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Veteran labor activist Li Wangyang convicted of subversion

September 6, 2001

Li Wangyang, veteran labor rights activist, was convicted of "incitement to subvert state power" in the People's Intermediate Court of Shaoyang, Hunan Province on Sept. 5. Li's brother-in-law, Zhao Baozhu, and many friends were denied access to the proceedings. Li's sister, Li Wanglin has already been senteced to three years of "reeducation through labor" (laojiao) for the same offense.

Li was taken from Daxiang Hospital in Hunan Province on May 6th where he was receiving treatment for numerous conditions he developed while serving a 11-year prison term handed down for counterrevolutionary crimes, after the 1989 democracy protests. Both Li and his sister were detained after Li's repeated appeals to the government to pay for medical treatment for lung, heart, and respitory ailments that developed during the prison term attracted international media attention.

Li Wangyang is one of the earliest advocates and fighters for independent labor unions in China. He founded the Shaoyang Autonomous Workers Union in 1989 during the democracy demonstrations.