic ending,” said Zhang, who lost a 19-year-old son in the crackdown.
“I hope this incident will make the government circumspect and that such a thing will not happen again,” Zhang said. “In this, the government has a responsibility. It owes a life now.”
Tiananmen Mothers founder Ding Zilin, said it was the first time a member had committed suicide over despondency at the fight against the authorities.
“We didn’t expect that he would end his life like this,” Ding said of Ya.
“Every time he met us, he asked how the campaign was going.
“It was disappointing to him every time.”
Two monks also attempted suicide protests in Lhasa on Sunday, setting fire to themselves outside the city’s Jokhang Temple. One was killed, while the other survived. The self-immolations were the first to take place in the Tibetan capital.