HONG KONG — A woman who became one of China's most wanted fugitives after last spring's pro-democracy movement appeared in a dramatic videotape shown on Hong Kong television Tuesday night, confirming reports she has fled China with her husband.
The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's largest English-language daily, said today that Chai Ling and her husband, Feng Chongde, 23, were in France, where a number of Chinese dissident leaders have taken refuge after escaping from China.
Chai helped lead the movement that was suppressed June 4 when troops shot their way into central Beijing, driving student protesters from Tian An Men Square and killing hundreds of unarmed civilians.
Chai, 23, and her husband were on a wanted list of 21 student leaders sought by the Chinese Communist authorities.
Speaking in a near whisper on Hong Kong television, the haggard-looking Chai vowed to keep fighting for democracy and paid tribute to student leaders who gave their lives for freedom.
"There are still many, many people who sacrificed their lives, who shed blood, who shed sweat and tears, for freedom and democracy," said Chai, frequently pausing to hold back tears.
"They are still in jail, or in exile, suffering the insufferable," she said. "Wherever you are, friends, please accept our heartfelt blessing."
Feng sat by her side and covered his face as he wept.
The 10-minute television tape appeared to be filmed in an apartment or hotel room.
In Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Peng warned France today not to let Chai and her husband pursue dissident activities on French soil.
"Chai Ling and Feng Congde are wanted by the Chinese public security bureau," Li said at a rare news conference at the end of a two-week session of Parliament.
According to the China Times, the couple fled Beijing by train shortly after the June 4 crackdown. Chai and Feng soon separated and remained apart for eight months before reuniting two months ago.
Chai was among the three most prominent student leaders of last spring's demonstrations. One leader, Wu'er Kaixi, fled to the West weeks after the crackdown. The other, Wang Dan, was captured by Chinese authorities in Beijing.