Monday, June 16, 2008

NYT Archive 1989: Death Sentences in Shanghai

The only death sentences in the ensuing crackdown of the 1989 movement came, surprisingly, from Shanghai, where the situation was considerably milder than that in the capital. It came quickly too. On June 16, 2008, New York Times reported three workers sentenced to death there:

In the first trial of Chinese pro-democracy demonstrators since the military crackdown 11 days ago, the Government today sentenced three young men to death for their role in a violent protest in Shanghai.
... ...
The three workers who were sentenced to death today were charged in an incident that began on June 6 when demonstrators held a sit-in on a railway line to block traffic as a protest against the military crackdown in the capital two days earlier. A train rammed the demonstrators, killing six of them, and the protesters then attacked and set fire to the train.
No one was killed in the fire, but some firefighters were beaten, and the burning of nine rail cars forced the closing of the railroad line for two days. It was not clear exactly what role each of the three men was said to have played in the incident, or what evidence there was for their involvement.
... ...
The three workers are Xu Guoming, an employee of a Shanghai brewery; Bian Hanwu, who is unemployed, and Yan Xuerong, a worker at a radio factory. They appeared to be in their 20's or perhaps early 30's, and none were known as leaders of the anti-Government protests in Shanghai.
NYT also reported that a string of students were arrested, including Xiong Wei, who turned himself in. Xiong Wei was relatively unknown before, during, and even after the movement. It was not clear how and why he landed in the "21 Most Wanted List".

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