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China to investigate dissident's death

BEIJING, June 15 (UPI) -- Chinese officials said they would investigate the death of a dissident who was imprisoned more than 20 years for supporting the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

A spokesman for Hunan's provincial public security bureau said the bureau asked forensic investigators to perform an autopsy on Li Wangyang, the Hong Kong China News Agency reported Friday.

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Li, sentenced to prison for mobilizing workers in support of the student democracy movement that occupied Tiananmen Square, was found June 6 hanging in his room at the Daxiang District People's Hospital in Shaoyang in Hunan province.

Police said Le committed suicide, an assertion that friends of the deaf and blind labor rights activist called "insulting" and "ridiculous," CNN reported.

The South China Morning Post and Kyodo News, both citing friends and a human rights organization, reported it wasn't clear how an autopsy would be conducted since Li reportedly was cremated June 9 despite calls for an investigation.

Circumstances surrounding Li's death led to demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Friends who visited him before he died said Li did not seem like someone who might kill himself, CNN said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights in China, citing relatives' accounts that Li was unable to walk without assistance because he was blind, said he would have had difficulty finding a noose.

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Hong Kong's secretary for food and health told i-Cable News Li's weak physical condition made it difficult to believe he committed suicide.

"It seems that his character and personality are not of a person who is suicidal and are not of a person who would not have left a suicide note," York Chow said.

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