Tiananmen Square Protester Found Murdered in his New York Office

According to authorities, a dissident legal professor who was imprisoned in China for two years after taking part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising was assassinated Monday in his law firm’s office in New York, where he had sought refuge in the United States.

Li Jinjin, 66, was stabbed to death in the city where he had long worked as an immigration lawyer, even as he continued to speak out publicly in support of the many individuals imprisoned or slain by Chinese authorities throughout the country’s democratic struggle.

His assassination has resulted in an arrest. Xiaoning Zhang, 25, was arrested and charged with murder, according to police. It wasn’t clear when she’d be arraigned or whether she’d hired a counsel right away.

The death may have been motivated by Li’s unwillingness to take Zhang on as a client, according to Chuang Chuang Chen, the CEO of the China Democracy Party, and lawyer Wei Zhu, a friend of Li’s.

Zhang arrived in the United States in August on an F-1 student visa to attend school in Los Angeles, according to Chen.

In recent years, news organizations have frequently mentioned Li, who also went by the first name Jim, for insight or opinion on the Chinese dissident community or on Sino-Western relations. He also defended several Chinese expats in the United States who were designated fugitives by that nation as an immigration lawyer.

Li had been a legal counsel to an independent labor organization that had fought China’s government on worker rights before being imprisoned for demonstrating.

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing. “She not only took away his life, but also our community’s hope,” Zhu told the publication. “He desired for China to achieve democracy.” That dream will never come true for him.”

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