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Chinese dissidents gathering at Memorial service for Wang Ruowang in Queens

December 28, 2001

A memorial service for Wang Ruowang (the most senior and first Chinese dissident to die in exile) will be held December 29th, noon-2pm at Central Funeral Home, 136-25 41st Ave., Flushing NY. This will be the largest gathering of Chinese dissidents and activists in exile post-Tiananmen Square, 1989.

One of the most famous dissident writers in 1980s, Wang, 83 died last Wednesday evening in Elmhurst Hospital in the New York borough of Queens. Wang was diagnosed two weeks ago with terminal cancer.

Wang refused an offer from China a week before his death to allow him to return to his homeland - a wish Wang has expressed since he left China in 1992. The offer, made by a government official to Wang's children in Shanghai, was conditional on Wang promising not to publish articles criticizing the government or meet with dissidents.

"It is profoundly tragic that in the 21st century, Chinese people like Wang Ruowang and his family, still have to pay this ultimate price for their political beliefs and human dignity. It is time for the Chinese government to end this inhumane policy of exiling political dissidents. It can start by allowing senior exiles to return home to China without conditions on their exercise of fundamental human rights, " said Xiao Qiang, Executive Director of Human Rights in China.

Two other prominent dissidents in exile, Fang Lizhi and Liu Binyan, who together with Wang Ruowang were expelled from the Party, will preside at the Memorial and deliver the main eulogy. Speakers will include Xiao Qiang, Hu Ping, Wang Dan, Wei Jingsheng, Wang Juntao, Gao Zhan, Andrew Nathan, Perry Link, a special envoy of the Dalai Lama, and many others. The service will be attended by hundreds of Wang's friends and admirers from the world, including Europe, Australia and Hong Kong.