In the wake of the mysterious death of Tiananmen dissident Li Wangyang just two days after the 23rd anniversary of the crackdown of the 1989 student protests, Chinese activists and dissidents have rushed to make online declarations that they would not be committing suicide anytime soon.
Police officers on watch over Li at the hospital where he was kept under surveillance after a 22 year jail sentence said he had committed suicide by hanging. Pictures that were taken by his sister and brother-in-law moments before his lifeless body was seized by cops indicated however that Li’s feet were firmly on the ground. Pressure exerted by police on Li’s family members to consent to a hasty cremation without a post mortem also served to detract from the credibility of their story.
Spooked by the disturbing trend of disappearances and ‘suicides’, activists wondered aloud if they would be next.
Outspoken HIV/AIDS activist and Sakharov Prize winner Hu Jia who was jailed three and a half years for state subversion, got the ball rolling by musing, “I guess I need to get the following document notarised at the lawyer’s. It will say: ‘I, Hu Jia, will not commit suicide at any time, because of anyone, in any situation, or for anything.'”
“If you are a political prisoner, dissident, activist, or citizen who is illegally detained by national security on a regular basis, I suggest you get a copy of this notarised,” added Hu Jia. “This country has no lack of people being ‘suicided’.”
That soon kicked off an avalanche of tweets under the hash tag #我不自杀 (“I will not commit suicide.”) as activists and regular netizens began making their own online declarations.
The tweets are being collated here by Ge Xun, a Chinese-American man who was beaten and held for 21 hours in Beijing after trying to meet “Tiananmen Mother” Ding Zilin earlier this year.
Shanghaiist has translated a small handful of the tweets: