China frees one of the twenty Tiananmen protesters still in jail

The Chinese government has released Li Yujun, one of the twenty demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989 that still remain in prison after more than two decades, under the premise of being under police control until 2020.

Li, a street vendor who was arrested when he was just twenties, came out of a prison in Beijing earlier this month and was sent home, but he can not leave the Chinese capital and must report to the police station once a month, said China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) in a statement.

Li, now 45, was one of the last 20 political prisoners still serving sentences for participating in peaceful demonstrations that began on April 15, 1989 in China.

According to data checked by CHRD, at least 906 protesters were jailed after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, among others, Jiang Yaqun (75 years), Miao Deshun (48), Yang Pu (47) and Chang Jingqiang (43) are still in jail.

Li was convicted of setting fire to a tank in an attempt to interdict the movement of soldiers to Beijing on the evening of June 3, 1989, when the central authorities declared martial law.

Although he was initially sentenced to death with a review period of two years, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1993 and after a three year period, reduced to two decades for good behavior in prison, till this month of May.

Li’s release comes less than two weeks of the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen demonstrations in which more than one million students and workers occupied the Tiananmen Square, which was the largest protest in the history of communist China.

The demonstrations, which lasted about six weeks, ended in the clashes on 3rd and 4th of June.