Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NYT Archive 1989: Open Letter Signature Gatherer Deported

In a sign that the government was growing impatient with the amnesty call initiated by Fang Lizhi at the beginning of the year, New York Times reported on April 8, 1989, that the man who had been gathering signatures supporting Fang had been deported abroad.

Although labeled as a "prominent dissident", Chen Jun (陈军) was actually quite an unknown figure. When he started his signature drive within the circle of prominent intellectuals in Beijing, practically nobody had heard of him before. But nonetheless he was able to collect dozens of such signatures and provided much of the momentum in the call of amnesty. (There were also controversies that a few of the signatures might be forged or improperly collected.)

It also appeared that Chen Jun was a member of the Chinese Democracy Alliance, a dissident group based in New York and denounced by no other than Deng Xiaoping himself. At the time, Hu Ping had become the head of that group but was involved in an ugly power struggle with its founder Wang Bingzhang.

As of himself, Chen Jun practically disappeared after his deportation.

No comments: