Report: Tiananmen student leader arrested in Tokyo for trespassing at Chinese Embassy

Friday, June 4, 2010

Report: Tiananmen student leader arrested in Tokyo

TOKYO — Wu’er Kaixi, a prominent student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, was arrested in Tokyo for allegedly trespassing at the Chinese Embassy on Friday, the 21st anniversary of the bloody crackdown, reports said.

The 42-year-old activist jumped over a small steel fence in front of the embassy and was quickly overpowered by Japanese police, TV footage by Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed. Kyodo News agency said Wu’er was arrested on the spot.

Japanese police say they arrested a 42-year-old Taiwanese man for trespassing at the Chinese Embassy but could not confirm he was Wu’er. The former student leader is now a Taiwanese citizen.

Wu’er was No. 2 on China’s list of 21 wanted student leaders after the 1989 military crackdown at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. He escaped and has lived in exile in Taiwan, where he has been a businessman and political commentator.

Wu’er — one of the best known leaders from the Tiananmen student movement — rose to fame as a pajama-clad hunger striker haranguing then-Chinese premier Li Peng at a televised meeting during the protests in Beijing.

Before the arrest, Wu’er told Kyodo that he wanted to return to China and sought dialogue with the communist government.

“Today, I take this action to go back to China to continue to press the Chinese government for the dialogue, even if this dialogue has to take place in a court room,” he said.

“My turning myself in should never be read as admitting any wrongdoing. I would like to take this chance to discuss … about Tiananmen, about basic right and wrong.”

Wu’er also said he wanted to return to China to see his aging parents, according to Kyodo.

China has never fully disclosed what happened when the military crushed the weekslong, student-led protests on the night of June 3-4, 1989, possibly killing thousands of students, activists and ordinary citizens.

Beijing has long maintained that the protests were a “counterrevolutionary riot.”

Public discussion or displays referencing them remain forbidden on the mainland.


Associated Press writers Annie Huang in Taipei and Min Lee in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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