Hundreds Turn Out to Mourn Tiananmen ‘Black Hand’
Hundreds of people, including supporters who had never met him, attended the funeral for Chen Ziming, who played a key role in the 1989 protest movement and died last week of pancreatic cancer. Josh Chin and William Kazer report for the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time blog:
Police prevented China Real Time from attending the funeral of Chen Ziming, 62 years old, who died of pancreatic cancer last week. At least one other would-be attendee, a democracy activist, reported being stopped by authorities on his way to the funeral, which was held in Beijing’s northern Changping district on Saturday morning.
But many others, including some who had never met him, packed the Changping funeral home to bid goodbye to a man who was little-known in the West but remembered by the country’s fractured pro-democracy activists as a unifying figure. Photos of the event seen by China Real Time showed mourners squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder inside the reception hall surrounded by wreaths.
Wang Ying, a well-known entrepreneur who was among the mourners, put the crowd at between 500 and 600 people.
The eulogy was delivered by retired Peking University sociologist Zheng Yefu, who described Mr. Chen as one of modern China’s leading figures in the fight against authoritarianism. In an essay written just after Mr. Chen’s death – large parts of which he repeated during his eulogy, according to those in attendance – Mr. Zheng listed the various pro-democracy movements leading up to 1989. “What’s especially astounding is that, at every step in China’s fight for freedom and rights, he played a central important role.”
Read more about Chen and his former partner Wang Juntao, and the 1989 protest movement that they participated in, via CDT. To learn more about Chen’s work in 1989, see Robin Munro and George Black’s book Black Hands of Beijing.