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December, 6, 2016

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Tiananmen amputee calls for justice from Beijing

HONG KONG -- A Chinese activist whose legs were crushed by a tank during the Tiananmen Square crackdown called Friday for justice, as Hong Kong prepared to mark the 23rd anniversary of the unrest.

"We want the truth, we want vindication, we want the perpetrators to be brought to justice," Fang Zheng, who was a student athlete in 1989 when he lost his legs, told reporters in Hong Kong.

"China has the responsibility to let people know the truth."

Fang arrived in the southern Chinese city on Thursday from the United States, where he has lived since 2009 after leaving China due to what he described as constant persecution from the government.

Other key dissident figures of the Tiananmen protests, such as Wang Dan and Wu'er Kaixi, have previously been denied entry into the semi-autonomous territory.

The former British colony, which enjoys freedoms not allowed in mainland China, is marking the anniversary of the crackdown with a candlelight vigil on Monday.

Organizers expect more than 150,000 people will attend the annual vigil — the only open commemoration of the Tiananmen violence which is allowed to be held on Chinese soil.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are believed to have died when the government sent in tanks and soldiers to clear Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3-4, 1989, bringing a violent end to six weeks of pro-democracy protests.

Over two decades later, Beijing still considers the incident a "counter revolutionary rebellion" and has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or consider compensation for those killed.

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