* China to Investigate Death of Labor Activist

NY Times: “Chinese officials, bending to public pressure, have announced an investigation into the death of a veteran labor activist whose body was found hanging from a hospital window this month, days after he gave a series of interviews in which he vowed to continue fighting to end the Communist Party’s monopoly on power.

The dissident, Li Wangyang, who was convicted of organizing protests during the pro-democracy movement of 1989, had only recently emerged from prison. Friends and relatives have questioned how Mr. Li could have taken his own life because he was disabled from the beatings and other mistreatment he suffered during his 21 years behind bars.

Mr. Li, 62, was blind, nearly deaf and had difficulty walking unassisted.

According to the state-run Hong Kong China News Agency, public security officials in Hunan Province, where Mr. Li died, promised an investigation by a “team of experienced criminal investigation experts.” According to the agency, a police spokesman acknowledged that public pressure had prompted the announcement on Thursday.

Earlier this week, local officials in Shaoyang, the city where Mr. Li died, changed the cause of death to “accidental” from “suicide.”

Human rights advocates raised doubts after his death became public, but the suspicions began to spread more widely in the past week after family members and friends of Mr. Li disappeared or were warned by the police not to speak to the news media.”

via China to Investigate Death of Labor Activist – NYTimes.com.

Yet another case of the Chinese authorities bending to public opinion.  See also:

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