Tiananmen Square Student Leader Captured
CSN demands the immediate release of Zhou Yongjun
April 16, 2009 (CSN) -- One of the student leaders at Tiananmen Square was named Majer Zhou -- or if you are Chinese, his name is Zhou Yongjun. He has now been captured. He is the latest case of a prisoner in China whom we need to demand that the Chinese authorities must release.
He has been living in the United States and has been an enthusiastic ally of the China Support Network. He spent some time being the North American Director of the Free China Movement. And his placement in the Chinese democracy movement is as solid as they get.
When the students rose up in Tiananmen Square, he led the first student march into the square, that got the action started in the first place. And then, he was the first elected leader of the student association -- they made a combined association of Beijing Universities -- in Tianamen Square.
He was elected there; he was a spokesman of the students; and he appears in a famous photograph of students kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People. Zhou was one of the three students kneeling with a petition that looked to be a scroll intended for the emperor. That scene took place during the funeral for ousted Chinese leader Hu Yaobang.
Books about Tiananmen Square's June 4 movement mention Mr. Zhou. Zhou is a blue-chip name among the Tiananmen Square student leadership, and he has been captured in China.
This is now his third time to be a political prisoner in China. He was jailed immediately after Tiananmen Square's 1989 atrocity, then released in 1991. He made his way to the United States for exile. In 1998, he attempted a return to China. Then, he was picked up by the authorities and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. He was released nine months early in 2001 as a government gesture to win favor with the International Olympic Committee.
Heretofore, this was the "rumored disappearance" of Majer Zhou. The China Support Network is confirming the story ahead of the newswires and the Chinese government. Prominent dissident attorney Ning Ye, and another source inform CSN that Mr. Zhou is being held at a prison in Shenzhen.
In English, the only earlier report was on Dec. 19, 2008 when the China Aid Association reported that Zhou was arrested on Sept. 30, and that authorities first charged him with "espionage," then changed the charge to "financial fraud."
The China Support Network calls upon the government of China to immediately release 'Majer' Zhou Yongjun. If he is not present at the upcoming 20th anniversary of the June 4 massacre, he will be conspicuous by his absence, and circumstances will require that we must clatter and raise pressure for his release amid the commemorations for June 4 -- the yearly time of world attention for the June 4 issue.