Last prisoner of Tiananmen Square set to be released after 27 years in prison

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA May 04: China is set to release the last prisoner jailed for the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in October this year, Duihua Foundation, an American Human Rights groups has confirmed.

Miao Deshun was 25 when he was jailed over Tiananmen Square protests which led to the arrest of 1,600 Chinese people, mostly students, following a brutal military crackdown on 4 June 1989 in which hundreds of lives are believed to have been lost.

Miao, a factory worker from Beijing was convicted of arson for merely throwing a basket at a burning tank. For this seemingly negligible offence, he received a death sentence which was commuted to life imprisonment a few years later. In March this year, it was further reduced and now after spending more than 27 years in prison, he is due for release on 15 October at the age of 51, human rights group announced this week.

“We welcome this news, and express the hope that he will receive the care he needs to resume a normal life after spending more than half of it behind bars,” John Kamm, Duihua’s executive director, said in a statement.

“He has some severe mental health issues, and I think it could take him a long time to get accustomed to life on the outside. I have a pretty hard time myself right now, but it’ll be even worse for him,” Zhang a fellow Tiananmen convict who had spent time in prison with Miao but released on parole in 2003 told the US based Radio Free Asia.

“Miao has had no contact with the outside world for many years, having requested that relatives stop visiting him more than a decade ago,” Zhang added.

“Those who served sentences with him in the 1990s remembers him as a very thin man who refused to admit wrongdoing and participate in prison labor, he is said to have spent time in solitary confinement,” Duihua said in a statement.

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