CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY (Taiwan), VOA
TAIPEI – These are not the kind of words that typically go "viral."
Following the mysterious June 6 death in China of prominent dissident Li Wangyang, a growing number of Chinese human rights activists in China have been using Twitter and other microblog services to personally declare: "I will not commit suicide." The movement comes as suspicion swirls that Li was "made to commit suicide" by the Chinese authorities, reports the Taiwanese Central News Agency.
Li, a Tiananmen Square dissident, who had been jailed for 22 years before his release last year, died in a local hospital in Shaoyang City only a few days after he had accepted an interview with a Hong Kong journalist. Shaoyang Public Security said that Li had committed suicide by hanging, and quickly cremated his body on Saturday. This has provoked a huge outcry in particular in Hong Kong where 25,000 people took to the street Monday to protest and demand an investigation.
At the same time, the Chinese dissidents have promoted a movement around the online statement "I will not commit suicide," reports the China bureau of the Voice of America (VOA). Though it has spread on burgeoning Chinese social networks, the movement is getting scant attention in China's mainstream press.
According to the Central News Agency report, Xia Yieliang, a Chinese economist responded to the call immediately and posted his statement on Twitter and on other microblogs as follows, "My name is Xia Yieliang, I am cautious by nature and am optimistic. I am healthy and I have a strong faith. In the past, now or in the future, whatever I encounter, any disease, political persecution or hardship, I have never and will never resort to committing suicide as a solution. If I ever die in an unexpected way, it must have been arranged for me, this includes a car accident or drowning. Apart from this tyrannical regime, I have no enemy in this world. I hereby make this statement as proof."
The latest term "made to commit suicide" is a variation on the oft-cited concept of "made mad," where Chinese officials are suspected of silencing dissidents by sending them to psychiatric wards.