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Chinese Student Leader Goes on Trial for 1989 Protest Role

January 23, 1991|From Associated Press

BEIJING — Wang Dan, the most famous student leader jailed for his involvement in the 1989 democracy movement, went on trial today for his part in those massive protests.

Hundreds died when the military crushed the protests, centered in Beijing's Tian An Men Square.

A small notice announcing Wang's trial was posted outside the Beijing Intermediate People's Court building. It said he is charged with "counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement," the charge most frequently used against political prisoners.

The 23-year-old Beijing University history major had been No. 1 on the government's list of most-wanted student leaders who went into hiding after the bloody crackdown in June, 1989. He was arrested the following month.

In addition to Wang, at least 24 other participants in the democracy movement have been tried or sentenced in the last two weeks and more trials are expected soon.

Authorities have refused to let reporters attend trials and refuse to answer questions about the proceedings.

Wang had studied recent political developments in Eastern Europe, where several longtime Communist governments had fallen and free elections were held. Before the crackdown, Wang wrote an article advocating similar reforms for China.

He was arrested after a meeting with a Taiwanese journalist from whom he sought help to flee the country.

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