Exiled Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan barred from seeing mother before her death in Beijing

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Wang Dan, a former student leader of China’s 1989 pro-democracy protests, speaks at a conference in Taipei in May 2019.

BEIJING — Wang Dan, a former student leader of the 1989 pro-democracy protests that led to the Tiananmen Square incident, said he was not allowed to enter China to see his mother before she died Tuesday in Beijing.

Living in exile in the United States, the 52-year-old Wang said on Twitter that his requests to return home had continued to be rejected by authorities in China. He had wanted for many years to return to see his mother, Wang Lingyun. She died of a brain hemorrhage at 86.

According to the Twitter post, Wang’s mother graduated from Peking University and worked in a museum for many years.

Wang said that in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square incident that culminated on June 4, 1989, his mother was detained for about 50 days following his arrest. The time in custody left her with leg problems.

Since the Chinese authorities would not allow someone they exiled like Wang to return to China, his mother occasionally left China to see him.

“If it wasn’t for me, her life would have been smooth and peaceful,” Wang said in the post. “I am the most unfilial son.”