Tiananmen fugitive lands in US

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The Independent Online
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement, on the run from the Chinese government, has arrived in the United States .

Zheng Yi, a well-known author was the target of a nationwide search three years ago but was able to remain free and in hiding, the New York Times reported.

He arrived at San Francisco International Airport yesterday from Hong Kong en route to New York, an airport spokesman said. He was believed to be headed for Princeton University to work with a dissident writer, Liu Binyan.

The fact that Mr Zheng was able to remain in hiding reflects the emergence of a more mobile and pluralistic society in which Chinese repression is often impotent, the newspaper said. At the height of Mao Tse-tung's power, Chinese people sometimes turned over members of their own family to police.

'It's a fundamental difference from earlier times,' Mr Zheng said in a five-hour interview with the New York Times. 'There were about 100 people who knew my identity - knew my name and knew about the arrest warrant - and yet they helped.'

'I couldn't have done it by myself,' Mr Zheng said. 'Lots of people helped, and I didn't even know many of them beforehand. In three years on the run, only one person refused to help.'